LET’S change government, Bob Sichinga has advised Zambians.
Meanwhile, Sichinga says there is excessive and blatant corruption in Edgar Lungu’s government.
Sichinga served as a commerce minister as well as agriculture minister under Michael Sata’s government.
He featured on Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy programme on Monday night.
“Let’s change government! Zambians own the government; they put a political party to manage their government. If that group of leaders, starting with the President and the Cabinet he creates cannot deliver, they should be honourable enough to say ‘we are not up to the standard of this challenge. Let other Zambians who are capable of doing it do so’,” Sichinga said when programme host, Alexander Musokotwane, asked him what Zambians should do amidst the socio-economic hardships they were going through.
“That’s why I’m encouraging Zambians to change this government, come next elections.”
He, however, refused to say which political party should replace the PF.
“The current leadership has failed us as Zambians,” Sichinga insisted.
He observed that there was wasteful expenditure in the PF government and that one could see it in the manner few resources were being utilised.
“There is excessive and blatant corruption under the Lungu government. You do not have frugality in the use of the few resources that you have. There is also a situation of the severely reduced income because of KCM’s operations,” Sichinga, a forensic accountant by training, said. “If you allow corruption to become so blatant as we have right now, what it does…. It’s like a free-for-all; for those that have control of that resource. Do you know where this money [from corruption] goes? It goes to Dubai, it goes to safe havens where you don’t have access to it.”
Sichinga regretted that senior officials in the PF government bragged at their inexplicable acquisition of wealth.
“For them it’s power, it means ‘I’m a better man and I’m better than you are.’ They (political leadership) will tell you ‘I have property in London, Dubai, South America.’ They show off…” he lamented.
“There is blatant corruption! The President himself (Edgar Lungu) has said so. ‘My ministers are corrupt…’”
Asked if Zambia had capacity to fight corruption, Sichinga responded that: “no! There is no will to fight corruption.”
“It (Zambia) could have capacity if the people in the Anti-Corruption are allowed to do their work and they know that they are going to be demanded to provide this particular information where they prosecute and that somebody is not going to give instructions behind their back that ‘don’t push this matter,’” Sichinga explained.
“[There are] huge levels of corruption and everybody knows this. It’s an open secret.”
He stressed that a lifestyle audit among senior government officials should definitely be done.
“Right from the time I got into politics I have been talking about this. It does not matter whether it’s Bob Sichinga or Michael Sata; whoever it is, let’s have a lifestyle audit,” Sichinga urged, adding that salaries for the President, Vice-President, members of parliament, senior government officials, Secretary to Cabinet were all gazetted.
“If they have got businesses, they are registered. So, why don’t we just audit that? Let’s do a lifestyle audit! But the authority to say ‘yes, we are going to do that’ rests with the President and he knows it.”
Sichinga further pointed out that: “we can’t keep quiet and I’ll not quiet” when disorganisation in the country’s governance was reigning.
“This country can be great but we have to have the right ideas, right momentum – not to look at how rich I’m going to be. But how rich Zambia is going to be [and] if Zambia is rich, many of us will be rich,” he explained.
Sichinga further lamented about the ongoing sharp power deficit.
“The implication of what we have got at the moment is that it’s gonna make the economic situation even worse. Where do you get the GDP [because] the gross domestic product is as a result of output? Where is your output if there is no power?” said Sichinga.