Fiscal conservatism is defined as “a political position that calls for lower levels of public spending, lower taxes and lower government debt.” Curbing government expenditure is important and should be part of any patriotic Zambian. We have had different administrations in our history who have failed at making intelligent expenditure decisions. How the government spends tax payer money is something that should concern every citizen. Hon Kambwili in an article suggested that we as citizens should NOT question the government; but the truth is that its our country and its our tax money. Unless we don’t pay the taxes, then we can keep quite. We has citizens have every right to ask our government to give us some rationality as to why they decided to spend the money that has been reported.
While these allegations can only be dismissed by the government when they present their expense report, Zambians should not be blamed for asking questions. $300, 000 is a lot of money for a country that is in debt and facing economic challenges. We as citizens have every right to ask why such an expenditure was needed; and its up to our government to give us leadership as well as transparency.
My position is that patriotic Zambians have every right to ask questions of their government and should not be silenced. Its not always what government does is in the interest of the people; and we have experienced this already. In the new world of social media, Zambians have an outlet to be vocal and express their views. Its a development to our civic engagement as Zambians; at any point when citizens ask questions democracy is growing. These are values that help sustain a country and that will allow our country to ensure that the right leaders are running the country; because we will hold them accountable.
If indeed its true that the government spent such an amount, then there has to be some form of rationalization that they should offer the public. A $300, 000 expenditure for a trip to the USA while the majority of Zambians are struggling and suffering is a difficult expenditure to justify for any well-meaning Zambian.
In his speech to parliament the president talked about a culture of frugality when he discussed the energy consumption in the country. The expenditure for the UN trip is not in line with the message that he gave to parliament and the Zambian people. Frugality should extend to all corners of society.
As a fiscal conservative, I’m certainly apprehensive at the thought that the government spent such an amount for the trip to the USA. But would also prefer that our leaders give us some rationalization for the financial cost of the trip. Besides, $300, 000 can help 3000 girls go to primary school at a cost of $100/per child/ per year; a far much more clairvoyant expenditure than a jet to the USA.
George N. Mtonga II
Atlanta, Georgia, USA