UPND press conference today
01st August, 2012
With each day that passes under Mr. Sata’s administration, we are left to wonder as to whether the PF is a ruling Party or a ruining Party. The way Mr. Sata and the PF have managed the country’s financial resources leaves much to be desired.
1. Salary increments for constitutional office holders
Countrymen and women, may I remind you that when Barack Obama was elected as President of the United States of America (U.S.A) in 2008, his first act was to sign an Executive Order that suspended any increase in salary for constitutional office holders until the economy of the U.S.A. started showing signs of improvement. This is how it should be when a country has principled leadership.
The sad reality for our country is that Mr. Sata and his cabinet have issued statutory instrument number 17 of 2012 under which they have increased their salaries by over 100% with effect from 01st April, 2012. Mr. Sata has further given himself an allowance of K80,000,000.00 which other past Presidents of this country have never received. Is this what he meant by more money in your pockets? Whilst the rest of the country’s workforce has received minimal upward adjustments ranging from 4% to 15%, the President and his cabinet have received a windfall. This increment is highly immoral and amounts to white-collar theft motivated by self-aggrandizement and greed.
In a normal situation, a salary increment is given as a reward for successes scored. What has Mr. Sata and his cabinet achieved in the last 10 (ten) months to deserve such a hefty and unjustifiable upward adjustment?
Is he paying himself for breaking many key election campaign promises he made to the people.
Youth unemployment is at a record high. Our women are giving birth on the floor and are required to carry buckets when going to give birth. Our cotton farmers have been given a raw deal etc. So what has Mr. Sata and his team done to handsomely reward themselves in such a manner.
Ladies and Gentlemen, During Dr. Mwanawasa and Mr. Rupiah Banda’s reign, Mr. Sata was a loud critic of salary increments for constitutional office holders. What has changed now? Countrymen and women, allow me to quote from the Post editorial of Thursday October 25, 2007.
On how his friends (the Post) described him. ‘This is what we mean when we say Sata stands on no principles. He is a restless person who changes direction as often as the wind does. In short, he has no direction. He doesn’t even believe in what he says’.
Early this year, while visiting Botswana, Mr. Sata vehemently refused to have tea because the majority of people cannot afford a cup of tea. If Mr. Sata has any trace of morality left in him, let him and his Ministers refuse to accept their new salaries and allowances because the majority of Zambians have not received this kind of hefty increment.
2. Judge Chikopa’s Stay
How can any sensible citizen explain the continued presence of Judge Chikopa from Malawi at Government expense. This is a serious drain on public funds and a way of institutionalizing and normalizing wastefulness . If Mr. Sata had been a prudent manager, he would have allowed, Judge Chikopa to return to Malawi whilst our courts resolved the matter of the tribunal. We would have expected Mr. Sata to have spent these resources on improving the welfare of our people rather than treat Judge Chikopa to a lavish holiday at tax payer’s expense. In any event, many Zambians are still asking as to why Mr. Sata opted to hire a foreign Judge when our local Judges are perfectly qualified and competent. We demand that Judge Chikopa leaves immediately.
3. Creation of Districts
While we appreciate the fact that the President has constitutional powers to create Districts, we are concerned with the manner in which these Districts are being created. There seems to be no well thought out plan. The creation of these Districts have cost implications, such as costs of office space, salaries of District Commissioners and support staff, stationery, phone expenses, fuels etc. We are aware that when Finance Minister, Alexander Bwalya Chikwanda presented the 2012 budget, these expenses where not factored in? Creation of Districts without budget support will not enhance any service delivery. Sometimes we wonder whether these Districts are being created to celebrate Mr. Sata’s old status as District Governor. We would have thought that Mr. Sata would have concentrated on making already existing Districts functional and effective, such as Ikeleng’i, Shangombo, Kazungula, Chienge, Mufumbwe, etc. In view of the foregoing, we demand to know how many Districts he intends to create this year and next year so that the same can be budgeted for.
4. Agriculture Sector
We are deeply concerned and saddened by how rapidly the agricultural sector is collapsing under Mr. Sata’s administration. This sector which once upon a time was very vibrant and source of livelihood for our people has been put on its death bed under Mr. Sata’s administration.
For instance, cotton farmers who were getting K3,200 per kilogramme last year are being paid K1,700 per kilogramme this year. We are aware that across the border in Zimbabwe, cotton farmers are being paid an equivalent of K4,000 per kilogramme.
How does Mr. Sata expect the cotton farmers to survive? Does this reduction in price make business sense to Mr. Sata? During the Chama North by-election campaigns, Mr. Sata promised the people of Chama North that his Government would intervene in the matter. After the people of Chama gave the PF the seat, Mr. Sata has abandoned the cotton farmers of Chama North in a typical ‘donchi kubeba’ (cheating) manner.
I say to the people of Zambia ‘Don’t Kubepwa!’ We demand that Mr. Sata attends to the plight of cotton farmers as a matter of national emergency. We are also concerned that Mr. Sata’s Government intends to abolish a number of satellite depots around the country and limit the number of maize bags F.R.A. is supposed to buy from farmers to 150.
Clearly this new policy will be injurious to our small-scale farmers and will push more of our people into desperate levels of poverty. We demand that Mr. Sata’s Government withdraws this injurious policy without any further delay.
We are also concerned with media reports that allege that Mr. Sata has started to construct his retirement house in New Kasama near State Lodge using state resources. We would like to remind Mr. Sata that he has not retired yet and therefore is not entitled to this benefit. This act is tantamount to theft and UPND will be consulting with its legal team to find ways to stop this rot.
Thank you for listening and God bless you.
Hakainde Hichilema PRESIDENT – UPND