HH Promises Wide Reforms Under a UPND Government

UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has given a wide-ranging interview in which he assured Zambians that far from the party being finished it is actually ready to help the PF regime manage the economy.

Hichilema also said that once in power, the UPND government would repossess all the land the Patriotic Front government has given to the Chinese.  “The PF government thinks that Zambians are cowards, no wonder they are doing a lot of wrong things.”

Featuring on Choma Maanu radio station on Sunday, Hichilema said the losses the UPND was experiencing in by-elections did not mean the party was finished, rather that Zambians had reached a stage where they understood that by-elections did not change leadership hence they would rather vote in a general election where their participation had power to bring about change.

“If the PF think we are finished then why do they beat our people during election campaigns? Why are they so troubled with us? Why are they buying our people like tomatoes? Why should voting be about killing each other instead of choosing good leadership? People are not voting because they are discouraged by the lack of transparent electoral system and not that the UPND is finished,” He said.

On land, Hichilema said once the UPND forms the government it would give back to Zambians the land the PF regime had given to the Chinese.

He also vowed not to allow the government displace the over 40,000 people in Dundumwezi and in other parts of Choma district.  “Once the UPND forms the government, we will give back land to Zambians that the PF is grabbing from them in order to give the Chinese. As Zambians, we must fight for our land that the PF is giving to the Chinese because no Zambian will be given land in China,” Hichilema said.

He said through land grabbing, the PF was destroying agriculture to make Zambians poorer.  He said Zambians deserved good leadership that protected their land, improved road network as well as their livelihood.

“The PF is aware that there is a lot of money out of the land they are selling no wonder they are displacing Zambians to give the Chinese. They are selling your land so that they go and build outside the country, leaving you in poverty,” he said.

Hichilema said the countrywide land grabbing exercise was an indication that PF wanted to do away with chiefdoms.

He said chiefs should work with the UPND in protecting their ancestral land.

Hichilema urged all those threatened with displacement in Dundumwezi and part of Masuku area in Choma not to move out of their land and said that the UPND would take the matter to court.

He challenged chiefs Chikanta, Siachitema and Cooma to stand by the people affected and not to side with the government over tokens of money.

He further challenged those in control of public resources to serve the people diligently, saying that no sane Zambian would still argue that the PF had not destroyed the country.

Hichilema said Zambians had not yet attained freedom but promised that the UPND would liberate the country.

He urged mayors, council chairpersons and councillors to work for the people even under difficult situations.  He said once decentralisation was in place, civic leaders would control resources and make workable decisions, and he cautioned Zambians against embracing tribalism, adding that it was the reason the country ended up in wrong hands.

In a Facebook posting yesterday, Hichilema said the PF should open up and actively seek the counsel of others over the mess it had created in the economy.

“We are ready to help PF government manage the economy. We are now informed that reconciled debt as per MoF [Ministry of Finance] is US$15 billion, around 58 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Copper prices have cooled off, our economic growth has eased from the high seven per cent to under four per cent in the previous few years. The current account deficit is worsening while international reserves are dangerously low,” Hichilema stated. “Conversely, global conditions are not good – uncertainty in the EU fuelled by Brexit, trade war between USA and some major world economies. Now we are told the IMF has withdrawn its Resident Representative to Zambia.”

He stated that in the meantime, PF had been assuring the nation about the engagement with the International Monetary Fund for a $1.3 billion bailout “for the whole period they have been in government.”

“Does this development mean the intended programme with the IMF has been called off? Or will it delay the planned engagement with the IMF?” Hichilema asked. “What are the consequences of calling off or delaying these discussions, especially given that the first Eurobond ($750 million) is due for payment in 2022, second one ($1billion) is due in 2024 and third ($1.25 billion) is due between 2026 and 2027.”

Hichilema stated that there were too many questions the PF had not addressed.

“Can the government start to give clear direction or strategies on how it intends to take Zambia out of this mess? Is the Sinking Fund, which the government says it is still considering as a way to mobilise resources to pay off the first eurobond, really an option this late in the day? Or has the strategy changed to refinancing? If yes, who has been shortlisted as would-be refinancing lender? And at what cost will the refinancing come, especially given the current global economic conditions?” Hichilema questioned. “Despite the precarious situation Zambia is in, the PF government has orchestrated the recall of the IMF Resident Representative to Zambia at such a crucial juncture for a programme. They callously do so without a transition strategy or even a clear public statement on the state of affairs with the IMF, from the finance minister [Margaret Mwanakatwe].”

Source: The Mast

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