Kindly allow me space in your esteemed online publication to express my disgust at the Patriotic Front (PF) Party’s culture of coercing or blackmailing corporates, parastatals and private companies to donate to the party’s activities.
In the run up to the International Women’s Day and Youth Day celebrations, I have read letters issued by District Administrators to various companies soliciting donations or (really ordering them to donate) to the district administration and PF party.
Take for example in Kitwe where several companies, including Konkola Copper Mines, Mopani Copper Mines, Nkana Water and Sewerage Company, Copperbelt Energy Corporation, Alfred H Knight, Atlas Copco, National Breweries, among others, have already paid hefty sums to the district administrator and the PF party functionaries. Though unwilling, these corporates have grudgingly made their donations to the Party and Its Government (PIG) to avoid being considered political incorrect or not to be seen as being ‘uncooperative with the government of the day’.
One would have thought that the unwritten rule requiring corporates to donate to the causes of the PIG ended with the UNIP era. However, we’ve seen this practice being revived in earnest by the ruling party. Under the guise of sponsoring and executing well-intended government programs, these unaccounted for monetary donations have become the ruling party’s source of fundraising.
The question that begs an answer is: is it morally, legally and politically acceptable for Government to use commemorative events such as International Women’s Day, Youth Day, Labour Day and Independence Day as conduits for fleecing funds from corporates and parastatals to sustain the ruling party’s financial machinery?
Furthermore, pointed questions abound: Should corporates be blackmailed into funding government programs which are fully budgeted for by the legislature? What then happens to monies appropriated by Parliament for commemorative events? Are such practices not akin to institutionalizing a culture of corruption? I suppose vocal NGOs like SACCORD and TIZ should be interrogating such injurious practices and holding Government to account for promoting cronyism and political patronage.
The undeniable truth is that what the PF Government is doing is wrong on all counts. I wish to call upon all well-meaning Zambians to resist the PF party’s imposition of the by-gone UNIP era practice of siphoning monies from private companies to sustain party activities. It is also downright demeaning for Government to be seen going round begging for alms from private entities.