Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda has justified president Michael Sata’s latest salary increments saying he is the lowest paid president in the SADC region.
But UPND President Hakainde Hichilema has expressed sadness at President Michael Sata’s greedines and selfishness in increasing his salary and that of his Ministers from above K350 000 (K350 000 000 million) to close to K500 000 (k500 000 000 million ) annually the third time in 2 yrs.
Speaking when he featured on Hot FM radio show this morning, Mr. Hichilema said it was highly immoral that in 2014 National Budget, PF proposed the freezing of salaries for 2 yrs for civil servants as well as freezing public service workers recruiltiment for 2 years upto 2016.
“This level of selfishnest and greedines has shocked many citizens considering that Council workers, midwives, nurses and pharmacists went on strike across the nation demanding for increased salaries but PF government did not do anything about it,” he said.
But Mr. Shamenda claims president Sata should catch-up with other SADC leaders in terms of salaries because he was the lowest paid.
Shamenda, who could not also compare the strength of other SADC economies such as Botswana, South Africa, Namibia with a much higher GDP and do not borrow like Zambia, told his sponsors at the Post newspaper that people should not scandalise Mr. Sata’s hefty salary because he is lowest paid in SADC.
Mr. Shamenda did also not explain why Mr. Sata in the past scandalised his predecessors like Rupiah Banda who he continuously condemned for attempting to increase their salaries, even when they were the least paid in the SADC region that time.
Shamenda said it was irresponsible for the UPND leader, Mr, Hichilema, to incite the public to rise against the government over Mr. Sata’s new salary increment, the third one since assuming office.
Shamenda also suggested that it was fine for Mr. Sata to catch-up in riches because he has led a humble and simple lifestyle all along unlike others who got their wealthy dubiously.
“People should be happy when we improve the living standards of others. Surely, in the world world today should we be proud that our president is the lowest paid in the region,” Shamenda is quoted in the Post newspaper.
But as an opposition leader, Mr. Sata cheated that he was not preocupied with wealth as his coming to power was for the poor, to make sure the people had food on the table, Zambians had jobs.
He cheated that he wanted to reduce traveling costs and put medicine in UTH so that no minister would have to go to South Africa for medication.
But now as president, Sata himself and his ministers are not only going for medication in South Africa, but they are treated in United Kingdom and India and there are no drugs in most hospitals such as ARVs and BCG for children.
Sata’s government has also removed key mealie meal and fuel subsidies that were cushioning the poor when it came to standard of living.