United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema has accused the Patriotic Front of using some Members of Parliament (MPs) to demand an increase in their salaries.
And Mr Hichilema has said that he would not repossess President Sata’s retirement house currently under construction but that the Head of State would be the last to have a retirement house built for because the UPND in government would abolish the law.
Mr Hichilema has said that it was a ploy by the Patriotic Front (PF) to have the emoluments of President Michael Sata and his ministers increased after firing the more than 500 nurses who were demanding improved conditions of service.
He charged that the PF was using some MPs in the opposition to begin demanding increased salaries so that they could pave way for increasing the salary of President Sata whose pay in the last two years had been increased three times.
Mr Hichilema said at a media briefing in Lusaka that he had summoned his MPs and they had agreed to strongly oppose the demands by the Parliamentarians to have their salaries increased because Parliament was not a business venture for getting rich but meant to serve Zambians many of whom were living in poverty.
Mr Hichilema said the UPND did not agree with the MPs demanding more money from the limited national purse stating that the demands were extremely insensitive to the economic plight Zambians were going through under the PF.
He said being a councillor, MP, Minister and president did not mean getting richer but was meant to serve the people diligently, honestly and modestly.
Mr Hichilema said it was unfortunate that the PF had turned public offices in money making ventures.
He explained that it was not surprising that President Sata had embarked on the construction of his retirement house soon after getting into State House because the entire PF leadership was in government allegedly to loot and plunder because they were aware that their stay in government would never go beyond the first term.
He said he was aware that the MPs were under immense pressure from their constituencies and electorates but that this should not be translated into demanding for increased salaries.
Mr Hichilema said the best way to address the demands of the electorate in the constituencies was to increase the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which would improve the social services in the communities.
He said the voters were demanding for clean water, clinics, schools and other facilities that would improve their lives and that the current ceiling of the K1.3 million CDF was not enough to meet such needs.
The UPND leader also said the timing for the MPs’ demands for increased salaries was wrong because the Parliamentarians would soon be receiving their gratuity for the last two and half years they had served.
He said it was the expectation of his party that the MPs should be pushing for the reinstatement of the dismissed nurses as well as asking government to improve the conditions of service.
And Mr Hichilema said the UPND in government would ensure that retirement houses for late presidents Frederick Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa and immediate past president Rupiah Banda were built because President Sata had shown that he did not care about his predecessors.
Mr Hichilema said the UPND would not repossess Mr Sata’s retirement house because that would be treading on the vindictive path of the PF which had embarked on witch hunting soon after forming government.