Posterity will judge Edgar Lungu as a President who caused the worst financial nightmare for Zambia, says Miles Sampa.
And Sampa says President Edgar Lungu does not love Zambians because if he did, he would not be borrowing on their behalf to the extent that he is.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Front leader says even if President Lungu changes the election date, the outcome of the polls will remain the same.
In an interview yesterday, Sampa said it was important for leaders to remember the poor all the time.
“Posterity will judge Edgar Lungu as a President who caused the worst financial and economic nightmare for Zambia. We are heading towards the Zimbabwe route and that is very near with these new borrowings. President Lungu possibly makes a good lawyer but not a good financial and economic leader,” Sampa said.
“The ordinary people have been forgotten by the PF leadership who are busy eating alone. They have suddenly become the apamwambas and you just need to look at some of their tummies now and compare to 2011. It is important that we leaders do not forget the poor and we must go where they are and not only during election time. It is said that the ladders we use to go to the top are the same ones that can bring us down.”
And Sampa, who is also the Orange Alliance leader, said President Lungu did not love Zambians.
“It is very clear that President Edgar Lungu does not love Zambians and their children because if he did, he would not be borrowing on their behalf to the extent that he is. Through the arrogance of numbers in Parliament, he is now going to callously borrow another K100 billion. We were told the Eurobond money was used on infrastructure and the same PF government have told us that the roads have been completed,” Sampa said in reaction to the raising of the external debt ceiling from K60 billion to K160 billion.
“So what is this appetite for new loans? Clearly it’s meant for consumption and other recurrent expenditure like remunerations and travels.”
He said it was imprudent for the government to continue borrowing when the country’s economy was at a level where paying back was impossible.
“The economy is already on its knees, why evoking measures that will make it worse? It’s like a patient in ICU nursing panga wounds, instead of the doctor prescribing healing medicine, he orders more cuts on the patient,” Sampa said.
“What will happen to such a patient is obvious. They will get worse or die. So in the context of our country, more borrowing will completely kill the Zambian economy.”
He warned that Zambia would soon be a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC).
“I have been very consistent against excessive borrowings and can safely predict that with these new loans they are now busy processing, the bank lending rate will get worse, inflation rate will increase beyond the current 22 per cent, the exchange rate will fall further, unemployment will increase as companies will now struggle and of course soon, Zambia will start to default on debt repayments,” Sampa said.
“But which lender will be ready to do that anyway? There is total chaos in this government now because nobody seems to care about the future of the country and its citizens. This country will again be a destination for vulture funds.”
Meanwhile, Sampa warned President Lungu against tampering with the election date.
“Edgar should be man enough and face the Zambian voters on the date enshrined in the Constitution which he proudly signed and that date is 11th August. Any schemes to delay the election will be a clear mutilation of his own Constitution. He should not delay the inevitable. In any case, even if it’s delayed by a month or three, the results will still be the same,” Sampa said.
He advised President Lungu to learn from former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan who lost the elections despite deferring the poll date.
“He should learn from former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan who recently tried to avert a looming defeat at the polls and postponed elections; where elections were eventually held three months past the original date, the loss was even bigger and he was knocked out in the first round by the current President Buhari. So let Edgar try postponing so that he gets embarrassed in defeat,” said Sampa.