National Movement for Progress (NMP) president Ng’andu Magande says Zambia is slowly slipping into a dictatorship under the Patriotic Front.
Featuring on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview programme, Magande said he was disappointed that young people had shown lack of principle by easily defecting to the ruling party causing unnecessary by-elections.
“We are getting back to the old days of the one party state where clearly it was said at a mass rally that if you do not vote for us we will not bring development. Now that is not supposed to be in our democratic dispensation,” said the former finance minister between 2002 and 2008.
He said the culture of intolerance that is being championed by the PF government that has seen several opposition leaders being arrested at the slightest occasion was bad for the country.
“I want to plead to the president to leave a legacy of a peaceful Zambia, right now there is a lot of anxiety among a lot of people especially the young politicians who are being detained wherever they surface. Let him give the space also to express themselves,” Magande said.
He said the excuse by defectors that they were crossing over the floor to take development to their constituencies was defective.
“The by-elections we have analysed them and we said to ourselves, is this a worthwhile exercise? We said to ourselves it is not because at the end of the day what are the issues?” he wondered.
“Yesterday (Saturday) somebody resigned in Northwestern province when they discussed his elections all they said was now that I have resigned from this party and joined the ruling party development will come. How?”
He said it was disappointing that young people had shown lack of principles.
“Some of these people who are resigning from the opposition parties to go and say because I have joined this party development will come to you, they do not understand [and] sadly most of them are young people,” he said.
“Young people are supposed to have principles, they are supposed to understand, have visions which they can give to the people that under whatever circumstances wherever I will be what I believe in is what I am going to do.”
He said, “If you are going to be changing like some of them are changing at the moment then I do not know where we are going. I remember one of them failing to answer a question that; if PF loses in 2016 and another party wins are you going to join the other party to hunt for development? And he could not answer that question”
Magande said the steps being taken by the PF government smacked of dictatorship.
“So for me really the question that you can only deliver development in your area if you belong to a ruling party to me that is in a dictatorship.”
He said, “Some people suspect that it is where (by-election) most of the money is going, that is why some of the things are having prices increased, that is why mealie-meal prices are being increased we have exhausted the budget for by-elections. Is that a good thing for national development when people require money elsewhere. It is not worthwhile.”
Magande said the Fertilizer Supporter Programme under the PF government had proved disastrous.
“The economic reason is not there. I am an Agriculture Economist, you need eight bags of fertilizer minimum per hectare of maize… now that it is two bags, I do not know what you can produce on two bags,” he said.
“They should take it where it was that is why we are having difficulties with food security in the country. People are given two bags and they cannot produce and when they produce they cannot produce a surplus.”
Magande said removing the subsidy on fuel was wrong.
“Somebody was saying after all the government was right to remove the subsidy on fuel and I said that do you know that fuel affects even the least, the most vulnerable, the least developed person out there in the villages,” he said.
“This time is harvest time, you need to move the crop now and they have increased the price for diesel it means therefore the vehicles that are going to collect the crop for this poor guy to take it to the market they are going to increase the price.”
He said, “I know that someone can say that we are increasing ministers’ prices because some ministers have vulnerable relatives but there are certain economic fundamentals that certain resources, certain assets they do peculate they go down up to the lowest level. Just now because of fuel prices somebody at Chazanga who has a child who has to be rushed to Matero health centre the taxi driver has put another five kwacha there and he cannot deliver his child.”
Zambia has been hit by rampant fuel increases that have seen fuel, mealie meal and bus fares shooting up.