THIS PF government is now insulting starving citizens who are crying for help, says Ackson Sejani.
Reacting to comments made by Chanda Kabwe, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit national coordinator, Sejani said the PF government was cruel and waiting for people to die before providing them with relief food.
On Thursday, Kabwe said Southern Province residents were “making noise” and “lacking the art of appreciation” over the government’s efforts to address the hunger situation in the area.
Sejani, however, said Kabwe’s comments were an insult to people who are starving around the country.
“A few weeks ago [President Edgar] Lungu told people of North Western Province that they have to cry out if they want to see development in their area. Now people are crying out for relief food and somebody within DMMU calls them noisemakers. What an insult from a government that is waiting for people to die before they can be given relief food,” he said.
Sejani, who served as local government minister in the Frederick Chiluba administration, described the PF as a “government of the dead”, saying it appeared the leadership would only respond when people die of hunger.
“To argue that the government will only render help when people start dying is the epitome of stupidity in governance,” he said. “What happened to the principle of proactiveness? One thought that the primary duty of the government is to save life by trying to avert danger before it occurs. Clearly under this cruel, corrupt, insensitive and irresponsible PF government, things have been turned upside down. You have to die before you can expect government help.”
Sejani said the hunger crisis which PF leaders had been denying was now unfolding before their own eyes.
“First they were arguing that they can’t declare an emergency because it was only Southern Province that was affected by drought, as if to suggest that no help would be called for if it is just a part of your body that is affected. Warped thinking! You need medical intervention even if it is just a toe, finger or ear that is affected,” he said.
“Now after reading the report from their own officials, which by the way they had not read when they were busy denying the scale of the problem, they are now saying half of the country is affected. It is Southern, Western, Central, Lusaka, Eastern and Luapula (provinces) covering some 53 districts. This government must be ashamed of itself for running a system that has failed its citizens.”
Sejani said the PF government was currently broke and had no capacity to move “even the little maize within its borders” to deficit regions.
“The debt repayment has left the treasury empty. The situation has deteriorated so much that this government is even failing to avail maize for sale in needy areas,” he said.
“If this government was sensible as to declare a disaster, all these donations going through civil society would have landed at the DMMU. It had to take a concerned opposition leader to cry out for help from the international community when it should have been the government doing it. How heartless can a government get?”
He condemned the “same cruel government” for blocking UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema from making donations to the needy.
“We will not allow the continued harassment and political persecution of Hichilema by this corrupt regime whose major preoccupation is the primitive accumulation of wealth through thefts instead of saving the lives of citizens,” said Sejani. “So, for heaven’s sake, when we cry for help, we are not making noise. Don’t insult us!”