Antonio Mwanza’s lamentations on corrupt Cabinet Ministers

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1. Two months ago, President Edgar Lungu informed the nation that some of his cabinet Ministers are corrupt thieves who are embezzling huge sums of taxpayers’ money. The president said that he could not take the corruption and theft within his cabinet anymore and assured the nation that he would soon fire those thieves. It’s now over two months and nothing has happened, yet the theft and corruption has continued unabated. It was all woof woof woof and no bite.

2. The other week and this last one, the President travelled to Luapula and Eastern Provinces. There, he expressed displeasure that up to now many farmers have not yet received farming inputs. He lumped the blame on banks and agro-dealers for this catastrophic delay. It’s sad that the President is playing politics with people’s lives when he knows so well that farmers have not received inputs because his Government has failed to pay the agro-dealers for the farming inputs hence these suppliers have refused to supply farming inputs to farmers. Why not raise the money and pay the suppliers rather than moving up and down talking to desperate farmers and pretend that you are unaware of the causes of this debacle? The President and his Ministers have been singing that they will priotise Agriculture as the main hub for economic recovery and national prosperity but they have completely neglected Agriculture. They have failed to put money in Agriculture. There is no money for inputs, mechanised production, irrigation, agro-processing and diversification. It’s been all woof woof woof and no action.

3. While in Luapula, the President threatened to fire his cabinet Ministers who have neglected their constituencies. Really? Firstly this is the same President who rejected the people’s submissions that Ministers should be appointed from outside Parliament to ensure among other things, the separation of powers and efficiency so that MPs concentrate on their primary responsibility of legislating and Ministers concentrate on their primary responsibility of policy formulation. Why is the President failing to act on incompetent Ministers and instead he is always threatening to fire them but he has no courage to act. Again it’s woof woof woof and no bite.

4. Last month, Government went to town announcing that Mealie Meal prices will be reduced by 2nd February. Today is 12th February. Even a child who is doing Shosho Studies oh sorry Social Studies knows that prices of goods and services are influenced by market forces and not propaganda. This Government is well aware that we are in this mess because of their own actions and policies: how can the price of Mealie Meal go down when the cost of production has skyrocketed? How can Mealie Meal prices go down when we have a shortfall of over 200, 000 metric tonnes from our target strategic reserves of 500, 000 and mealers are not accessing cheap maize from FRA as a result of this shortage. We corruptly exported 100, 000 metric tonnes of maize to Malawi when we had not met our reserves. Why is Government failing to concentrate on finding lasting solutions to the ever rising cost of doing business instead of feeding us this hogwash?

5. In this country it seems elections don’t end. If we are not talking about the 2016 elections then we are talking about the 2021 elections. We have serious socio-economic challenges that needs our conceited effort and attention but we are all spending immense periods of time talking elections. There is a time for everything.

6. It is abundantly evident that Government is in total disarray, it’s pure Chipante-pante. It seems that our brothers and sisters in the corridors of power have neither the clue nor the acumen to formulate and implement sound policies. With the current fiscal deficits, power deficits, high cost of production, rising national debt, dwindling revenue collections, a valueless Kwacha we need a cadre of men and women who can formulate and implement sound policies. We need to cut down on unnecessary government expenditure and concentrate on production. The President must take a serious self introspection and evaluate and access his team. We have no shortage of brains and patriots in this country. The President has four years to turn things around and he can do it if he can commit himself.

Antonio Mwanza, FDD Spokesperson

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