By George Lubasi
In Fackson Shamenda’s world, a 10% salary increment for a President and a 21% increment for a nurse are the same. Therefore, the public should not complain about the increment in salaries for constitutional office holders. This is a former unionist speaking. Whatever happens to people when they enter government.
Which research informed Shamenda that his boss is the lowest paid in the SADC region? SADC has 15 member countries. Did Shamenda pick the phone and ask each of these governments how much they pay their presidents? Or is he just dreaming?
But even assuming that Sata is indeed the lowest paid, it is only in order that if you are the president of a poor country, you don’t expect to be paid lavishly. You live within what your taxpayers can afford to pay you. After all you pledged to be a servant, not a master. You don’t go out to strangle taxpayers to finance your desire to be among the top league in SADC.
Botswana, most of which is a desert, has no business borrowing from the IMF or being instructed by third rate Washington economists on how they should manage their economy. They make prudent use of revenue from only two sources, diamonds and beef. Not too long ago, the country had US$7 billion in reserves, with a national population less than that of Lusaka. But the country had a president in Sir Ketumile Masire who did not own a presidential jet but flew economy class. Do you now know understand why he got the Mo Ibrahim award?
In Malawi, they have a president who is fighting corruption not by pontificating how “allergic” she is to it, but by dismissing those involved in the vice so as to preserve the little resources available to deal with the debilitating poverty facing the people.
In Zambia, there is a government that is presiding over obscene poverty levels, yet has the guts to justify its opulence. Increasing the salary of the president, ministers and MPs is not a priority under the current circumstances. These are people who already live way above luxury. Anyway, these are the “servants” the people of Zambia elected, a government led by a man who is said to have a heart for the poor.
If Zambians are waiting for anyone to speak for them, they are wasting time.
he so-called civil society is dilapidated. They are not sure how to extricate themselves from their shameless marriage of convenience with the PF. When Rupiah Banda increased his salary, you would have thought he had committed treason. He was roundly condemned. So where are those NGOs that were making noise that time?
Don’t expect much from the opposition, either. Their MPs are beneficiaries of the increment and that’s the best way to shut them up. So in line with the outdated tradition of Parliament, this budget line will not be debated because, we are told, MPs don’t debate themselves. Perhaps only parties without MPs have the moral ground to condemn this salary increment.
As for the media, you can only rely on the Watchdog and the Daily Nation. For Zambia Daily Mail, Times of Zambia and ZNBC, this is a no-go-area. As you all know, The Post sold its soul a long time ago for a whooping K18 billion. That is why they can even rush to write a counter reaction to a story they never ran initially. That debt is really scaring these people – to a point where they perennially clap for the very things they condemned.
Dear Zambian, speak out.