CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) deputy spokesperson Frank Bwalya says assertions that the Presidential Initiative Empowerment Fund was a mere political gimmick with no future are baseless, as the fund is up and running.
Mr Bwalya said the empowerment programme is still active, and the patron is now Central Province permanent secretary Chanda Kabwe.
“The Initiative is supporting marketeers, but the problem we are facing right now is once you talk about empowerment, although you have made it very clear who are supposed to be the beneficiaries, other people will still complain of not being catered for because they all want to benefit from it,” he said.
Mr Bwalya said this on a Millennium Radio programme, The Interview.
He said there are a lot of people in need of the support but not all of them can benefit from the scheme simultaneously.
He said the initiative will continue running and benefiting the people it is targeted for because it was never meant to be a political gimmick, or a way of winning elections.
“At the end of the day, what we pray for as a party is that those who have benefitted from the initiative be it individuals, or groups, will pay back and comply with all the terms and conditions so that others can benefit as well,” Mr Bwalya said.
He said the commitment of the beneficiaries to pay back will even encourage the international community interested in empowering Zambians to confidently do so.
Mr Bwalya has also appealed to Zambians not to allow any individual or grouping to frustrate development.
Meanwhile, PF Lusaka provincial chairperson Kennedy Kamba has urged non-governmental organisations to take a non-partisan stand so that various political players appreciate their observations on the political scene.
“While as a party we continue to promote a free political dispensation where people and various organisations are free to responsibly express their political opinions, Zambians have, however, noticed the growing trend in the number of NGOs which are slowly beginning to operate like political parties,” Mr Kamba said.
But Transparency International Zambia executive director Wesley Chibamba in a statement issued in Lusaka, advised that the PF needs to learn to take advice and constructive criticism.