By Antonio Mwanza
The decision by President Edgar Lungu to ferry the entire Executive Arm of Government and hordes of PF cadres to Heroes Stadium on Tuesday at a huge public cost just to sign the Constitution Amendment Bill epitomises how wasteful and fiscally undisciplined President Edgar Lungu is. How can a President who is presiding over a falling economy compounded with a ballooning fiscal and account deficit, a depreciating Kwacha and escalating inflation, a widening trade deficit and growing debt burden decide to waste millions of taxpayers’ money just to append a signature to a PF/MMD Constitution? Why should all Executive Government operations come to a stand-still just for Mr Lungu to perform a 30 second stint of signing an Amended Bill? How callous and reckless will Mr Lungu ever be?
First it must be put clearly that Government will spend millions paying allowances to Deputy Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Ministers, the President and all other Constitution Office Holders who will attend the ceremony. Don’t forget the millions of Kwachas that will be wasted on fuel, security, food and other logistics. Surely we have other urgent priority areas were we can prudently use these collosal sums of money we are wasting on pomp and splendour.
It is clear that the President doesn’t care about saving. He doesn’t care about prudency. He knows nothing about frugality. Edgar Lungu only cares about his political survival. He wants to use the signing of a piecemeal amended Constitution to gain political mileage.
The Constitution Bill Edgar Lungu will be signing on Tuesday is not a people driven Constitution but a PF/MMD doctored Constitution. The people’s submissions were raped and adulterated. The fundamental clauses that would have guaranteed development and good governance were removed: The Bill of Rights which would have guaranteed economic, social, political and cultural rights of citizens; The Mixed-Member Proportional Representation which could have enhanced the representation of women and youth in Parliament; Provincial Assemblies which could have ensured Decentralisation and devolution of both economic and political power; Appointment of Cabinet outside Parliament which was meant to ensure Separation of Powers and improved service delivery have all been deleted from the Constitution Bill. What President Lungu will be assenting to on Tuesday is nothing but a shell and betrayal of the people’s submissions. However, President Lungu and his minions are trying so hard to hoodwink some gullible individuals into believing that Mr Lungu has delivered a people-driven constitution. What a farcade!
And it’s not only the enormous amounts of money that will be wasted on Tuesday but numerous man-hours. Instead of Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, the President and all other senior government officials spending time in their offices attending to needs of the masses they will all be out there at Heroes Stadium attending to drama and comedy. What a waste!