By Isaac Mwanza
I don’t like criticising leaders of both the ruling and opposition parties publicly but sometimes there is no option but to state the truth in the hope these leaders will appeal to their inner conscience to do the right thing in leading Zambia.
The decision by President Lungu and his Cabinet to spend K2 million to consult people from 30 districts over leaving the International Criminal Court (ICC) is coming at a time when Brexit and developments from the Trump administration pose uncertainties on the level of support that may be offered to countries like Zambia. Most other countries like Netherlands and Norway have already closed shop in Zambia.
What ought to worry President Lungu must be, how a country like Zambia will sustain provision of free essential drugs such as ARVs IF the Trump administration, for instance, decide to dramatically or decisively reduce funding to the Global Fund or end the PEPFAR programs. In any case, Trump and his colleagues may ask why they should use American taxpayers money in aid to Zambia when we can spend K2m on consultations about leaving the ICC.
If the Trump administration can be discussing the repeal of the Obamacare which will affect its own people, what guarantee is there that they may not abolish PEPFAR or the Millennium Challenge so he can use the money meant to purchase HIV treatment drugs to build the Wall? I am not suggesting its an option on the American table but we must think those routes.
I know this administration is not bothered about money, is not bothered about who gives us any support because the world is not short of vulture funds or lending institutions where we can borrow. Why on earth do you think Ministers like Sikazwe or Mubukwanu would care about how much debt they will leave behind? That would be expecting too much from them. What is disappointing is that we have young politicians like Kelvin Sampa, Kalalwe Mukosa, Honourable Tutwa Ngulube, Vincent Mwale, Bowman Lusambo who seem to be practising the same politics of “I don’t care attitude” so long as the party will adopt them again or the pay check will come. These young leaders, I expected would have played a key role in advising the tired minds like Ministers Sikazwe, Kapata, Luo on government priorities.
This administration is losing foresight by spending K2m on consultations over an issue that does not affect my grandmother in Kasenengwa or my friends at UNZA. I would rather we spent money consulting whether we really need or abolish that Constitutional Court of Zambia which my grandmother may have little knowledge of due to the incompetence it showed during the Presidential Petition than asking her about leaving the ICC which she won’t understand.
The issue of ICC has a direct bearing on Al Bashir and Zuma than it has on anyone of us. I would have understood if President Lungu got the money from Museveni, Mugabe, or Zuma to come spend on these consultations but to spend K2m from our own money for a non issue, I find it hard to understand.
So will anytime Zuma, Museveni, etc say we must leave such and such a body, my President will come spend money to show we doing something to heed to those calls? Why cant President Lungu spend that K2m to address real issues he addressed in his SONA than things they talked about at AU?
If there is a genuine need to get an endorsement of the Zambian people on the issue of the ICC, surely the President is empowered to call for a referendum on any question of such nature. So why didn’t President Lungu and his Cabinet not decided to use the K2m as part funding for the Referendum which we could have combined with the Referendum on the Bill of Rights?
President Lungu, Given Lubinda and the entire Cabinet that decided to spend K2m already have a predetermined outcome but want to legitimise what is already predetermined. Its either they will ask PF members from the branch to Provincial levels to submit in favour of leaving OR it’s possible the President doesn’t want to leave ICC but he has less courage to state this plain fact to his colleagues at that club called AU, so he wants to justify remaining with the report or apathy.
The morality of spending K2 million on a non-issue but expecting donor countries such as America, Britain, EU and other countries to keep providing aid is a wrong mentality African leaders must deal with if our countries are to enjoy the fruits of development. China has nothing to lose by giving Zambia money without thinking much about these issues so long the money ends up again in the Chinese banks.
While my view has been that African leaders must be matched with people like Trump at the helm of these donor countries, the biggest problem is that the net effect of decisions leaders like Trump may make on Africa will have little or zero-effect on African leaders than it would have on ordinary citizens like me. President Lungu or Kagame or Museveni will continue leading their lives unbothered and like nothing ever happened. That’s is what is happening in Palestine where little children are dying because of the Isreali bombings supported by our countries