BOB Sichinga says President Edgar Lungu is corrupt together with his ministers, such that they have only delivered in their pockets.
Opening Parliament on Friday, President Lungu said his administration had delivered to the people.
President Lungu said Zambia is better now than it was in 2016.
“As a government, we were given the mandate to reduce poverty and [to] create prosperity for our people. We have delivered on that mandate and we will continue to deliver. We have delivered on infrastructure, we have delivered on social protection, we have delivered on education and health, to mention but a few,” said President Lungu in part.
Reacting to the president’s speech, Sichinga, a former commerce minister in Sata’s cabinet, said President Lungu was just dreaming.
“Well, to be honest with you, even presidents can be allowed to dream. Anybody is allowed to dream, it’s okay to dream. But, clearly, this is a campaign message, and it’s people that must judge whether you have done so or not. And it’s people that are supposed to be beneficiaries; that’s quite clear,” he said yesterday. “And as far as I’m concerned, roads that are built…to respond to his situation, let’s start with the road infrastructure. When he says we are better than we were before, he himself said as follows: ‘I have no vision of my own’. So, what is he comparing his performance against if he has no vision? What has he started? What is his measure? So, when he says they have delivered, yes, they’ve delivered into their own pockets because of theft.”
Sichinga, who is spokesperson of the Our Civic Duty Association (OCIDA), asked President Lungu what barometer he was using to gauge his administration’s ‘good’ performance.
“What is the barometer against which he’s having to measure his performance which he says he has delivered on, because if he’s talking about the roads, he found roads being constructed under president Sata. That’s not something that Lungu’s administration is supposed to have delivered,” Sichinga said further. “So, he should say ‘we have completed some of the roads that Mr Sata had started’, [not] to say he has delivered; that’s the first thing. Second, the cost of doing so is because they’ve been stealing from it; and I mean just that. They’ve been stealing from the road infrastructure, from the hospital infrastructure, clinics infrastructure; anything they touch they steal from [it].”
He said Sata’s well intended infrastructure programme had been abused by the current administration.
Sichinga said President Lungu and his team had stolen more from the construction sector than they enhanced quality.
“Anything that gives them more money in their individual pockets pleases their administration. So, his own officers are corrupt, himself corrupt. So, if that is the measure he’s talking about, then his administration has done well by stealing from the construction sector,” he said. “Those projects that Mr Sata embarked on of building hospitals, creating new districts are necessary, but not at the price at which they are being constructed. They’re using them to steal from the poor.”
Sichinga said the Pf leaders had already paid themselves from the projects.
“So, instead of talking about 8,000 kilometres, they’ve only done 4,000 kilometres or 6,000 kilometres. They could have done this with better quality if they were not stealing from it, starting from the President himself to the ministers, to the directors and all those that are involved in this; they’re all involved in it. And this, they’ve been adequately enumerated because we’re talking about fire tenders of US$1 million each,” said Sichinga. “The [Financial Intelligence Centre] FIC report has shown exactly where the money went for some of the mischief that took place. Secondly, questionable purchases of things such as motor vehicles where prices are exaggerated; where you would have gotten 10 ambulances you are only getting seven. Where you could have had better quality roads because you were not taking from them, again that’s the situation; whether you are talking about airport bases, whether you are talking about police houses, the price of those constructions is extremely exaggerated.”