Mtolo Phiri




Mtolo Phiri should tame his arrogance and apologise for selling people’s maize!


Truth is always consistent and catches up even with the sweet-talkers, dribblers and the arrogant, hence the saying that, “You can run with a lie but you can’t hide from the truth. It will catch you.”

Somebody anonymous put it this way, “Yes. The truth told by victors prevails as the truth.
Can truth be hidden or suppressed? – Yes.
Can truth be hidden or suppressed for long: no. Point is, are people ready for that truth?

Duration of how long truth can be hidden depends on when majority of people become ready to accept and embrace it.”

In our case today, the truth we all knew and fears we had were finally confirmed at the knocking of the drought. The new dawn regime was warned and even beseeched not to sale our maize willy-nilly but to no avail. They chose to live the moment and cared less for future eventualities!

An Oromo proverb states that, “Choosing not to marry during the rainy season is your choice, but dying in the rainy season is God’s choice.”

Safety or happiness is not attained by chance but by choice. As John Mitchell aptly put it, “Our attitude towards life determines life’s attitude towards us.”

And that maize export galore has determined our fate, now we are begging the international community for food! This is what Lundazi

PF member of parliament Brenda Nyirenda is lamenting about. Debating President Hakainde Hichilema’s state of the nation address in parliament on Wednesday, Nyirenda said there is no human dignity in Zambia today.

“Zambia has been declared a hungry nation. When you move, you go into your constituency, calls which are coming, people who are visiting you, everyone is talking about hunger. Where have we gone wrong as a nation? What have we done wrong to end up to this level? We are checking the progress which has been made, where were we in 2021 and where are we today? Why should Zambia, honestly, get to the level of begging for food? What have we done wrong? We need to ask ourselves a question. This is not a question that begs an answer from the executive. It begs an answer from both the executive and us who are in the opposition,” she said. “The question that is there, did we offer enough checks and balances so that the Ministry of Agriculture could have done the correct thing? Did the government adhere to what the opposition was saying so that they could have averted this hunger which has come on us like a bandit, while we have to source for food from nations where we were exporting? Why were wrong policies being allowed on the floor of the House? Why did we allow exports as a country? It is wrong to rule a country in such a way. It is very wrong to take away food that belongs to your children and give it to others.”

Nyirenda said “never again should such a thing happen” as she suggested that the presidential speech should have “where apologies must be made that something has been done wrong.”

“Food was in… what happened? Why did the Ministry of Agriculture start exporting the food which we need so much today? It is very painful as a country that our dignity is now at stake. We cannot live in such a way and we are being called honourable members of parliament here? It is easy for us, we have eaten breakfast, they even called us for a break, and now we are going to have super where we are going. What about our people in the village? It is painful and such a thing should never happen again that you should take food, you go and sell it abroad and you start buying it at a higher price. Where is the dignity? For me, I find it very painful. I find it very painful that today we are a hungry nation,” Nyirenda said. “It is a shame on us that we are hungry, insala tayakwata umucinshi (there is no honour in hunger). If you are suffering, it is not healthy. The issue of hunger begs for a very good answer. We were called, we were voted for, we were brought into this House to defend this nation. We cannot allow ourselves to be hungry. It is painful to be hungry. We will not allow our people to be hungry because of wrong policies.”

Nyirenda added that Phiri made vows that “I am going to export all the maize! And here we are today.”

Phiri however stood on a point of order fuming that “I wish not to get into fights over maize.”

He pleaded with the Speaker to “please guide my friend (Nyirenda) not to debate like that.”

“Is she in order to engage me personally into a debate using my name to engage me into a debate which does not necessarily talk about hunger? Mr Speaker, may I be told if the maize that is so said to have been sold by me was paid for? I have indicated in this House that that maize was unpaid for,” he said. “We needed to sell it in order to pay for… the Minister of Finance is here. I went to his office so many times; [I asked] what about this maize? [He answered] sell the maize and pay the farmers. Is madam from Lundazi in order to honestly mislead herself… mislead members of the family of this chamber, the nation at large and the world that indeed we sold maize and now we are hungry? Is she in order to continue propagating something which is not necessary? Agriculture is a unifier. I wish not to debate in that way my dear sister, let’s debate properly. If I get emotional the way you are, we will confuse the world.”

Second deputy speaker Moses Moyo came to Phiri’s rescue telling Nyirenda to avoid personalising the debate.

“I think the honourable minister as he is executing his work, he is executing because he is duly in that office. As such, let us avoid personalising debate and also I think let us ensure that whatever we say is something that is truthful considering that the minister has been on the floor of the House and he mentioned how the purported exports were done and what led to that,” guided Moyo.

But Nyirenda said “the challenge which is there Mr Speaker is that when the opposition is trying to question some of the things, the executive must have bigger ears and a very small mouth so that whatever they say can sink in, and they can be able to digest it and later make good policies.”

We agree.

Mtolo and his boss must have bigger ears and a very small mouth so that whatever is said can sink in, and they can be able to digest it, and later make good policies. So far, the two have proved to have bigger mouths and small ears. And this uis not leadership at all! Wrong decisions were made and this regime must own up. They shouldn’t become emotional defending their mistakes and arrogance! Mtolo himself has proved to be very arrogant. During the first fertiliser procurement by the new dawn, President Hakainde Hichilema had to apologise on behalf of Mtolo. Where on earth would a boss apologise on behalf of his subordinate and that subordinate still chooses to remain arrogant? Mtolo’s arrogance is very annoying and he should never again dare defend it. We wish to remind him that our memories are not as short as his. We still remember every word he said on the floor of the House in defending his crazy maize exports, so why was he troubling Brenda on Friday? A normal person should just own up and apologise to the nation. Does Mtolo want his boss Hakainde to apologise again on his behalf? This is insolence of the worst kind.

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