PF leaders will end in grief – Kalaba

By Staff Reporter

Democratic Party 2021 presidential aspirant Harry Kalaba says the PF government’s recent hiking of the minimum wage for domestic workers is a laughable and populist decision that will lead to massive job losses.

And Kalaba says the time of reckoning for the corrupt PF leaders is coming because they have left a lot of footprints even in areas where they should not have stolen from.

Kalaba, the ruling party member of parliament for Bahati Constituency in Luapula Province and a former foreign affairs minister who resigned his position earlier this year on account of rampant corruption, said on Lusaka’s 5FM’s Burning Issue programme on Thursday that labour minister Joyce Nonde-Simukoko issued the minimum wage circular without thorough research.

He questioned the rationale behind the government’s decision to raise the minimum wage for domestic workers when they have not increased salaries for civil servants, most of whom also employ domestic workers.

“Minimum wage for domestic workers is laughable. How do you raise salaries for people you have not employed?” said Kalaba who described the Democratic Party (DP) as a pro-poor and progressive political party. “You take populist stances when you have bought fire-tenders at US$42 million. The domestic workers will start losing their jobs.”

He advised the PF leadership to be doing a lot of research on some of these issues.

“Don’t wake up and say ‘here is a circular, domestic workers will get this and that’,” Kalaba said. “For me when I become President, research and development will be paramount.”

Kalaba said Zambians have been given a raw deal in terms of leadership.

“We have played too much pettiness in this country. It is time to raise the bar,” he said. “Zambians have been given a raw deal. They have been given a blank cheque and it has bounced sir.”

Kalaba said it was time for fresh minds to take the reins of leadership and get rid of recycled politicians who have done the same things over and over again expecting to get different results.

“I will be very firm but fair because this country has been taken to the dogs for a long time,” said 42-year-old Kalaba. “We are going to behave like the Burkinabes during Thomas Sankara’s time when they started making their own clothes.”

He said Zambia was in a leadership crisis because of politicians that were only occupied with how and not why to win elections.

“Zambian people are saying ‘not any more’. We have played that game for a long time,” he said. “Your time is now, take it upon yourselves. Nobody will do  it for you. It is only you to liberate yourself.”

Kalaba said the 2021 general elections will be about the why question and not the how.

“This country is on a path of self-destruction because we have pontificated money too much,” Kalaba said. “Leaders should not like money so much. Money should be a by-product of whatever you have.”

And Kalaba said he was haunted whenever he went to sleep at the time he was in government because the Lungu-led PF had not delivered on what they promised the people of Zambia.

“If you have not delivered, why should you continue in office?” he explained his decision to leave his ministerial position. “You (PF) are saying that you are working. Show us where you have worked. Yes in some areas you have worked. For me I have seen the roads, but tell people the full story about those roads. Have you told people the full story? How you have been conniving to make money on the roads.”

He said most ministers in Lungu’s administration will end up in grief because they have grown big-headed and were leaving corruption footprints all over the place.

“It will not work. When your time is up, it is up,” Kalaba said of his former government peers. “They think just because they are ministers they can do anything. That is why some of them will end up in grief.”

And Kalaba, who described the 42 fire-tenders procured by the government at U$42 million as takatakas (wrecks), said he cannot stomach the fact that all those that were against Sata during his presidency were occupying the front table in the PF government now.

“Mr Sata in 2011 promised more money in people’s pockets, more jobs and less taxes but when he died that dream went away with him. We went the corporate model and the poor were forgotten,” he said. “That man (Sata) meant well for this country.”

On the DP’s legal issues, Kalaba, who was flanked by former Kabushi Heritage Party member of parliament Nedson Nzowa, expressed disappointment that some civil servants allowed themselves to be used by politicians.

“DP has to be supported. Their policies are pro-poor. They have taken progressive issues from all over the world and they have included them in their manifesto…I am very humbled by that invitation,” said Kalaba. “With or without the Democratic Party there is still light. First of all I would like to congratulate the Democratic Party for a well-fought fight. The DP has done a commendable job. But let me take my hat to the Judiciary.”