IF WE had to choose one word to describe President Hakainde Hichilema and his government so far, it would be “inconsistent”. Mr Hichilema’s leadership is very inconsistent and he is definitely not worth trusting. The President is playing the poor people of Zambia psychologically to hide his inconsistency. He is like someone nursing a wound while biting it.
We all heard the various promises of faith and commitment from Mr HH and the UPND during the 2021 campaigns to improve the living standards of the majority poor Zambians. He promised to reduce the cost of living, adding that no Zambian would go to sleep hungry. He said everyone would manage to have at least three meals a day. He promised to reduce the prices of goods and services, such as a 25kg bag of mealie meal from K150 to K50, and a 50kg bag of fertiliser, for example D compound, from an average of K600 to K200.
President Hichilema assured the people of Zambia about the availability of drugs in public hospitals, the creation of jobs, good working conditions of service, and said everything would be corruption free. He vehemently criticised former president Edgar Chagwa Lungu and his Patriotic Front government for living a life of luxury at the expense of suffering, poor Zambians, and assured people that under his government cabinet ministers and members of parliament would not need to drive expensive vehicles, citing the example of a VX.
Zambians trusted UPND because HH promised many things, but he and his government completely failed to deliver on the expectations when the time came. He has failed to walk the talk. What we see today is the cost of living being reduced on paper and in speeches, but in reality the cost of living is worsening daily. Contrary to three meals a day as per HH’s promise, many Zambian families are now struggling to eat just one meal per day. Due to the skyrocketing prices of goods and services, especially food staples, many poor Zambians have been exposed to malnutrition and diseases and are dying prematurely. Shortages of essential medicines in public hospitals have continued to affect our people, who cannot afford to go to private hospitals or buy drugs. The only thing they get from government hospitals is a prescription.
Today the UPND government is bragging about the employment of around 12,000 health workers and 30,000 teachers, and the provision of free education; things it has done because of the pressure of its many unfulfilled promises. Kudos for the employment of health workers, even though the question now is how these people are going to save lives when the equipment and drugs to do their work effectively are not there. As for the 30,000 teachers, any government can do that, but the question is, does the government have the financial capacity to recruit that number given the state of our economy? Where are they going to work since there are insufficient schools? The President and his finance minister have from time to time flown to the West to attend meetings, begging for the IMF to lend them money because they don’t have the financial capacity to run the country. It is unthinkable to employ civil servants with their benefits based on borrowed money. Zambians should prepare for more taxes.
President HH sir, the poor people of Zambia did not vote for you so you could fly to Western countries and other parts of the world at the expense of their taxpayers’ money to beg for investors, who mostly come and loot our minerals for peanuts and get the money Zambians should have been making. It is morally wrong for the UPND government to brag about a questionably reduced inflation rate by a single digit on paper when their people aren’t eating due to the high cost of living and others are dying because they cannot access adequate healthcare because of a lack of life-saving medicines in hospitals.