By Tuesday Bwalya
Zambia has been grossly mismanaged by the Patriotic Front government. The PF’s rule in Zambia is punctuated by numerous scandals and wrong decisions.
As observed in my previous articles that the mismanagement of the country had been exemplified by huge debt stock that has crushed the economy, thus sending many Zambians into destitution. It is shocking to note that the PF has dragged down the growth of the economy from 7 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) per annum into negative figures. It is laughable to say that our economy has been decimated by COVID-19. The economy was already bushed by the PF’s incompetence and shear appetite for corruption.
I am very vexed to learn that the International Monterrey Fund (IMF) cannot give Zambia soft loans which include COVID-19 relief loan facility because the PF government has overborrowed, and that debt is now unsustainable. After listening to what the IMF official said on Zambia’s requests for funds, it became abundantly clear that Zambia does not qualify even for COVID-19 relief fund. This means that our books of accounts are too bad that no one would want to give us a loan because we have no capacity to pay back. This is shameful and the PF leadership should be bold enough to apologise to Zambians for putting the country in such a situation.
It is disappointing to note that Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other war-torn countries have qualified for COVID-19 relief bailout package but Zambia cannot. Since the IMF has refused to give us money, can the PF and its members such as Dr Mbita Chitala come up with a proper bailout package for Zambia? You cannot tell me that ZMW 10 billion being proposed by the PF government is enough to prop up the economy; this is nothing but a drop in the ocean.
Under the PF regime, our natural resources have been mismanaged to benefit only their officials and supporters. How could a sensible government justify the involvement of foreigners in the mining of gold? It is annoying to see PF government and technocrats forging hands with Sudanese and people from Uganda to exploit our gold because of the purported US$2 million investment. What is US$2 million to a country like Zambia which can buy a 1996 model fire engine at US$1 million?
It is nonsensical for anyone to say that the mining law and policy do not exclude foreigners from exploiting gold. Does it mean that the bad law and policy cannot be changed? I strongly feel that these foreigners are being used to hold shares in gold mining company for the corrupt PF officials. As Mr Chitambala (commonly known as Simon Mwewa Lane), Anthony Bwalya (UPND official) and others have observed, gold is for Zambians. Let us not allow PF officials to selfishly take this resource away from us in the manner they have exploited Mukula tree. Mukula tree business has been a preserve of PF officials, chiefs and their Chinese friends; many Zambians are excluded.
As repeatedly complained in my articles, the country has also witnessed a surge in thuggery behaviour perpetrated by PF cadres and their sympathisers. PF cadres commit crimes with impunity. Law enforcement agencies are powerless; they cannot not effect an arrest on PF thugs for committing crimes. For instance, PF thugs in the recent past attacked ISO radio in Isoka district because it featured online the opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema (HH). The dockets were opened and on 24th May, 2020, the police commissioner for Muchinga Province, Mr Njase was reported saying that the PF cadres who committed the crime and the Radio station were about to reconcile, therefore, police were unable to effect an arrest. This is ridiculous and unacceptable.
The crime was committed and the police cannot arrest the perpetrators because they wish to reconcile with the victim. Anyway, we knew that those PF thugs in Isoka would not be arrested and later face the law because they were above the law.
Under the PF regime, the law is not blind; it chooses who to visit. If you are a PF cadre, official or sympathiser and facing the law, in due course, the law will bypass you; a nolle prosequi will save you. How many people under the PF regime have been saved by nolles? This is abuse of the law and the PF is using nolles to protect their criminal friends. This is unacceptable, and the PF regime should be ashamed for betraying the trust of many Zambians who voted for them.
What I am saying is that there is rampant mismanagement of all the sectors of this country by the PF. There is no patriotism in what the PF government is doing. How I wish its name could be changed to Personalised Front, not Patriotic Front. The PF should not be given another mandate to run the affairs of this country because the mismanagement will lead to more catastrophic consequences than what we are currently seeing. In the meantime, I appeal to the PF leadership to apologise to all Zambians for mismanaging the country and for the misery they have brought on us.
The author is a lecturer at the University of Zambia, department of Library and Information Science. Send your comment to: email@example.com