Dear President Hakainde Hichilema,
APPRECIATE your availability to interact with the Zambians via live radio show. As a young politician, I am cognizant that in the end, such shows do not guarantee that you will interact with the ordinary Zambians for two reasons:
(i) The media team will provide an alternative number only to your praise singers who will shower you praises to propagate popularity.
(ii) In the unlikely event that the availed phone line will be used, it will be jammed to the frustration of many. Imagine 16 million users calling at once.
Thus, in no apparent order of importance, I pen to you these questions and observations for your attention.
1. To appreciate your promise on meritorious appointments, though it is your discretion I will appreciate the justification for not renewing ZRA Director Kingsley Chanda’s contract despite exceeding annual target with four months to spare? T
To the contrary, you rehired a BoZ governor who superintended over a failed fiscal policy that impacted the monetary side to see a US$ exchange rate at K23.
2. Further to this, is it a lack of merit that your cabinet currently has five females compared to nine of your predecessors and no single youth (aged below 36 years)?
To promote accountability through the separation of powers, you like many Zambians acknowledge that institutions like ACC, DEC and FIC were vulnerable to political interference particularly by the President – their appointing authority.
How does placing those institutions under State House make them less vulnerable? Further, how can the public rule out political witch hunt in every successful prosecution?
4. To curb corruption, the road construction industry must be among those on the watch list. Considering that the RDA is under your office as well as the ACC, DEC and FIC, doesn’t that give you leverage to “bite and blow?”
5. To promote transparency, there are whispers propagating the removal of immunity for your predecessor. Instead of targeting individual former presidents, kindly consider making it law that every outgoing president loses immunity automatically following handover of power. This is a recommendation I will be glad to see begin at the end of your tenure.
6. To curb borrowing, you categorically stated that there will be zero borrowing. Before the budget is even presented, the Minister of Finance has already contracted US$1.2 billion (subject to your confirmation) to build schools in Western Province, your stronghold. The repayment terms remain under the carpet apart from the 30-year repayment period. Does this mean, your stance on borrowing has changed?
7. Linked to the borrowing, would it not have been better to borrow for setting up industries to support the new Ministry of SME (which I think would suffice as a department under commerce)? Isn’t this borrowing for consumption just like you noted that people can’t eat roads?
8. As part of debt restructuring, government has entered into a Debt Service Sustainability Initiative (DSSI). My understanding is that the deadline for repaying the debt has been postponed which gives the government breathing space.
Knowing lenders make money based on duration of borrowing, how much extra interest are we paying for the breathing space? Further, how long is the duration of the breathing space? Assuming the breathing space is beyond your tenure, how then does the next generation hold you accountable seeing that some of the debts past governments signed for matured under PF tenure?
9. Regarding the upcoming budget, your ministers indicated that it will be a PF budget with a touch of UPND. In the past, we have been told that you always prepared an alternative budget.
Why are you not adopting the alternative budget so that any successes (failures alike) are not claimed to be from PF budget?
10. Lastly, out of the many tangibles unprecedented infrastructure developments under PF and ECL, which ones do you appreciate the most?
I look forward to your feedback,
GABRIEL ISAAC KIBOMBWE,
PF National Youth Secretary.