Denmark's foreign affairs committee, Marion Pedersen, has challenged Rupiah
Banda to state categorically if his government doesn't need donor funds because
there are other countries in need of help.
And Magande observed that the
country was going nowhere under President Banda's leadership.
President Banda's assertions that nobody asked the donors to help Zambia in a
telephone interview from Denmark, Pedersen, who serves as a Danish member of
parliament on the Liberal Party, said money should not be given to those who did
not want it.
"I have always had that expression that we don't give money
to anybody who don't want it. And actually when we were talking with some of the
ministers, we asked them 'would you be better without our money?'
they said 'no, of course not, it's good," Pedersen said. "I mean if the
government don't want the money they should just say to us because there are a
lot of other countries who would like to have money."
Pedersen said there
was nothing wrong in donors questioning how donor money was being spent in
"Because it is Danish taxpayers' money and we have to answer to
them when they ask us 'what is our money spent for in Zimbabwe and in Zambia?'
We need to say 'well they are funds spent on this and that," Pedersen said. "And
therefore we have to check and if they are not spent the right way we need to
say to the Zambian government: 'This is not right. This is not what we have
intended this money to go to.'"
Pedersen said donors would continue
providing checks and balances on their money.
"As long as we are putting
the money into the country we will still continue to see what the money is spent
for. We have decided to spend the money on the people and not on government
officials or others," said Pedersen. "The money we are spending is tax money. So
we need to know it is going to the people and funds are making a difference for
And Magande expressed surprise with President Banda's
response to a simple question.
"He was asked a simple question 'Are we
doing the right thing?'. One would have expected him to say 'yes, we are, except
there are problems'. But then he picked a question which I think was raised by
one of the donors and say that 'the donors should not be involved in what we are
doing'," Magande said.
"It showed that he didn't seem to be aware of what
was happening. While he was away his own minister of works and supply Mike
Mulongoti, Secretary to the Treasury, the permanent secretary for works and
supply, the director for RDA Road Development Agency were all giving conflicting
statements to us the stakeholders to an extent where I think one of them
admitted that there are things which were not being done properly, for example
that there was in fact over-commitment of K1 trillion."
Magande said the
issues that were being raised by the donors were to do with Zambians
"And the minister of works and supply said 'yes, there
must have been because we have to make promises to Zambians for purposes of
being elected'. And obviously when you have a statement like that from a senior
minister of government you begin wondering what is happening in government,"
"In the road sector, under what we call Roadsip, it was
basically most of the donors who were supporting our development. In particular
I think that EU Ambassador was asking questions about the Zimba-Livingstone
road, and then the President says 'no, we didn't even call these people. We
don't even know why they are here'."
Magande said it was clear that
President Banda did not have grip on what was happening.
started in 2004. What happened, the EU had helped us with Kabwe-Kapiri Mposhi
road. When President Mwanawasa went to open that road that's when the Ambassador
then Mr Sprietsma said that 'in fact we have done this road cheaper and we have
a bit of money to spare'. So he asked to say 'can we use this money to complete
the Livingstone road?'" he narrated.
Magande explained that he then wrote
a letter to the EU asking that the money which was left over could be used to
complete the Zimba-Livingstone road.
He said it was now becoming evident
that there was lack of planning and control in government because President
Banda could not attack donors over a project that was started many years
"I would say that the statement was very, very un-diplomatic from
somebody who claims to have been a diplomat for a long time. Later on to say the
donors are here on their own, these are not like investors who come here like
those who go in the mines, who make a lot of money and take home," Magande said.
"The donor community is government…they are coming because we asked them to come
and help us. All these projects are being done under what is called Poverty
Reduction Budget Support programme. So even now the minister of finance must sit
with donors for them to indicate how much they are able to contribute to this
Budget which he is presenting in October."
Magande said with the
statement from President Banda he did not see how finance minister Dr Situmbeko
Musokotwane would convince the donors to help the country. He said in the 2009
Budget there was a deficit of K3 trillion which was supposed to come from the
"So if they don't bring this K3 trillion how are they going to do
our programmes? President Banda's inefficiency should not be blamed on the
donors. When we agreed to poverty reduction budget support when Zambia was
looking like it was under capable management there were conditions which we were
put under agreement," Magande said.
"We said we would be transparent, we
will be accountable and we will be effective and we will report to the
stakeholders on frequent basis on what was happening. And the stakeholders are
the civil society and the external financiers. What is he trying to say to us?
That donors should not ask simple questions like that asked by Ambassador Derek
Fee 'how come the first 30 kilometres of the Zimba-Livingstone road the prices
were low? Now on the 42 kilometres the prices are 100 per cent
Magande said the country was heading nowhere under President Banda
because citizens and donors were now not allowed to provide checks and
"So if citizens don't know where you are going, how do you say
you are heading somewhere?" asked Magande. "I can't even imagine that a young
person like the Vice-President George Kunda can join this chorus about
colonialism. He was nowhere near to be punished by the colonialists. Has he even
written a book on colonial behaviour?"
Magande said Vice-President Kunda
should have spent his time on the Copperbelt to address miners' complaints about
the conditions of services which had not improved after the so-called financial
crisis was over.