Purchase of a Presidential private jet smells of corruption – HH
By Staff Reporter
Opposition United Party for National Development says the pursuit for luxuries by the Patriotic Front Party (PF’s) when the country’s economy is in dire straits is beyond belief.
And Hakainde Hichilema disclosed that over 30,000 students at University of Zambia and Copperbelt University would have been offered bursaries up to completion of their four year degree programmes with the money used to purchase a presidential jet.
Party president Hakainde Hichilema in a statement on Wednesday said the purchase of a US$68 million, Gulfstream private jet was not only a misplaced priority but smells of corruption too.
Hichilema questioned how a serious government could opt for luxurious lives when the majority of the people did not have food in their homes, and children were out of schools as their parents could not afford school fees.
He said at the height of all such extravagance, hospitals and clinics did not have medicines while youths had no jobs.
“We want to put this into perspective. That amount of money PF is wasting could have paid for the over 22,000 students at UNZA for four years or pay for running costs of 60 hospitals of Ndola Central Hospital’s size, for a year. This is what we mean that this country can afford free education up to tertiary level and free health care. What we miss is a leadership that cares for its people and know how to prioritise. Those expensive pieces of equipment will also cost more to maintain and run,” said Hakainde
He said occupying public office did not mean plundering public resources at the expense of serving the people.
“We understand that corruption is embedded in the PF leadership, but we call on the country to detest this regime’s greedy and insatiable appetite for plundering public resources at the expense of poor people,” Hakainde said.
He warned that the private jet would never benefit the ordinary Zambians.
“And this time around, we say running a country must not be business as usual. This is the mathematics behind this wastage. A student at UNZA is paid K22.50 a day, they are in school for 258 days per year on average that works out to K5,805 a year and 23,220 for a four year programme, holding inflation constant. The cost of the Gulfstream is US$65 million or K767 million at K11.80 to a dollar. Meaning that the Gulfstream can pay bursaries for 33,031 students, that is UNZA and CBU combined for 4 years,” explained.