[By Tobias Phiri and Ernest Chanda]

UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says President Edgar Lungu is underestimating the intelligence of Zambians by saying he has reduced his salary to cushion the economic hardships.

In a tweet commenting on the recent confirmation by the treasury that they had reduced salaries of permanent secretaries and other high ranking officials all the way to the President, Hichilema said corruption under the leadership of the PF had robbed Zambians more.

“They underestimate the intelligence of Zambians, reducing their salaries to ‘cushion’ the high cost of living but it comes nowhere close to the losses our treasury has incurred through corruption over the past 5 years. Zambians are not idiots,” Hichilema said.

President Edgar Lungu offered to have his salary reduced and directed that the same be done for high ranking government officials to cushion the hiked electricity tariffs and fuel prices, which pronouncement last year was received with mixed feelings by the general public.

On Friday evening, Cabinet announced that it had effected the reduction of salaries for President Edgar Lungu and other senior public officers.

In December last year, President Lungu announced a 15 to 20 per cent pay cut for himself and other senior government officials.

In a statement released Friday by his special assistant for press and public relations Isaac Chipampe, President Lungu said the decision was meant to cushion the impact on citizens resulting from increased electricity tariffs and fuel prices.

In December last year, government increased electricity tariffs by 200 per cent.

“I have shown the way and those willing to work with me should be ready to sacrifice,” stated President Lungu.


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