NGOs Lead Budget Day Demonstrations at Parliament
Civil society groups will today hold their planned peaceful demonstrations at Parliament while Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe delivers the 2019 national budget.
Initial their plans were rejected by the police. However, following an appeal to Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo permission was granted.
Speaking on the protest, co-ordinator Laura Miti said:
“Citizens have been allowed to demonstrate at Parliament Minister Kampyongo overturns police denial on appeal. Now we must mobilise quickly. See you at Parliament with your placard. Peacefully we will be heard.”
Protestors are objecting to Government’s continued borrowing as concerns grow regarding the sustainability of the debt that has grown exponentially during the PF’s time in office. The move has received support from a number of opposition parties who claim that it is the ordinary citizens rather than those sitting comfortably in State House and parliament that are suffering the consequences of bad economic management.
Concerns have also been raised by the practice of contracting new loans without full parliamentary scrutiny and approval, with National Democratic Congress (NDC) National Secretary Mwenya Musenge stating: “As NDC, we are worried that the PF has continued contracting new loans without the full approval of parliament. In this regard, we urge the Attorney General who is the Chief Legal Advisor to Government to explain why Cabinet is abrogating the law with impunity over the contraction of loans.”
“In the midst of all this, we further demand that Government immediately stops contracting new loans. The NDC is also disappointed that President Edgar Lungu has allowed his salary and allowances to be increased. If Presided Lungu truly cares for his people, we urge him to reverse the hike this of his personal emoluments,” he added.