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Alba Iulia
Monday, November 29, 2021

A Government of Gluttony. Greed. Excessiveness. Poor Finishing

Columns A Government of Gluttony. Greed. Excessiveness. Poor Finishing

Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Minister Yamfwa Mukanga (left) addresses new Zambia Railways Board members at his office as the new Board Chairperson Davies Chama looks on in Lusaka
Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Minister Yamfwa Mukanga

By Hjoe Moono

‘Kuyamba vintu timayamba bwino manje Poor Finishing [PF]!’ goes Bob Mabege’s song of old. Indeed, Poor Finishing has been the characteristic of most, if not all of our past governments.

On Thursday [10th July 2013], the Post Newspaper carried a poignant article in praise of Uruguayan president, Jose Mujica who lives a humble and simple none-expensive life. Indeed, the Uruguay president has in some circles been called the Poorest President on Earth who lives at his farm house, and the only state security he has is a three legged dog running round his basic farm. Such humility. Such humane leadership. Such empathetic leadership surely deserves admiration, and I would echo the Post’s article’s message.

Listening to the Zambian parliament debate of Thursday, 10th July 2014 however, I got the shock of my life when I heard that K6.5Million (US$1.1 Million) was being spent on ‘renovating’ a ‘Presidential Lodge’ somewhere in Kitwe. The Minister of Works, Yamfwa Mukanga, who the President affectionately called a ‘fool’[Chipuba] over the delay in the renovation of the lodge, heavily defended government’s decision to allocate such an enormous amount of money, more than what has been allocated to the Ministry of Community Development, Mother & Child Health for health promotion for the year.

I have found it hard to fathom the government’s priorities here. Surely, we have mothers dying in child birth due to lack of funding for health care infrastructure. Our mothers and sisters are subjected to the lowest of health services in our hospitals, sleeping on floors in congested hospital wards with poor water and sanitary conditions, and yet, we have a government that justifies spending huge amounts of money, borrowed money for that matter, on prestige presidential lodges? Really? How does a sane person justify such a wasteful expenditure?

Mr. Sata is known not to spend nights out of his official residence at Nkwazi. For all I know, the only time he spends a night out of State House is when he is on Holiday in India, England, and Israel. At all state functions outside Lusaka, the presidential helicopter or the Challenger Jet is on hand to take him back to state house. So why does he need another presidential lodge in Kitwe to be renovated at such a huge cost? Has he run out of rooms at State House? What about the State Lodge in New Kasama in Lusaka, has it become too small for him too? What about the presidential lodge in Ndola? Or has his family grown over the last two years that he needs more rooms built for them using borrowed funds from the Euro bond, which we, the ordinary citizens have to pay through our nose when he has left government?

One of the PF’s early acts in government was to discredit and humiliate Rupiah Banda’s government which was purported to have planned to renovate state house. Mr. Sata was shown on national TV showing images of what would have been the new state house that Rupiah Banda was purportedly planning on building/renovating. But today, the same Mr. Sata and his government are justifying colossal expenditure on a similar venture, not in Lusaka, no, but in Kitwe, at an exorbitant cost. What a shame! What a waste!

Former Tourism Minister Catherine Namugala leads MMD women during the International Women's Day march past
FILE: Catherine Namugala

Hon. Catherine Namugala correctly and contextually pointed the poor prioritisation of the PF government: How do you set aside K6.5 million to renovate a presidential lodge YET only disburse K4 million for Child Health programmes under the Ministry of Community Development, Mother & Child Health? Is a luxury additional presidential lodge more important than the health and lives of women and children nationwide?

Clearly this is insanity at its peak! Or has Mr. Sata and his government been motivated by South Africa’s Jacob Zuma’s excessiveness on his Inkandla residence that they now wish to compete with him in excessiveness in lifestyle at the expense of national development? Perhaps they would do well to read the Post Newspaper’s editorial, and hopefully appreciate one or two things about humility and empathy in leadership as shown by the life of Uruguayan President Jose Mujica.

The excessiveness and gluttony of the PF is sentencing many of the Zambian citizenry to permanent ill health and death with its poor prioritisation. Just a stone throw away from the presidential lodge, you will see many orphaned children roaming the streets and sleeping under bridges and trenches, without any hope for the future, their livelihoods ignored, and cut off, by the gluttony and prestige lodges prioritisation of our leaders. Just stone throw away from the multi-million PF presidential lodge, many are living in small poorly constructed houses without water and sanitation facilities, yet, through their labour on the streets they have to fund, through heavy taxes, the ‘High Life’ that the PF leadership is living. Vanity!

At the University Teaching Hospital, it’s a poor and sorry sight: Congested Wards. Women and Children sleeping on the floor. People turned away due to lack of adequate bed spaces and medicines. Poor water and sanitary conditions in the wards. I see only misery. I see only sadness when I walk through our hospitals, where our leaders are too healthy & wealthy to get sick in [would rather embark on medical tourism adventures] YET, they are spending K6.5million on renovating a prestige lodge for the president, which he clearly does not even need, owing to the many that are already functional. All Vanity. Such Gluttony is repugnant and disappointing.

Just a few months ago, the Zambia Daily Mail carried a sarcastic attack on former defence Minister, GBM, through an emotionally driven editorial arguing that his purchasing of a car for his wife, using his private funds from his business, is wasteful and that the money would be better spent contributing to the health sector. I found this absurd, silly, and stupid, coming from a public newspaper in a government where K6.5million is being spent on a lodge, when the health sector would improve greatly even with just 10% of what is being wastefully spent on that lodge.

What is clear is that our leaders lack humility. Our leaders are not empathetic. Rather, they have now acquired higher levels of gluttony, new and sophisticated levels of excessiveness at the expense of nation building and development. There is no empathy nor regard for the lives of the many people that had high hopes and expectations in the PF leadership. Indeed, they started well, but now, they are Poor Finishers [PF].

The Post Newspaper’s editorial rightly observes: “What do we see among most of our leaders today? Entitlement. Arrogance. Pretension. Selfishness. Boastfulness. Vanity. Corruption. All these are found in abundance among our politicians today. And all these have contributed to bad policymaking, abuse of taxpayers’ money and all sorts of corrupt behaviour.”

Isn’t it strange that the government gets grants from Britain, Sweden, USA etc to help fund the health sector, YET the Zambian government has enough money, to the tune of K6.5million to renovate a presidential lodge?

This is Zambia, The Real Africa.

36 COMMENTS

    • That’s a vapid article Sata has the right to enjoy every entitlement his jobs comes with
      You Tonga Moono you mind is dense what a risible man.
      Publish such articles to your inane HH

    • @ Mushota/o

      Whilst enjoying the benefits of the job, what about paying back those benefits with hard work, honesty and openness?

    • The Presidential lodge is not for Sata or PF but for the presidency as an institution. Its been there since the KK days and will always be there after Sata and PF.

      If Moono cares to be objective, which I doubt, PF has invested in all those sectors you talking about and more is on the way.

      The only things thats a drain on the treasury is the presidential retirement home. That must be removed, scrapped immediately as it cant be sustained by our small economy.

    • @ Mushota you are right. Our beloved President deserves a palace in every town in Zambia so he can visit the people whenever he wants to. He is President of all of Zambia.

    • This Mushota is a maggot, he is paid to digest mafi. He is really weird. PF has no direction, a bunch of banana eating bats are better than them. and you cant notice

    • There is quite a list of expenditures that would be a relief for the people of this country if they were removed, such as: 1. the building of palaces for ex presidents, when not even a tent is given to other government workers on retirement; 2. the obscenely huge retirement packages for certain classes of judicial workers; expenditure on Chiefs and their palaces (a waste of resources, really).

      We must, however, recognize and concede that this kind of misdirected priority is not peculiar to the PF government but has been evident even in previous governments. A poor feature of many African governments which needs to change!

  1. How often do presidents leave in these Presidential lodges that would justify government spending so much on renovations? It also follows then that most likely monthly maintenace of this infrastracture will be high. I have a feeling someone in government will benefit from this via contracts, etc.

  2. in as much as I agree thatour leaders at times are greedy, there are many dynamics to governing a country, and some things are just out of your control, and in the end the ordinary citizen will never understand the reason but will always think of political greed and power.

    • @ The Matrix

      For you ordinary citizens are 5tupid?
      Personally, I think that you are either 5tupid, 1diot or uneducated jerk.
      Can you at least decide in which of these three categories you belong?

    • @142 ? in the words of the late president Mwanawasa, ”if you argue with a f001, people cant tell the diffrence”.

    • @ The Matrix

      Thank you for specifying that you are neither 5tupid, 1diot or uneducated jerk but just f00l in which case I do not want to argue with you.

  3. According to Appointed Hon. MP; SC and SG Kabimba this state of affairs is exclusively due to “external forces” which are meddling in the internal affairs of the Country.

  4. It is a sad episode in Zambian leaders who become so arrogant and insular with the people that put them in power to address their plight. There has been no exception from KK legacy though with a national building agenda unmatched to any other leader who has come after him, was equally arrogant towards the end of his rule. Come Chiluba was worse at betraying Zambians trust and confidence by focusing on his designer clothes and shoes to which he was convicted for here in UK and Switzerland. The shame of ‘brown’ evelopes justified by some politicians still living today. RB was busy building his business empire while at state house and in a ‘send a thief to catch a thief’ lost election to be exposed by Sata.Today we have Mr Sata’s insatiable gluttony that beats common sense of ‘Bamba…

  5. Cont’d.
    When we/I go to parliament in 2016 will work out and craft a bill to reduce presidential emoluments and claw back funds and assets acquired in the name of presidential emoluments such as building a retirement house before end of service. The law is clear on this, that is the reason KK, Chiluba, RB houses were not ready before retirements because some of these had stolen from Zambians and emoluments will have to be determined less what has been established by law to have been stolen. This thinking is world over and part of new thinking and new politics sharpening rule of law, accountability and good governance.

    • As Daniel Munkombwe said clearly “we are in Government to EAT”.

      NOT to do the job they are supposed to do, work for the people of Zambia. When are Zambians going to wake up? Holding office is not a licence to plunder State resources! Live a life of luxury. At the expense of the taxpayer.

      They must be charged for this abuse of Office.

  6. Why is this so-called Zambian Watch Dog hate our President; Michael Chilufya Sata so badly? Each time and every time I read this online tabloid, the stories are all about; “Ailing dictator SATA, SATA this, SATA that, we have been reliably informed that SATA this, SATA has collapsed, SATA that, SATA this”

    Iyeeee mwebantu?

    Are the owners of this tabloid Zambians really? To me it seems to this newspaper, there’s NO good news about Zambia anymore and since PF became a government.

    • Its HH campaign strategy,he is the one behind the rumours.The editors on ZWD are Lloyd Himmambo and clayson Hamasaaka sponsored by HH,Lloyd is also Wanzelu on this blog.

    • So you think that there’s NO good news about Zambia anymore and since PF became a government? Maybe that is because PF goverment is USELES gvt of F00LS.

      Now even a gvt with no President! 90 days presidential bye-election!

    • Is this a rhetorical question? Where is the Watchdog in this debate or are you under the influence of some psychotropic substance?

    • @9.1 ROBIN: Do you find it impossible NOT to mention HH. what has he got to do with Pathetic Fools??? We want an economist to run the country, not grade 2s

  7. when people pretend to care for the poor. insinuating that PF should instead of renovating state functionally buildings but feed the children of bauleni, Chipulukusu Sinia etc. Just wondering at whose pleasure are these children born? lets not be fooled even if HH, Nevers, Chipimo Jnr came they would like to have these state functionaries. the poor we shall always have. but lets improve social safety networks as a national and not encourage handouts. lets teach our people how to fish and not give them fish. I have no sympathy in article because our father died way back in 1975 when the youngest was only 6months. our mother worked as a clean in UTH but she took as all five to school. As I write the youngest is a medical doctor and all have managed life. teach those poor fellows to workhard

  8. African leaders always serve themselves first before anyone else no wonder the continent is is the least developed. All the money from the mineral wealth ends up in a few people’s pocket whilst the rest of population wallows in poverty. There are a few shinning examples though like Botswana who have a relatively transparent government and have a lot to show for their diamonds. It will take a bold,courageous and selfless leader to transform our country into an upper middle income country at least.

  9. The Kitwe presidential guest house was has been there since the colonial days when N.Rhodesia had a governor. KK used it in the UNIP days inspite of GRZ having control of ZCCM Nkana Division’s Nkana House where the President now sleeps/rests when in Kitwe. A trend started by late FTJ. Kitwe presidential guest house fell into disrepair under FTJ who had queer suspicions on anything left behind by KK. Remember how he and his ministers refused to fly on Nkwazi DC10 & instead flew on BA. This Nkana house is now owned/operated by Glencore’s Mopani Copper Mines whom we are quick to condemn for their under declaration of profits/ tax evasion and robbing Zambia/ZCCM-IH of the country’s mineral wealth.

  10. CONTD: If MCS and his ministers go to Kitwe and are accommodated at Glencore’s Nkana House Hjoe Moono will cry foul that they are compromised. Let the President & ministers & future ones for that matter FREE themselves from begging for bed & breakfast from mining investors. The cost of a COMPROMISED president, VP, ministers who are wined and dined in investors houses versus 6.6million ZMW for renovating this govt facility is much much higher. Mr Moono is being PENNY wise but a POUND FOOLISH! The colonial governor and KK were not self serving to have used this facility the understood the need to be UNCOMPROMISED

    • @Quest, yours is the only sensible and persuasive contribution on this issue so far!

      If these people, such as Hjoe Moono, who sell themselves as analysts (or whatever they consider themselves to be) on these blogs would do even just a 1/4 of the kind of THINKING and simple RESEARCH as done by ordinary bloggers like you @Quest, we would have a well informed and educated citizenry which in turn would positively affect the voting pattern in our country. But these SHALLOW and POINTLESS write-ups neither inform nor educate people a bit.

      And the kind of blind-loyalty exhibited by a certain section of individuals on these blogs towards EDITORIAL/JOURNALISTIC MEDIOCRITY, for as long as the story/writeup has a political angle to it, is frightening to say the least!

    • @Yamba Yamba: Many thanks. It is dissapointing to see the slow but sure slump of editorial policy at LT. Unresearched, emotiona, baised political outbursts are so frequent on this site that I rarely visit it these days. Mwebantu new media is more neutral/professional but they do not update their stories/articles quick enough!

  11. If MCS and his ministers go to Kitwe and are accommodated at Glencore’s Nkana House Hjoe Moono will cry foul that they are compromised. Let the President & ministers & future ones for that matter FREE themselves from begging for bed & breakfast from mining investors. The cost of a COMPROMISED president, VP, ministers who are wined and dined in investors houses versus 6.6million ZMW for renovating this govt facility is much much higher. Mr Moono is being PENNY wise but a POUND FOOLISH! The colonial governor and KK were not self serving to have used this facility the understood the need to be UNCOMPROMISED

  12. A friendly note to members of the “ruling” Poor Finishing (PF) party. If any of them (PF) are contemplating to re-contest for Parliamentary seats under the umbrella of the Poor Finishing party, they will all be heading for doom as the people of Zambia will never, ever, forgive them for having mishandled President Sata’s illness. This is a very strange Govt the World media has exposed for having CAGED their President so as to fraudulently amass wealth while the Cat is away nursing wounds afflicted by a stray monkey.

    News from an South African TV projects Kabimba telling the World that President Sata is well and working hard. Yet by 19.00 hrs ZNBC shamelessly runs a news item stating that President Sata is resurrection the Zambian economy through Facebook. WHAT A JOKE!

  13. Under circumstances when the PF Govt has a full Cabinet Minister in Charge of the Ministry of Information, it is strange that a Minister of Justice, Kabimba, is seen to take over the key role of Govt Spokesperson as per news cast by eNCA in South Africa. Is Dr Katema dead? Or since when did Sata fire Katema as Minister of Information to allow Kabimba run a MUPPET show?

    There is something seriously FISHY being enacted by Kabimba, Mmembe, Gorge Chellah and Guy Scott. Very soon the oil will float over the surface of the sea of deceit.

  14. Ironically all city councils in the country are all allocated a pantry budget of K10m…really laughable indeed.

  15. This is cheap campaign. I think PF has, so far, done well. We are seeing where our money is going. No other government has tried to develop this beautiful country like this government. I do not see any greediness, gluttony or whatever the other word is………happening in this government. They may do it, but it’s not as evident as the previous govts. Facts are facts

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