PRESIDENTIAL TRIPS ARE NOT FOR NEGOTIATING AND SECURING MOUs- IT’S A LIE
From the time that the New Dawn formed government, President Hakainde Hichilema has made many Presidential trips to different countries that have stressed our treasury even more. The justification has been that he goes out there to negotiate and sign various MOUs that are beneficial for the country. Well, this is very far from the truth and this is because of the following reasons.
1. Before MOUs are signed, they are taken to the Attorney General for vetting and approval. This AG approval is usually 5 days or so before the trip.
So it is not true that the President travels to Abu Dhabi for instance, to negotiate and secure these MOUs. There is no special negotiating skills of the President on that trip that brings into being these MOUs. The President and his praise singers should not, therefore, boast that these international trips are bearing fruit via the signing of MOUs. Those MOUs are negotiated long before the presidential trip; they are approved by AG before the trip.
2. The MOUs can still be signed even if the President is not there. Effectively, the President travels all the way to go and ‘tantamila’ and watch the signing of MOUs which are not even binding. Presidential travels are very expensive. We have ministers and Ambassadors in various countries, and so making the President to travel for things that are not even binding is not a prudent way to use our resources.
3. President HH had promised to reduce Presidential travels once he got into office and it is very disappointing to see him do the very opposite of what he promised. When President Magufuli promised to reduce Presidential travels in Tanzania and stuck to his words, we saw how much money their country saved and was able to invest in other sectors. If President HH does the same, we will certainly save a lot of money.
In conclusion, the country is in dire need of finding ways of saving money and one way that the President himself identified and promised to work on was reduction of presidential trips. So as we start 2023, we would like to remind him to remember his own words and stick to his promise so that he helps the country save the much needed money. Whether he goes on those trips or not, it has no bearing on the MOUs being signed, so Zambians should not be lied to about the Presidential negotiating skills that are needed and used on those trips, because no such a thing is needed at all. Everything is done right here in Zambia by the AG, unless the President is breaking the law to appear as ‘the Man.’