September Presidential Dinner In The USA: It will cost you 130 Bags Of Mealie Meal To Meet The President, writes George N. Mtonga.
The president of Zambia Edgar Chagwa Lungu will be attending the United Nations meetings this September.
During this time, PF USA, the branch of the Patriotic Front in the USA, will be hosting the president for dinner and below are the fees:
The first Tier Of Fees are:
$1000 with a processing fee of 39.95 = $1040 is the first tier of fees for the dinner. This gets you a seat closer to the president. Other than that, this fee can also feed 130 Zambian families for a month and can send 10 Zambian school girls to school for a year in primary school.
The Second Tier of Fees are:
Gold VIP which will costs you $500. That’s half of the Platinum VIP. At an 8ZMK to $1 exchange rate this is 4000ZMK; this again can assist a poor family send 5 girls to school for an entire year.
The Third Tier of fees is $300 (Silver). This again is money that can go a long way for a family. Finally the last tier of fees is Bronze which is at $200.
While I certainly understand there are costs associated with meeting the president, we have the Zambian Mission to the UN @ 237 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022 Tel: 212 888 5770 that we already pay rent for; so if the organizers used this venue they would cut on the costs of hosting the president which would eat away on the ticket pricing. If other items were needed, such as drinks and snacks, we would have justified at the most between $50 to $100 ticket pricing. This would have been ideal considering the economics of this situation.
The president of Zambia is coming to represent our country and give it its continued platform on international stage. In that same light, I would love to see our president also meet people who, without a doubt continue to carry the mantle of citizenry in this foreign land. I do not think the prices being advertised by PF USA should be tolerated by our president because they automatically alienate many of us who can’t afford. Accessibility to the leader of our country should not follow the same classism that is endemic to our larger society in Zambia. Zambia is not an aristocracy but a democracy.
The disparity between the rich and the poor (kwa and ku) continue to grow in economic life in Zambia, I do not think that this should also be reflected in the accessibility that we get for the men and women who are leading our country. All people, rich and poor, should receive an equitable access to the leaders who represent them. These outrageous, discriminatory prices do not serve the interest of a democratic society. If at all there should be a price to attend the event where people can meet the president, it should not discriminate against Zambians who may not afford the $1000. To many of us $1000 is one month rent, $500 will support a Zambian family in the USA with two months’ worth of food, $200 is the price of text books for a Zambian college student; all these people who may have an interest to attend the dinner won’t be able to do so because it is financially discriminatory. ONLY those KU will have access to him, and as a result we will continue to structurally disfranchise Zambian families who can’t buy their way to the political round table.
President Lungu, should not support this at all.
One Zambia, One Nation
George N. Mtonga II
Atlanta, Georgia USA