GOOD governance activist Brebner Changala has charged that the PF are trying to buy their way back into power through what he terms their exaggerated campaign expenditure.
He told The Mast that he had observed that the ruling party was spending huge sums of money on campaigns when public health facilities had no medicines and adequate staff.
“I am noticing with dismay the ECL (Edgar Chagwa Lungu) campaign material and billboards. The billboards that have been placed between Lusaka, Chililabombwe, Nakonde, Livingstone is obscene,” he said. “If you look at the cost, the money that has been put in the billboards and the regalia in which even trees for the first time are dressed up, bridges are dressed up – don’t talk about an ordinary citizen – the cost must have been very huge to the tax payer. This campaign material is not cheap. They are literally trying to buy their way into power once again at a cost of suffering citizens, at a cost of human life.”
Changala said the PF was definitely using public money because they had no known businesses from which they could raise such resources.
“And this is obscene because Mr Edgar Lungu and the PF have diverted resources from the hospitals and created a shortage of medicine in our hospitals, clinics and health centres. The money they have spent on these billboards could have helped us in education reforms and support our children. The priority is upside down,” Changala added. “The desire to stay in power even when they have nothing to offer is seriously misplaced and borders on criminality. And this is why I call it obscene and immoral. And this money that they are throwing around is money from the people of Zambia. Let anybody in PF deny and say this is genuinely made money. PF is not a business entity, and PF has no known business. This is money laundering, and at this juncture I also invited DEC (Drug Enforcement Commission) and the Anti-Corruption Commission to take interest. But most importantly, I want the public protector to take interest in this astronomical expenditure that PF finds itself in.”
He questioned the logic behind putting up such an expensive campaign when the country has failed to procure Covid vaccines.
Changala also invited the Church to take interest in the matter and condemn it outright.
“Edgar Chagwa Lungu must be reminded because nobody has told him about these billboards, that it could have saved life elsewhere. We are recipients of COVID-19 vaccines – recipients! We are receiving donations. We haven’t purchased anything,” he noted. “The only thing we can purchase in this country is campaign material to make one guy stay in power as long as he wishes. This must be condemned. And I must invite the Church as a moral centre to pray for Edgar Lungu because this is abnormal, obscene and unacceptable. He must sit and take a step backwards and ask himself one question – why should you have almost 39 billboards between Kabwe roundabout and Makeni Mall? Does it make any sense? He must reflect.”
Changala contrasted the high national poverty levels to the PF campaign expenditure.
He described the expenditure as senseless and an act of arrogance.
“There are no medicines in hospitals, not even Panadol and yet where I’m passing, that is Burma Road going to Chilumbulu, all trees are dressed in PF chitenge material. There is poverty in Luapula, people move half naked and yet a new culture is that trees now are being dressed of their nakedness. I don’t know how naked these trees are,” Changala said. “And the pandemic has exposed the PF with the huge sums of money spent on these hospitals and yet we could not get bed space, and yet we can’t get the supporting staff. One nurse in a Covid ward was looking after 50 patients. And the patients were not dying of Covid. They started dying of negligence. They started dying of hunger. They started dying of thirst, and they started dying of oxygen running out from the cylinders.”
And Changala has wondered why the PF has taken over the airwaves during campaigns after fighting the same media it is using.
He also questioned the sudden upsurge of ‘economic experts’ in the ruling party.
“This PF has gone to take over the airwaves and yet they have been fighting the media. They are now the darling of the media – the media they have never allowed to be free,” noted Changala. “All of a sudden everybody is an expert on how this country is better than every other country in the world, including the disgraced Economics Association of Zambia which has become a department of the PF.”