Zambia Must Prosper (ZMP) has expressed its dismay at President Hakainde Hichilema’s consistent foreign travels, citing concerns about the financial implications for a country currently grappling with severe social and economic challenges.
In a statement issued by Trymore Mwenda, ZMP Presidential Spokesperson, the organization voiced disappointment that while leaders of neighboring countries facing similar financial difficulties are imposing travel bans to save resources, President Hichilema continues to embark on what ZMP considers to be fruitless foreign trips.
The recent trip to Germany, coming only days after the President’s return from Saudi Arabia, has sparked criticism from ZMP.
Mr. Mwenda urged President Hichilema to heed calls from various sections of Zambian society to curtail these costly foreign trips, emphasizing that such journeys only seem to benefit the President and his entourage through substantial allowances and private deals.
Mr. Mwenda emphasized that the funds expended on these foreign trips could be redirected to vital social and economic sectors, including agriculture, health, and education.
He expressed his discontent with the delayed disbursement of 2022 Constituency Development Funds (CDF) grants to some constituencies, pointing to the government’s apparent financial constraints.
Notably, Mr. Mwenda highlighted that despite challenges in funding essential programs, the government seemingly finds resources for the President’s extensive foreign travels, which have reportedly reached a record 64 trips.
ZMP, an organization with a critical stance against wasteful expenditure, vowed to continue condemning such practices and advocating for the prudent use of the country’s limited national resources.
Additionally, Trymore Mwenda hinted at future austerity measures, suggesting that if President Hichilema’s successor, President KBF, assumes office in 2026, there will be a strict implementation of measures aimed at uplifting the living standards of ordinary citizens and revamping the economy.
The ZMP Presidential Spokesperson urged other stakeholders to persist in holding the government accountable for the effective management of national affairs, particularly in times of economic uncertainty.