Macdonald Chipenzi questions Zambia’s AU bids
By Electoral Expert Macdonald Chipenzi,
I read with great interest and admiration the desire by Zambian government to get some seats at the AU which has led to the dispatch of close to five cabinet ministers who are currently criss-crossing the African continent lobbying for support from other African countries for support to its candidates Dr. Austin Sichinga and Albert Muchanga .
This is a move which is important but perhaps taken at a very very wrong time. Lobbying requires money and enough funds in dollars. Does Zambia have the dollars to embark on a massive campaign and lobby by January 2017 when this event takes place?
In a country in which the finance minister has publicly admitted the ailing economy and publicly informing citizens that the country will be, economic-wise, “walk a tight rope” and that the economy “needs recovery”, it is always amazing to see how these ministers have, from nowhere, managed to get the money to criss-across the continent of about 54 states. Was the minister of finance lying to the nation over the limping economy?
The question is, what is the role of ambassadors and high commissioners in these countries for the government to start sending such delegations to these countries and regions. I believe Zambia has envoys in East Africa where Vincent Mwale is lobbying, in West Africa where Dora Siliya is and other regions where Harry Kalaba and Given Lubinda are touring and also i believe the country has representatives at the AU.
What are they doing? Is this not duplicating jobs or show of no confidence in these ambassadors and High commissioners to these regions and countries?
With these ministers gallivanting Africa, at what cost to the tax payers are these trips gobbling the treasury and what are the benefits from these positions to Zambia? Is this a budgeted for Expenditure, more so, that the budget is being debated now in Parliament?
As a democratic country, the President should address the nation explaining the country’s desire to contest some of the positions at the AU elective Summit, the benefits the country will get and how much the campaign will gobble from the national treasury and what sectors are likely to suffer during this time of lobbying.
Alternatively, MPs should raise a point of Order to get a comprehensive statement from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Harry Kaaba. This helps reduce questions from citizens.