By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
The Patriotic Front (PF) says the FTJ Chiluba University issue in Luapula province is a ploy by the UPND Alliance government to divert people’s attention from real issues on the ground.
PF Acting Secretary General Member of Central Committe Nickson Chilangwa said the UPND wants to use the abandoned project to paint the PF as a corrupt party whilst promoting selfish agendas like what is going on the mining sector.
Speaking at a press briefing, Mr Chilangwa also that his role in the project was merely that of administrative because he was the sitting Provincial Minister as everything else was centrally done in Lusaka.
“It is no secret that successive governments had previously abandoned or suspended projects for various reasons and the FTJ Chiluba University is one of them, it should be in the public domain that a lot of projects that were below 80 per cent completion rate were suspended in under the PF rule but wondered why the party in government wants to indict the party on one project,” he said.
And, Mr Chilangwa has since urged journalists to probe the matter and find out whether the money for the FTJ Chiluba University was paid and to whom the money was paid.
“Honorable Charles Milupi sits with minister of finance Situmbeko Musokotwane, let him ask Mr Felix Mutati whether the money was paid because he because was our Finance Minister then,” he said.
And, former Minister of Higher Education Professor Nkandu Luo said the much talked about $33m for the FTJ University is a figure that was split between two universities, FTJ Chiluba University and the Northern University.
Prof Luo clarified that the money for the construction of the Universities was a loan from the Chinese government.
“If the then Minister of Finance was here, he would have given a proper explanation, government had decided to slow down on all pipeline projects because there were concerns that it had over borrowed. FTJ University was still a pipeline project because it was just at no more than 5 percent completion rate and that meant that it was affected by the decision by Cabinet to slow down on projects below 80 per cent,” she said.
She said the contractor who had already moved on site could not proceed because they were waiting for government to clear the position so that money could be released for the construction of the two universities..
“Once the project is approved, the necessary paperwork is done through the Ministry of Justice, the Attorney General’s office and the Ministry of Finance before the actual construction can begin,” she said.