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Friday, September 3, 2021

The “Debt Swap” Initiative Is a Sham!

Columns The “Debt Swap” Initiative Is a Sham!

By Henry Kyambalesa

Patriotic Front (PF) officials will stop at nothing in their quest to extract votes from any and all segments of Zambian society. They have directly asked chieftains to endorse them. They have directly asked chieftains to persuade citizens in their areas of jurisdiction to support them. They have induced chieftains to support them through donations and gifts of bicycles and other articles of value.

They have handed out cash to individuals and groups of individual at political rallies. They have bribed Cheshire Homes with a bus. They have bribed Copperbelt University Students with a Higer Bus. And they have now introduced a “debt swap” scheme to extract votes from civil servants and their families.

With respect to gifts and donations, recipients should be aware that whatever they are receiving or have received could be plundered from public resources, or they could be sourced from individuals and/or groups of individual whose interests are at variant with the interests of our beloved country. The gifts and donations could also be sourced through “dirty money” obtained from drug trafficking, human smuggling and/or other illegal activities.

So, the “debt swap” initiative is clearly just one of the many schemes mooted by PF officials to sway the public’s attention from the ruling political party’s failure to address the numerous economic problems and crises which have overwhelmed ordinary citizens over the last 10 years.

It is essentially a charade introduced by the PF administration disguised or wrapped in the spirit of facilitating the cancellation of payroll loans owed to the government by any given civil servant in exchange for money owed to the civil servant by the government.

A civil servant may owe money to the government in the form of payroll loans obtained for such purposes as paying hospital fees, purchasing medicines, meeting a family’s subsistence or basic needs, catering for funeral expenses, paying school fees, acquiring an automobile, purchasing a plot of land, and/or purchasing a housing unit.

The government, on the other hand, may owe money to any given civil servant in the form of leave pay, settling-in allowance, long-service bonus, and so forth.

Realistically, the “debt swap” arrangement is neither useful nor beneficial for the following reasons:

(a) It is going to deprive civil servants of expected and budgeted-for income in the form of leave pay, settling-in allowance and/or long-service bonus which they desperately need for paying off loans secured from shylocks and settling other unpaid family expenses.

(b) “Debt swaps” are not a solution to the overwhelming hardships facing civil servants and their families due to insufficient wages and salaries.

(c) Civil servants constitute only a tiny fraction of the country’s 18 million people who have continued to endure unimaginable hardships and who have continued to expect the PF government to create the necessary economic conditions in which they can improve their own lives.

(d) The initiation of the “debt swap” scheme is a clear indication that the government is seriously in debt and is, therefore, incapable of paying the amounts owing to civil servants let alone meeting its other financial obligations. And

(e) “Debt forgiveness” would have been a more useful and beneficial arrangement because it would have provided a bit of relief to civil servants and their families especially if the government would have been in a position to promptly settle the amounts owed to them in the form of leave pay, settling-in allowance, long-service bonus, and so forth.

Instead of spending time, energy and resources strategising on how to extract votes from the citizenry through the “debt swap” arrangement and the showering of donations and gifts of cash, vehicles, bicycles, and mealie meal on chieftains and societal groups, PF officials should have directed their efforts at addressing the extraordinary hardships which have been facing the country and the common people over the last 10 years they have been in power.

The unemployment situation, for example, is not only heartbreaking but unimaginable. As Ambassador Emmanuel Mwamba has noted, only 900,000 people in a country of 18 or so million citizens are employed in the formal sector.

We urgently need a government that will create millions upon millions of jobs in order to give our fellow citizens the opportunity to earn a decent living. I suggested how this can be done in an article entitled “Good News for Zambians.”

In fact, the widespread violence in the country is partly a result of having millions of capable youth roaming the streets without jobs. As an age-old cliché advises us, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

To exaggerate somewhat, PF officials must have been on vacation over the last 10 years, caring less or not at all about the consistently declining economic conditions in the country. I am even reminded of the following excerpt from one of the reports by Social Watch cited by Bivan Saluseki, which accurately reflects the unimaginable situation in Zambia today as it was several years ago:

“Even though the country has not formally been at war since independence in 1964, prevailing conditions affecting human existence are equivalent to those in a country at war.”

There are, of course, some of our fellow citizens who are gullible enough to grant the PF another 5 years for it to waste merely because of the ruling political party’s stratagems like the “debt swap” scheme that is essentially a hoax, a deception, a transparent ruse.

The UPND Alliance is much more likely to reverse the current socioeconomic decay and backwardness and improve the socioeconomic vistas of our people over the next 5 years because its administration will draw from the knowledge, expertise and experience of leaders from members of the Alliance who, by and large, hail from the country’s 10 provinces. This is actually one of the most important strengths of the UPND Alliance.


  1. Henry your ugly face is the sham here. You disgust me and the country with your hate. You are a mere sadist who has failed in life and now spend your last sad days taking it out on the successful pf government. You ugliness on the outside is just as bad as your ugly personality. This is why your madam is being hamered by some young boy. You think we don’t know

  2. Look at the UK based troll/ impostor it can not counter Henry Kyambalesa article instead resorts to what it is good at name calling and profanity.
    N3z the c**n we know you have no affiliation to PF.

  3. I hear that moron Emmanuel Mwamba from Ethiopia and that bow tie wearing twit Anthony Mukwita from Germany are now in Lusaka helping out in PF media Dept

  4. If only you could listen to civil servants who have been living in debts, then you would realise it is not a sham as you think. One young man from the Copperbelt who had borrowed for car told me he was going to wake up as early as O4hrs August 12 to ensure he votes for ECL.

  5. If I don’t vote for pf, can I surely vote for you? Sorry from all your write ups I don’t see any alternatives apart from you highlighting what others have done either bad to you or good to me. T you seem to have passionate hate for people who think better than yourself.

  6. Dear Author, this is not even a sham but a scam. How long have they been in power to think of supporting civil servants in their year of exit as a government.

  7. Sit still and imagine having PF for another five years. Imagine exchange rate of Kwacha to dollar hitting over K30, even their scheme of flooding dollars into the market before elections is so cheap, and of course in their shallow thinking, they think Zambians are so dull. These are chaps who were handed a fairly decent economy by the MMD, reckless borrowing, coupled with extremely poor leadership here. And you hear them all these years like kids saying Climate change, drought,weather, HH, Covid. Leave us in peace, and I am not even UPND

  8. PF has just failed, if not, they were going to beat the economic stats left by the MMD but they have worsened – inflation, exchange rate, reserves, unemployment, price of mealie meal, shortage of drugs, If when removing the MMD Zambians wanted an improvement, but instead things have worsened how then should they even be on the ballot box

  9. Imagine by mistake I tuned into boring PFZNBC TV news, you should have seen how I dashed for my remote to remove the circus channel

  10. Henry Kyambalesa, your analysis is shallow and graded ‘ fail. ECL has doubled power generation [ by adding 1600 MW] and he intends to continue. That way more jobs are being created. Be honest with your earned knowledge and research the impact of Mines run by Zambians, cassava fuel strategy, construction of dams for irrigation, Increased cement production. You will definitely conclude that PF is forward looking. Henry Kyambalesa, as knowledgeable as you are, has it not occurred to you that ECL with respect to increased energy and commissioning Kazungula Bridge is bringing Zambian dreams to reality. When I look at the number of universities to day, I say PF keep it up. VOTE ECL and PF for a BETTER TOMORROW>.

  11. the observer – Did you not ask the young man how he was in debt when the govt was cutting his salary before he got hold of his money? You should be asking the right questions

  12. This face on the above article…awe ningachimwe….let me not say much…but mphuno chabe…oxygen guzzler

  13. what about the civil servants who had not borrowed? what about the retirees? if you are not unjust hypocrites what do you have for them for their take? As for you kaizer a satanic mwankole sin / injustice is your food

  14. Number 13: What you have described about the author is not sincere. Check the facial features of the family of Chieftainess Nkomesha Mukamambo (II) of the Busoli Royal Establishment of Chongwe district. You have just insulted them; you should, therefore, never step your dirty feet in their chiefdom.

  15. What debt swap is only sham in Upnd strongholds. So these guys they enjoy it when people are having hard lives!!!! That’s why you are a party of sadist and Satanist!!!!

  16. How is this a sham? You refuse to accept that PF has played a trump card that will obviously win them a lot of votes. Who would refuse free money in this economy. The civil servants know that if PF loses, the debt swap will be scrapped by HH and his masters who want to keep people in perpetual servitude. This is not a sham but a very timely and cunningly smooth political manouvre by ECL and his camp. VIVA ECL!!

  17. KZ: The picture you attach to your comments looks like that of a person who has suffered from Kwashiorkor and Marasmus or any other form(s) of malnutrition. Or maybe your stunted looks are inherited from your parents. Anyway, let me not be petty because, truly, you’ve had no control over the conditions surrounding your birth and upbringing. It would, however, be nice for you to comment on issues raised in the news story. I’ll try to do exactly that in my next comment. I guess that is what civilized people do. I do not mean you are uncivilized; but your comments border on the possibility that you, like Chishimba Kambwili, could merely be projecting the nasty experiences you have encountered in your life on others. Cheerio!

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