Power and Politics

President Hichilema’s special probe tribunal, a likely waste of time, resources —Green Party leader


Green Party leader, Peter Sinkamba, has called on President Hakainde Hichilema to prioritise economic collaboration with the opposition rather than using draconian laws and threats of imprisonment against them.

Sinkamba said that collective efforts could achieve more significant results than initiating a Commission of Inquiry into debts contracted by the previous of Patriotic Front (PF) government.

He made these remarks in a statement issued in Lusaka on Thursday, responding to President Hichilema’s announcement on setting up a tribunal to investigate debt contraction and other issues at a press conference.

He noted that the United Party for National Development (UPND) government had already commissioned private auditors in 2021 to audit the debt, with the Minister of Finance and National Planning publishing the list of creditors and amounts owed in newspapers.

“The public is not privy to the amounts paid to the auditors and other related expenses. The Auditor General also recently published a report on the same,” Sinkamba stated.

He highlighted that since 2021, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had conducted several missions, including assessments of external debt as part of their reviews, leading to successive staff-level agreements.

Sinkamba questioned whether the proposed inquiry would add any value to the already available public information on external debt or contribute to improving the Zambian economy.

Read More: Hichilema warns ex-President Lungu to ‘respect the law or be arrested’, says past leader enjoys no immunity

“From my experience with previous inquiries, it may produce a report that will be too embarrassing to release to the public, yet at great financial cost to the Republic,” he said.

Sinkamba urged the President to focus on pressing issues like food security, which required collective interventions from all sectors, including the opposition.

He criticized Hichilema for missing the opportunity to address critical issues such as the funds raised for the National Disaster and Emergency, and the alleged abduction of Petauke Central lawmaker Emmanuel Banda during the press conference.

“I expected the President to use the briefing to update the nation on how much out of the US$941 million has been sourced and to thank the donors or lenders that have contributed so far,” he stated.

Sinkamba also anticipated that Hichilema would reiterate the call for more support from local and international donors to ensure the target was achieved.

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