The National Democratic Congress NDC is amazingly shocked at the cost of foreign trips being undertaken by President Edgar Lungu.
The detailed dossier published by News Digger’s, a credible media outlet in their Wednesday edition on March 14 2018 highlighting glaring financial costs on Presidential visits can not pass without a comment.
Firstly, it is inconceivable that President Lungu has undertaken 55 foreign visits as Head of State since January 2015.
Arguably, this makes him one of the most traveled Presidents not only in Africa but around the world.
The justification by state house that the Presidential visits are meant at codifying Zambia’s bilateral and economic ties with various states is intact laughable.
The NDC has noted with regret that the Zambian Government spent over 17 million kwacha on the Presidents visit to New york in September 2015.
We are told by News Diggers through their source that this money was spent on luxury activities, dinner dance’s, walking safaris and shopping among other’s.
This one off expenditure is an insult to Zambians and to tax payers in particular.
It is unacceptable that Mr. Lungu could go to New York and spend such huge amounts of money dinning and having fun when the majority of our people live in extreme poverty.
It is unacceptable that Mr. Lungu spent such amounts of money on walking safaris and shopping when our hospitals have no drugs and when our youths have no tuition fees to pay in colleges and universities.
President Lungu has surely insulted the Zambian people by being inconsiderate to the many challenges that our comrades have had to endure on a daily basis.
Reading the Treasury cash flow dossier published by News diggers makes sad reading indeed and gives a clear picture that our beloved country has been auctioned by the pf regime.
As NDC, we are shocked that these entourages that the President moves with are not only bloated but surprisingly, pf carders are also being included on these not so worth while trips being done in the name of diplomacy.
To therefore say that President Lungu is a spendthrift is not an understatement or an insult. It is a fact and we as NDC have no apologies to say that our Head of state seems to have no agenda for his people.
The monies that President Lungu is wasting on these unproductive trips could be put to good use.
We wonder why Mr. Lungu can not take a leaf from the Presidents of Botswana and Tanzania who rarely fly out of their countries.
For instance, the President of Tanzania has been in office just well over two years and yet he has only travelled out of that country less than four times.
If Mr Lungu really care’s for his people, which we doubt he does, he should be reasonable in the decisions he makes. We pray to God as NDC that the almighty gives him wisdom not to be irrational.
It is evident that everything that the Head of State is being told by the opposition and NGOs is falling on deaf ears.
As NDC, we don’t blame Mr. Lungu for his extravagance. The truth is that the President has no proper handlers.
The persons handling the Presidency are questionable characters. These are characters who don’t not understand state craft. What can the likes of Kaizer Zulu advise the President?
In criticizing the many visits by Mr Lungu, it is naive that while Zambians are wallowing in poverty, the President sneaked out of the country over the long weekend to South Africa.
As NDC, we don’t want to get into the bee hives or details of the SA trip. State House should have indeed cancelled that social outing. What is plausible is that this ill timed outing comes at a time when the country has been told that Mr Lungu has cut down on foreign trips and will as such not travel at least this year.
As NDC, we are challenging State House to explain the relevance of the holiday the President had in South Africa. Who paid for it? Who did the President meet? And why didn’t he meet those he mingled with in that country here in Zambia?
The Presidents office is mute over the SA trip. There’s nothing home to write about. No wonder, his press Secretary was left home.
Mr. Lungu should not take the people of Zambia for a joke. The money that the President spent in five days in South Africa could have gone a long way. In looting these resources, let President Lungu think about the orphans the widows and the downtrodden in chawama compound.
When Guy Scott told this country prior to the 2015 Presidential by election, that Mr. Lungu was a wrong person for State house, we should have listened to him as a people.
The NDC is therefore challenging President Lungu to inform the nation how much he has spent on the 55 foreign trips in the last two Years.
We are aware that the President will address Parliament tomorrow. If indeed Mr Lungu knows the respect, envy and importance that his office carries on behalf of our people, we urge the President to change for the better and put Zambia as his number one agenda.
Issued by: Mwenya Musenge. General Secretary NDC.