By JOHN SAKALA
UPND President Hakainde Hichilema says Kabwe is a strategic town which once served as the largest employer in Central province but has lost its status owing to the neglect under the PF regime leading to the closure of industries such as Mulungushi textiles.
Mr Hichilema who was speaking on Saturday when he appeared on “Question Time” program at KNC Television in Kabwe,said it was strange that Kabwe was on its deathbed with residents watching as those in government fail to provide any rescue plans.
In respect to the US $22 Million relief from China, the UPND leader gave an analogy to drive his point.
“If a thief steals your K1000 and without you knowing, the same thief helps you with K200 as a donation to enable you buy mealie meal, you would thank such a one.But when you realise that the donor was actually the thief who stole from you in the first place, then the donation or relief given would be a total mockery.That’s how the US $22 Million debt relief from China is,a mockery to the people of Zambia because China has taken more from this country through some contracts of more than US $778 million,” said Hichilema.
He said that the people of Zambia are now agreeable that PF is a failed project and it takes a vision which the PF do not have to turn around the current economic malaise accusing the Edgar Lungu regime of managing the country with a casino mentality.
“What the people of Zambia needed now was a “cat that will catch a mouse, not a black cat or white cat.” The country should not be left to be run by incompetent people and corrupt people. PF is corruption, and corruption is PF. How can PF prosecute people involved in corruption when the party and corruption are Mr & Mrs Corruption? Today there is a cabinet minister appointed by Mr Lungu who is still holding office despite facing corruption charges and the matter is in court.We have been vindicated, PF borrowed from expensive sources and worse still they borrowed for consumption. The lavish lifestyle we are seeing in PF is as a result of rampant theft, looting of our national reserve and corruption,”President Hichilema said.
With regards to the depature of former Vice President Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba to re-join PF, Mr Hichilema said it was GBM’s democractic right to take the route he took adding that it takes commitment and a balanced head to remain in the opposition and continue speaking for the suffering masses.
He emphasized that one’s heart should be in the right place always if one was to find fulfilment in servant leadership.
“It’s democracy, and in any political grouping some people get tired and drop off along the way.But when some people go,others others will join us and together we shall keep matching on until we liberate the people of Zambia,” insisted Hichilema.
Asked about the role of the Opposition Alliance at a time such as this, the UPND President said they collectively believed in re-uniting the country.
“We have joined hands as like minded people to make Zambia to a better place.The opposition alliance isn’t meant to put HH in power but stand ready to unite a country divided under PF’s poor leadership,” said Hichilema.
And on the agricultural front Mr Hichilema who is a successful rancher said the UPND had a duty to grow the agriculture sector and the agricultural value chain to better the lives of farmers and for job creation too.
Asked to state the position of the UPND on the National Dialogue Forum (NDF), President Hichilema said the NDF remains a shum even now insisting that “you don’t make a constitution through conscription.”
“The NDF was a PF driven agenda with the outcome already determined. The Chairperson was appointed by Mr Lungu who is a political competitor and his action lacked fairness.It’s like a game of soccer, Mr Lungu is playing number 9 and he is the referee at the same time.You think he can blow if he is in an offside but scoring position? The NDF was pre-determined and lacked credibility and fairness,” Hichilema said.
The proposal of a Coalition government in the NDF resolution is an admission that PF has lost popularity and want to stay in power through the back door via NDF doctored resolutions.
President Hichilema said the UPND is standing with the people of Zambia who want change of government by voting PF out and bringing in a fresh and vibrant leadership that understands how to run the country and appealed to independent Members of Parliament to partner with the UPND MPs and defeat the NDF bill when it comes to parliament.
And in responding to a caller who wanted to pull a tribal card by asking him to step down as UPND President, Mr Hichilema said, “tribalism stinks,” from whichever angle one looks at it adding that the people of Zambia were looking foward to credible leadership which the UPND is ready to offer and not tribe.
This is according to the media statement by UPND media team.