THE Patriotic Front has defended the country’s increasing debt, saying the borrowed funds have been used prudently.
And the PF has challenged UPND vice-president Geoffrey Mwamba and the opposition to “substantiate claims of corruption” against the ruling party’s leadership.
Reacting to Mwamba’s statement that President Edgar Lungu was to blame for the alarming levels of debt and corruption, PF deputy media director Antonio Mwanza said the debt everyone was condemning was used on various “prudent activities” which were benefiting Mwamba (popularly known as GBM) and other critics.
He cited the Link Zambia 8000 road project, new health posts and Zesco’s Kafue Gorge Lower project.
Mwanza further said “GBM should be thankful that there is a government that has built roads” for him to be able to make the money that he had today.
“GBM says the debt levels have gone high under President Lungu; doesn’t he realise that every country across the world owes? The United States of America has got a debt of $2.7 trillion. Mr GBM himself has a lot of debt which himself as an individual and companies which he has owe. And the debt that this country has contracted has been used prudently, the figures are there,” Mwanza said. “Take for instance the $750 million Euro bond; we spent $310 million on the Link Zambia 8000, we have tarred 537 kilometres of road, we have created 6000…from that project which GBM and his trucks are using. GBM’s trucks used to have problems with shocks, tyres because of potholes but thanks to President Edgar Lungu and the PF government and today he [Mwamba] can move those trucks without any problems because the roads are smooth. He should be thankful that there is a government that has built roads for him to be able to make the money which he has today. Those roads are from the debt that he is talking about.”
He further explained other expenditures from the Eurobonds.
“We spent $189 million plus an extra $69 million on Zesco’s Kafue Gorge Lower project and distribution of electricity for Zesco. Today, GBM can do the milling without any load-shedding, thanks to President Edgar Lungu and the Patriotic Front and the debt we got, that’s the reason today he has no load-shedding from the same debt he is talking about. He can go and watch ‘Chintobentobe’, he can go and watch ‘Kabanana’ because of Edgar Lungu who has provided electricity that he is using today. From the same debt he is talking about, there is no load-shedding,” Mwanza said.
He charged that GBM had nothing to tell the people of Zambia and advised him to concentrate on his ‘dead’ party the UPND.
Mwanza challenged the UPND vice-president to produce evidence of corruption on any PF official and take it to ACC.
“We have used $120 million to remove extra cargo from our roads to protect our roads and take to rail line so that we can have the state of the roads guaranteed, that’s the money from the debt. We have built 680 health posts, 271 of them are operational, we have built 39 district health hospitals and five have already been operationalized, we have upgraded colleges to universities: Mukuba College University, Palabana College to university, Nkrumah College to university – all these colleges have created space for people to go to school for GBM’s children and grandchildren to have accommodation and have a school where they can go to. They have created space for GBM’s children and relatives to get employed. This how we have used the money that we have borrowed, so I challenge GBM if he has got any evidence of corruption on anyone from the Patriotic Front to take it to the Anti-Corruption [Commission]. We know that the likes of GBM and others have nothing to say to the people of Zambia and the only thing they can do is to ride on the story of corruption,” he said. “…there is the Anti-Corruption Commission. It is mandated to investigate corrupt activities and there is no one from the PF who is appearing before the Anti-Corruption Commission for corruption allegation or corrupt activities. So when they say the PF is very corrupt, which PF is GBM referring to? The PF he was belonging to when he was in PF or which PF?”
Mwanza said the PF government had built more roads and schools than any other administration in Zambia’s history.
He further claimed that when the PF took office, the number of people in formal employment was below 600,000, but had since created over 730,000 more jobs.
Mwanza claimed that the total number of jobs created by the PF stood at 1.1 million in formal employment and over another million in the informal sector.