PF REGIME HIJACKS $300m OF TEACHERS’ LOAN DEDUCTIONS AND DIVERTS MONEY TO CAMPAIGN ACTIVITIES.
By: Anthony Bwalya – UPND Member.
Fellow Zambians, what could be more criminal than a government purportedly elected on a “propoor agenda” to protect the interests and welfare of the common man; now openly waging war against its own people, by defrauding them of their hard earned money with such unrepentant impunity?!!
In September of 2019, we were all treated to a startling and yet expected revelation, that the Patriotic Front (PF) regime had deducted from teachers’ salaries, but failed to remit close to K420m or $26m to various microfinancing institutions, among them Bayport Financial Services, in respect of loan facilities issued to members of the teaching fraternity.
Today, this amount is thought to be in excess of $300m of money illegally taken from civil servants by the PF. If you add penalty and other default charges to the amount is an aggregate $525m to date.
Both the Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union (CSAWUZ) and Professional Teachers Union of Zambia (PROTUZ) have publicly spoken about this issue through their President and Secretary General, Mr. Davy Chiyobe and Mr. Kangwa Musenge respectively.
It is worth noting, that due to a combination of poor conditions of service for teachers, as well as a severely deteriorating economy evidenced by the rising cost of living; up to 82% of teachers are known to be in debt. This is according to a study carried out by Two (2) University of Zambia scholars and published in the Zambia Teacher Magazine.
Some of the biggest concerns for teachers include the rising cost of housing, which is closely linked to the excessive commercialization of land underpinned by excessive corruption and collusion involving PF cadres and officials, as well as unscrupulous local council officials.
Teachers’ welfare is also threatened by the K7,300 per month cost of the Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket, which has pushed up to 80% of teachers to pick up a second job or business to supplement their small incomes. And this is beginning to threaten the quality and standard of learning in schools as more and more teachers are spending valuable time trying to dodge the bullet of a biting economy, in the process sacrificing education time for learners.
But while our teachers are scrapping for a basic living, the PF regime, in a quest to maintain their grip on political power, and having depleted all institutional resources, are now engaging in acts of blatant criminality by raiding the salaries of teachers for loan repayment deductions, which are however never remitted to the financial institutions.
The PF regime are now using teachers’ loan deductions to fund their political party activities, including training and arming militias to reign terror here at home against innocent citizens.
The PF have tried stealing social cash transfer funds to the tune of $4m just to fund their sadistic quest for power, but they were stopped in their tracks when cooperating partners refused to continue funding a social cash transfer scheme which had been taken over by criminal elements in the PF.
We are urging our teachers all across the country, through their union leadership, to take a bold stand and protect and defend and stand up against the criminal activities being perpetrated against their members.