We don’t want deputy ministers, says NGOCC

We don’t want deputy ministers, says NGOCC.

NGOCC chairperson Sarah Longwe says they are totally opposed to the proposed reintroduction of deputy ministers.

And Longwe says the PF is full of irresponsible people who are not thinking of Zambians.

In an interview, Longwe said it was mischief for the Patriotic Front to propose amendments to the Republican Constitution to suit their selfish desires.

She questioned the PF’s urge to reinstate the deputy minister clause, which was removed, when the country needed to tighten its belts in addressing economic problems.

“We don’t want deputy ministers. This country cannot afford deputy ministers; we are supposed to tighten our belts, how can we allow the executive to be blown up to 60 plus people?” Longwe wondered.

“We wasted money like that and yet our social services like the education sector is suffering; teachers are not being paid [well], the schools are dilapidated, the hospitals are worse, the women are dying unnecessarily while giving birth to the next generation and there is hunger in the country.”

She called on Zambians not to condone the PF’s plot, adding that the civil society in the country was surprised that the ruling party desperately wanted to amend the constitution, which was only amended a few months ago at the expense of the social-economic challenges the nation was facing.

“As civil society, we are very surprised that the PF is bent on amending this Constitution, which they amended not less than a year ago. This is mischief because they are cherry-picking, they want to put back the things that give them more power for the abuse of our resources,” Longwe said.

She said she was disappointed that most PF members, who were calling for constitutional amendments, were merely after serving their own interests and not the people.

“So how can you go for measures that will blow up the budget? This is what we call as mischief because they are focusing on things that will make people suffer more. And it is not a long time ago that we rejected deputies, that we rejected ministers remaining in office after the dissolution of Parliament, we had put in amendments there earlier that we have people outside Parliament so that they stay on even after Parliament is dissolved and they only go after the new team has been put in place, that made sense,” Longwe said.

“They removed [the provision on] cabinet outside Parliament but maintained that ministers should stay on, which is obviously a lacuna, which has been kept on by cut and paste…”

She emphasised the need for the civil society to closely work with members of parliament in ensuring that the proposed constitutional amendments did not succeed.

“We have been peaceful, we have been suffering but yes, we have been having a say and have been working, but things have gone wrong because of mismanagement and now we are going to increase mismanagement of our resources, this is uncalled for,” Longwe added.

She said the PF members were being irresponsible in calling for immediate constitution amendments.

“The ruling party is being irresponsible, it is not thinking for the people, their welfare; they are just thinking of their own people. If you are a government, you are a government for all Zambians, not for just rewarding a few…give them positions in your party and your party can pay them, raise resources through your party and give people money through your party and not using the government, that is not fair,” said Longwe.