Power, money have gone to Lungu’s head, says Andrew

ANDREW Banda has urged President Edgar Lungu to immediately curtail the current constitution amendment bill before Parliament.

And Banda has concluded that President Lungu’s actions in office have shown that he is unpatriotic.

In a statement yesterday, Banda, a former diplomat and founding member of the UPND, noted that the desire to amend the constitution arises from President Lungu’s desire to hold on to power forever.

“Power and too much money have gone to his head. Unfortunately for him, Zambians have seen through him. My appeal is that we should not allow this,” Banda said.

“In order also to protect what they have dubiously earned in the last eight years, Edgar wants more powers in order to re-introduce the infamous one party State which we got rid of in 1991. My earnest appeal to Zambians, don’t entertain this either. This one loves power so much that he wishes to be Life President.”

Several stakeholders, including the Law Association of Zambia have opposed the proposed amendments in the constitution bill currently before Parliament, which seek to take away oversight powers of Parliament over debt, Bank of Zambia’s role of currency printing, introduction of coalition government, among weird proposals.

The Law Association of Zambia has since gone to court to stop the bill.

Meanwhile, Banda urged President Lungu to immediately condemn Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba’s statement ring-fencing Northern circuit exclusively for PF because it was reckless and divisive.

He urged President Lungu to condemn tribalism, regionalism, and violence.

“I would like to recommend the following: Lungu apologises and condemns tribal and regional statements made in the last 10 days, including condemning GBM’s statement on the Northern circuit being a no go area for HH (Hakande Hichilema),” Banda said.

“Surely, Lungu should know the implications of all this if he is a patriot. The statement by GBM is a desperate one, unpatriotic, inhuman, unZambian, unChristian, and above all divisive.”

Mwamba made the declaration at an occasion President Lungu welcomed him into the PF in Kasama last week.

Banda urged President Lungu to immediately call for an inclusive genuine national dialogue to be chaired by the three church mother bodies as agreed before.

“He must also call for an economic indaba to discuss the current state of our economy and finding a lasting solution,” he said.

Banda also said President Lungu must declare hunger in some regions of the nation a disaster.

He said there was hunger in the country, which would get worse towards Christmas till April or May next year.

Banda noted that the only reason President Lungu was refusing to declare a national disaster was because the idea came from Hichilema.

“Lungu is proud and arrogant,” he said.

Banda said President Lungu had traversed the country telling citizens that Hichilema would never be president of Zambia because he was not patriotic.

He said unlike Hichilema, Lungu was President of the country and was expected to show more patriotism than any other citizen but his leadership left much to be desired.

“Let me outline what patriotism means when you are President. A patriotic President must not hate or divide the country on tribal or regional lines. A patriotic President should not retire citizens in national interest because they hail from a certain region. A patriotic President should learn to apologise when he wrongs citizens or an individual,” Banda said.

“A patriotic President must be prudent to save national resources. For example, a patriotic President can and should not entertain plunder of national resources at the expense of the poor citizens. How can a patriotic President authorise the purchase of a private jet worth $400 million when the country is going through the worst period economically? A patriotic President cannot borrow $18 billion and fail to supervise frugal and prudent accountability for it.”

Banda said a patriotic President could not authorise the purchase of 42-second hand fire tenders at $1 million each, purchase of ambulances worth $50,000 each at an inflated cost of $250,000 each.

Banda said in the last two years, privileged cartels had embezzled K6 billion as captured in the latest Financial Intelligence Centre report.

“Why should money be circulating in the hands of a few individuals simply because they are biologically, politically, socially and other wise related to the President?” Banda asked.

“A patriotic President cannot sanction the construction of a bituminous road at the cost of $1.2 million per kilometre instead of $400,000 as in other SADC countries. Where does the balance of $800,000 go? A patriotic President can never continue to support politically induced by-elections which are done at great cost to the nation. Government spends over $2 million per by-election. This is money which should go to improving our education, health, agriculture and other needy social services.”

Banda said a patriotic President must be always be ready to be criticised and advised as had been the case in the recent past where Hichilema advised government against the export of maize because of poor rainfall.

He said Hichilema had also advised on the liquidation of Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) and on declaring a hunger disaster.

He said a patriotic President should listen to advice made in national interest.

“A patriotic President should never condone violence or intimidation of citizens for political expediency. A patriotic President must be always ready to dialogue in national interest. We have seen the President conveniently avoiding to dialogue by always shifting goalposts on the matter. For example, it was agreed that Commonwealth was going to lead the dialogue but he changed and said he wanted the Church but later changed to ZCID and formed the NDF against the advice and wishes of other stakeholders,” Banda said.

“Above all, a patriotic President cannot mutilate with impunity the supreme law of the country, the Constitution. These are just some of the issues that clearly show that the President is not patriotic to the country but to himself. That’s what saddens me when I see him going round the country talking ill about our president Hakainde Hichilema, who in my view has proven beyond doubt to be a patriot.”

Banda said Hichilema had proved to be a mature and patriotic citizen.

“Despite election being rigged against him, Hakainde Hichilema, our president, ensured that in national interest his members and supporters did not and don’t cause chaos in the country,” Banda said.

Banda said a patriot must forgive in national interest like Hichilema did after being incarcerated for 127 days for a crime he did not commit.

“People of Zambia open your eyes,” said Banda.

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