DEMON­STRATE FOR WHAT?

Daily Nation Newspaper - - HOME NEWS -

CHISHIMBA Kamb­wili is an in­tel­lec­tual mid­get bereft of an­a­lyt­i­cal skills to ap­pre­ci­ate in­tri­cate pub­lic pol­icy. He is a real liv­ing dan­ger to good or­der and gov­er­nance be­cause his dem­a­goguery some­how ap­peals to the equally in­tel­lec­tu­ally dis­abled com­mu­nity. His re­cent mind­less rant­ings are a clear demon­stra­tion of his de­praved but per­verse in­flu­ence. We are now con­fronted with the phenom­ena of two strange po­lit­i­cal bed­fel­lows Hakainde Hichilema and Chishimba Kamb­wili plan­ning joint demon­stra­tions on none is­sues, de­mand­ing Gov­ern­ment’s re­vo­ca­tion of the statu­tory in­stru­ment on the in­crease of al­lowances and salaries for min­is­ters, Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment and the Pres­i­dency. This was a cause ini­tially cham­pi­oned by Kamb­wili. Just what could be the mo­tive for their planned demon­stra­tions apart from play­ing tru­ant, and of course to the gallery. Af­ter all, this is their spe­cial­ity, or should we say their favourite pas­time. Their choice of what is­sues to demon­strate for is quite baf­fling. This time round, they want to protest over what is not an is­sue – a change in pol­icy that Pres­i­dent Edgar Lungu had di­rected the Sec­re­tary to Cab­i­net, Dr Roland Msiska to im­ple­ment. As Pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Amos Chanda had told the Daily Na­tion, the Pres­i­dent had or­dered the rev­er­sal of the new al­lowance through a memo to Sec­re­tary to the Cab­i­net dated Novem­ber 13, 2018. The scrapped monthly al­lowance of K32, 715.20 was in­tro­duced in Jan­uary this year fol­low­ing the abo­li­tion of per­sonal to holder ve­hi­cles for min­is­ters and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials. For salaries, Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, Min­is­ters and all con­sti­tu­tional of­fi­cer hold­ers had their perks ad­justed in Jan­uary 2018 as per gov­ern­ment gazette. Un­like min­is­ters, MPs started re­ceiv­ing their ad­justed salaries in Jan­uary 2018. If any­thing, Mr Hichilema, the United Party for Na­tional De­vel­op­ment pres­i­dent and the mid­dle of the road, Roan Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment cum na­tional con­sul­tant for the Na­tional Demo­cratic Party, Mr Kamb­wili should have voiced their con­cerns last Jan­uary. No won­der ques­tions have been raised as to why Mr Kamb­wili and the UPND Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment who were among the first ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the salary in­cre­ments they now want to protest over have been quiet all along. This is what Zam­bia Repub­li­can Party pres­i­dent Wright Mu­soma, 3rd Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment’s Enock Tonga and Change Life Zam­bia leader John Ka­songo and all Zam­bians want to know. Mr Mu­soma noted that Mr Kamb­wili and UPND par­lia­men­tar­i­ans should have re­jected the new pay im­me­di­ately the re­vi­sion was done if they were gen­uine lead­ers as they claimed to be. Gov­ern­ment has abol­ished the newly in­tro­duced ve­hi­cle re­place­ment al­lowance awarded to Cab­i­net Min­is­ters and other of­fi­cials and re­verted the of­fi­cers to their pre­vi­ous con­di­tions of ser­vice fol­low­ing a pres­i­den­tial di­rec­tive. Ac­cord­ing to a press state­ment is­sued by Cab­i­net Of­fice, the af­fected of­fi­cers would re­vert to their old con­di­tions ser­vice which were abol­ished early this year. The old con­di­tions of ser­vice had in­cluded per­sonal to holder ve­hi­cles. As Mr Mu­soma ob­served, the op­po­si­tion lead­ers had been quiet all this time be­cause they were di­rectly ben­e­fit­ting from the in­cre­ment and now cry­ing foul be­cause there were no min­is­ters among them. “Had they been ap­pointed min­is­ters, they would have been quiet, like they did when their salaries were re­vised last year. This is pure hypocrisy,” said Mr Mu­soma. Zam­bians for a start should be re­minded that the with­drawal of per­sonal to holder fa­cil­ity to min­is­ters and other gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials was made as a cost sav­ing mea­sure. Apart from min­is­ters, pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers two deputy speak­ers, Catherine Na­mu­gala and Mwimba Malama and leader of the op­po­si­tion, Jack Mwi­imbu (UPND) were also en­ti­tled to both per­sonal-to-holder and util­ity ve­hi­cles and fur­nished houses. How­ever, fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of aus­ter­ity mea­sures, fur­ni­ture al­lowances and per­sonal to holder fa­cil­i­ties were re­moved and in­stead an al­lowance of K32,000 was in­tro­duced for min­is­ters and pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers and the Leader of Op­po­si­tion in Par­lia­ment. When back benchers, who have never en­joyed these con­di­tions be­fore wanted the same K32, 000 to be ex­tended to them, cal­cu­la­tions showed that the aus­ter­ity mea­sures would not work if this fa­cil­ity was ex­tended and there­fore Cab­i­net Of­fice ex­plained the im­pli­ca­tions to the Pres­i­dent. On Novem­ber 13, 2018, the Pres­i­dent wrote to Sec­re­tary to the Cab­i­net direct­ing him to re­verse the new ar­range­ment in the light of protests from back benchers and in the light of the fa­cil­ity be­ing un­ten­able in terms of cost if all MPs de­manded min­is­te­rial perks. So on what grounds would Mr Hichilema and Mr Kamb­wili base their demon­stra­tions if not to at­tract at­ten­tion? The only snag though is that their planned “mis­chief” is not likely to lead any­where for no one takes them se­ri­ously – what with their pen­chant for fake news and try­ing to cause alarm in the na­tion – the re­cent ri­ots in Kitwe for ex­am­ple!

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