By Jeff Mbewe
We have often been confronted with a question, as to why the Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) bothers to formulate and present an alternative National Budget every year since the party’s formulation.
Many wonder and ask, “Why even bother to make an alternative National Budget which you know won’t be adopted and implemented by the government?”
For avoidance of doubt, let me point out that since its inception in 2016, PeP has developed three Alternative National Budgets as well as an Alternative Seventh National Development Plan (SNDP).
Other than PeP under President Sean Enock Tembo (SET), we know of late Anderson Kambela Mazoka as the only other opposition leader who formulated and presented an Alternative National Budget in 2003.
However, for us, the ultimate objective of undertaking these tasks has often times been consistently said by our party President.
We in PeP strongly believe that if we are going to offer ourselves to be considered by the Zambian people, to run the affairs of this nation through a PeP Government, then we must not only be ready but also willing to allow the Zambian people to scrutinize us and our plans for this nation.
This resolve finds expression in our core values comprising of Patriotism, Accountability, Competence and Courage.
We present ourselves to the people of Zambia as a capable party to provide leadership to oversee the affairs of the country.
How else do we guarantee that we are capable to govern, if we are unable to demonstrate now through formulating and presenting various policies such as a National Budget?
PeP is the only opposition party currently that is Competent and has the Courage to challenge the government of the day in some of its flaws.
By doing so, we give the people an opportunity to judge us as potential leaders. We are Accountable to the people!
We conduct politics of offering alternative solutions and NOT politics of opposing anything without any tangible solutions at hand.
I must hasten to say that we need not be in government to play a role in governance of the country as such; we remain open to the government of the day to consult us on what we propose in the various alternative policies.
Of course, government need not announce publicly that PeP has played a role.
We equally don’t mind not going public or ballistic about this because for us, we need not gain political mileage on the things required from us as Patriots.
This principle is borne out of our Patriotism as responsible citizens.
On October29, 2018, President Sean Enock Tembo presented our third Alternative National Budget for the year 2019.
A number of proposals were laid out, including the reasons why such must be adopted and implemented by government.
These proposals are made in consideration of the interests of our society now and in future.
Of importance is the fact that PeP would not borrow anything to finance its K86, 807,894,726 budget while in the Patriotic Front government, 66.4% of the same amount is made up of loans.
This is despite the fact that we are currently overburdened with debts.
PeP intends to raise the whole budgeted amount through domestic means.
This is very much possible and all ways through which this would be achieved have been explained in detail in the Alternative National Budget for the year 2019.
Once again, we are not good at climbing on anthills to shout blue murder and appear the loudest among other opposition parties yet without any alternative solutions worth talking about.
We are a solutions-driven party, ready to take over government and run it effortlessly competent!
The Author is Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) Media Director