UPND govt will not benefit leaders – HH

By Staff Reporter

Opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema says his government will not benefit leaders but the majority of the suffering Zambians.

Speaking when he featured on United Voice radio programme yesterday, Hichilema said it was impossible to attain maximum satisfaction when the majority could not afford basic needs such as food, shelter and clothes.

Hichilema said the UPND was not seeking political office for financial gain but to change the “bad environment” in the country which has made it difficult for “children to grow well” and for the “economy to thrive.”

On the need for humanity to promote social good and fight for the welfare of the needy in society, Hichilema referred to the Bible, Matthews 25:31-36 where the scripture talks of clothing the naked; feeding the hungry and visiting those in prison.

He stated that the provision of good quality leadership was the only way to end the current economic woes the country was currently experiencing.

“The UPND leadership will bring knowledge and experience on the table to build the country’s economy and fully manage citizens’ welfare,” said Hichilema.

He also appealed to President Edgar Lungu to question his conscious if his government had met people’s expectations since he took office.

Hichilema questioned why PF claimed that UPND was a regional party when almost all cabinet members in President Lungu’s Government were from selected provinces, an indication of entrenched divisions in the country.

He said the political, tribal, gender and ethnic divide that had engulfed the country since the PF assumed office in 2011 had reached unprecedented and acute levels.

He also said PF had deliberately re-enforced tribalism in order to destroy the fibre that bound the people.

Hichilema argued that “dismantling” the huge debt mountain that the PF had accumulated was the only solution to economic sustainability.

He said the recent 4% salary increment for civil servants did not add value to the wellbeing of workers in the country.

Hichilema said the widespread tribal talk being perpetuated was not good for the growth of the country.

He said tribal talk and debates would not add value to lives of Zambians, let alone put food on their tables, stating that Zambians were one people irrespective of their tribe.

“We marry, we worship at same churches and we sing together in the choir. So this tribal talk does not add value to the wellbeing of our people, it also doesn’t put food on our table,” he said.

The UPND leader said the recent liquidation of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) was as a result of the PF’s visionless and careless leadership.

“The Bible is very clear: “where there is no vision, people perish’* this is what is happening with the PF. Instead of putting Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) on receivership, they opted to put it on liquidation, which means selling all the assets of the company,” said Hichilema.

On the departure of GBM from the UPND, Hichilema thanked the former for serving the party and wished him well in his political endeavors as his decision was an exercise of his democratic right.

Hichilema said he, however opted to stay away from GBM’s alleged mission of “dismantling” the UPND which the beleaguered former Defence Minister embarked on shortly after resigning from the UPND for the PF.

He said the press briefing preceding GBM’s departure from the UPND at which he and GBM promised to “stick” together and serve Zambia should be left to the Zambian people to judge for themselves on who was being sincere between him and GBM.

On whether he was ready to offer technical advise to the PF over the economy, President Hichilema stated that the PF were not ready to listen to anybody.

“We have been trying to offer advise to the PF on how they could end the current economic malaise, but they are not ready to listen to us. Look at the closure of the Copperbelt University (CBU). We have been telling them that closing the university has a negative impact on the students, but they are not willing to listen.

He said the UPND will not discipline its MPs who attended the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) as the process was a “sham”.

On the guarantee on whether some UPND MPs would u-turn and support the NDF resolutions when it is tabled in Parliament, Hichilema stated that he was sure that no MP who was voted to protect the well-being of the people who voted for them shall vote in support of the NDF bill.

He said the only guarantee that he was sure of in the NDF Constitution Amendment process was between the MPs and their electorate.

He said the US$1.3 billion which the PF has set aside for the construction of the Lusaka/Ndola dual carriage way was “daylight” robbery from the people of Zambia.

He said the PF’s claims that it has created 2 million jobs was the irony in the economic downturns currently prevailing in the country.

“Where are the 2 million jobs that the PF is claiming to have created for the Zambian people in the wake of a struggling economy which has been growing at 2.9 per cent per annum? This does not add up , it is illogical?” Hichilema  stated.

He also called on Zambians to “take heart” and “not to lose hope” as their money was intact somewhere and that it would be reclaimed once the UPND formed Government soon.

On the upcoming Katuba parliamentary by-election, Hichilema expressed confidence that UPND would scoop the seat with a landslide victory.

He said a free, fair and credible election was paramount if elections results were to reflect the will of the electorates.

He called on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to “behave” and not be a source of conflict in the country through its partisan stance of handling elections in the country.

Hichilema said the UPND would soon be going for an elective general conference.

Meanwhile, Hichilema said UPND in government would strengthen the Financial Intelligence Centre and ensure that once the report is submitted it was forwarded to responsible institutions such as Drug Enforcement Commission, Anti- Corruption Commission for action.

He said UPND in government would run a policy of zero tolerance to Corruption without sacred cows.

Hichilema  said his government would not allow any ministers facing corruption charges like embattled Infrastructure Minister, Ronald Chitotela to continue serving in Government while investigations were ongoing.

He also said the UPND would embark on a countrywide provision of skills training to school leavers.

He said the UPND would ensure that it allocated land to Zambians wishing to venture into various businesses in accordance with the kind of business they wished to undertake.

Hichilema also pledged to look into the energy sector with diligence so as to end the widespread and perennial load shedding that the country had been facing for the past four years.