By Lloyd Himaambo
It is very unnecessary for President Rupiah Banda to go to South Africa to watch soccer.
It is a waste of time and national resources. President Band is currently in Mfuwe where he flew to immediately after landing from France. Trips like the one he undertook to France are relevant and in national interest because he was doing something sensible. But to go and watch soccer is being playful and wasteful. He is expected to fly to South Africa anytime. He might even fly direct from Mfuwe.
It is very expensive to the nation for the head of State to be travelling just to go and stand next to Sepp Blatter.
At a time when civil servants are complaining of poor conditions of service and delayed meager salaries, it is shocking that the little money in national coffers should be used to entertain leaders.
The money the presidential delegation will waste on this trip can be put to better usage such as paying nurses. After all there are only about seven thousand nurses on government payroll. And each is paid 1.5 million peanuts. That is only US$300 each.
We don’t know exactly how much the president and the mouths around him will consume during this trip but judging by the abusive nature and extravagance habits of African rulers, we can be sure that the bill will be huge.
The president might travel using his presidential challenger- it’s a helicopter in fact, but that thing does not run on water. It consumes a lot of gas. Besides, even where it will be packed there are daily charges to be paid by poor Zambian workers. And all this for our rulers to go and cheer foreign players. Whatever happened to national pride?
It is true that the world cup 2010 is a life time event in Africa. But this is not a good thing. The only reason the world cup may not come back to Africa in our life time is because shitholes like Zambia are too dirt to host the event. Only countries like South Africa and Egypt have the capacity to host the world cup had it not been for issues like terrorism.
Most African rulers are just interested in filling their pockets instead of developing their countries.
Why should the president be travelling back-to-back as if there are no problems to be attended at home. Zambia’s huge problems need a hands-on leader who is present. Zambia, the ninth African country to become politically independent is now one of the poorest nations on earth, though it was one of the richest in 1964. The reason of course is bad leadership.
President Banda has been in office less than two years, but he has flown out of the country close to 30 times. Is this really necessary? What is the real motivation of these numerous travels?
We do not have the actual figure but we know that the president gets a lot of money per day when he is out of the country.
We hear there is no limit to the amount he can carry. So his imprest carrier just moves about with a bag of foreign currency for them to dip in as they please.
His entourage members also get colossal sums of money each. We understand most members of the presidential entourage get at least US$350 a day each. This money does not include food and lodging. It is just payment for being outside the country. The air tickets, food and accommodation are paid separately.
Like said already, it is important for the president of Zambia to travel out of the country for important issues. But to go and play is unacceptable. Zambia can’t afford this kind wastefulness. This country deserves respect from its rulers.
Leaders are put in office to serve not to accumulate money though per diem. Let countries who can afford go and watch football. In Zambia we are too poor for such luxuries. We shall watch on TV. In fact at State House there are giant TV sets which are easy to watch even by people with short or long sight.
Let us learn to put our priorities right. It does not mean that when you are in charge you just do as you please. People in power must realize that their single decision affects millions of people.
In this case, we can save money which can then be channeled to needy areas of our society.
Executive decisions should be weighed against public interests and societal needs.
This country stinks of poverty. Every effort must be made to see to it that our little processed resources are put to proper use.