Lungu is a tourist, his trips have no value to Zambians – Sacika.
SKETCHLEY Sacika says President Edgar Lungu has now become a tourist as his frequent international trips have no value to Zambians.
President Lungu is today scheduled to travel to South Africa, his latest trip abroad in less than 30 days.
He has so far been to Angola, Morocco, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea and Mauritius within a month.
“Like Rupiah Banda before him, President Edgar Lungu has become a tourist; the trips he is making outside the country are of no value to the people of Zambia,” Sacika, who once served as Secretary to the Cabinet, said in an interview.
“Maybe they are profitable to him as an individual. His making of these trips is an indication that he has no understanding or proper appreciation of the gravity of our economic situation.”
He said the falling Zambian economy was like “a fat man who needs to lose weight in order to stay alive”.
“The presidential trips outside the country are too expensive. When the President travels, he travels with security, general staff and sometimes uses the Challenger, which consumes a lot of fuel. Any trip he makes outside the country is very expensive in terms of what the people of Zambia can afford. It goes without saying that what he did by halving his salary is made up from the allowances he is making from these trips. President Lungu should begin to appreciate the economic situation in which our country is; Zambia is facing a crisis. He must, as Head of State, appreciate that we have a crisis in our country and because of that crisis, it’s necessary for the country to take certain measures,” Sacika said.
“Our economic position is that if we do not take drastic measures now, we may do irreparable damage to our country. My advice is that he should stop taking these frivolous trips outside the country.”
He urged President Lungu to reduce the size of his Cabinet, which he said was increased to accommodate his friends and PF supporters.
“He should reduce the size of his government, keeping 30 ministers in a country like Zambia is wasteful expenditure. He should also introduce public service reforms in order to reduce the size of administrative structures in the public service, including the army. We do not only have too many ministers but also too many permanent secretaries. We also have too many deputy permanent secretaries and too many people in our administrative super structure that are actually doing nothing,” Sacika said.
“He must understand that we are in a crisis and must show leadership in dealing with the problems that we have. He must not behave as though things are normal; they are not at all.”
He further noted that President Lungu was fooling Zambians when he recently decided to halve his salary because the act was a meaningless cost-saving measure.
“President Lungu is just fooling the people of Zambia. His decision to cut his salary by 50 per cent is meaningless and will have no impact whatsoever as an austerity measure. His Minister of Finance Felix Mutati has repeatedly pointed out and in fact warned that the Zambian government is spending money it does not have. In other words, the government is living beyond its means and because of this, an economic crisis has emerged in our country,” Sacika said.
“Government’s decision to go to the IMF is sufficient evidence that our country is in an economic crisis but President Lungu does not seem to appreciate the crisis. He recently increased the number of ministers from 24 to 30 and in the process created meaningless ministries merely to accommodate his friends and supporters.”
He said Mutati seemed to be failing to influence his President in the right direction.
“Mutati should be the first person to tell the President not to make unnecessary trips outside the country. Mutati should be the first person to tell the President that he must not create unnecessary ministries,” said Sacika.