HIGHVIE Hamududu says the utter greed and incompetence of the PF government has now reached a disgusting level where they have to “call it a day and call for an early election”.
And Hamududu says the 2018 national budget is principally there to finance debts and pay wages.
Meanwhile, Hamududu, an economist, has noted that the intention by the government to sell 17.3 per cent of shares in the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines – Investments Holdings (ZCCM – IH) must go through a transparent process through the Lusaka Stock Exchange for all Zambians to buy shares in the mining industry.
Hamududu, the Party of National Unity (PNU) president, explained that the ineptitude and corruption that was playing in the government was compounding poverty among citizens.
“This is to express our disgust over the incompetence and corruption in the PF. Look, it’s raining now; they’ve messed up agriculture completely! First, it was the price of maize – complete mess and farmers are complaining. As if that is not enough, farmers have not started…their cards for the FISP (Farmer Input Support Programme)…This kind of incompetence is not good because it is just deepening poverty. I know that there has generally been incompetence but iyi yachilamo (this incompetence is just too much)! At the rate we are moving now, if they have failed to govern, let them pack and go – it’s as simple as that. We cannot continue on this path! Look at the education sector! It’s a mess. Amid this poverty, you increase fees at the University of Zambia yet the students are failing to pay the old fees. It’s unacceptable,”
Hamududu lamented in an interview.
“The level of incompetence has reached a level where it cannot be tolerated; it’s reached the extreme level and something drastic must be done. I have been in politics long enough and at the centre of it, we have had incompetence but this one is beyond levels Zambians can tolerate. The Zambian people are really in a dire stress; there is no money in the economy among the majority, the tenders are being enjoyed by a few, there is no inclusion. They are talking about not leaving anyone behind [but] they have left the majority behind and they continue to leave people behind. We cannot continue at this rate; poverty is deepening, unemployment is getting worse, income inequalities are getting worse because the economy is only working for a few. Agriculture keeps the hope for fighting poverty because agriculture employs over 60 per cent of our people. The floor price of maize is a trigger but with the K60 per 50 kg that the Food Reserve Agency gave farmers…”
He added that Zambia had now reached a level that no society could tolerate.
“The ordinary population is feeling hopeless,” Hamududu observed.
“The level of incompetence and the corruption has gone beyond levels that people can tolerate. This level of greed must be stopped! You cannot run a capitalist system and want to be more capitalist than the capitalists themselves! The majority of the people are living in poverty whilst a few elements who are well connected are swimming in money and thinking that they are clever. No, no, no!”
He further pointed out that a fair society where opportunities could be broad-based was necessary.
“We need a procurement system that works for everybody. Today if you go in the councils, you’ll find that a few people are enjoying the tenders in those councils. We are creating a society that is so greedy but we must stop this greed that is run by the bureaucrats. I’m telling you that people are feeling hopeless everywhere and it has reached a level where it cannot be tolerated. Something has to be done and if it has really become difficult for the PF to govern, they can call it a day. In other countries, when things are difficult, you just call it a day and go for an early election. You cannot tolerate this kind of greed and capitalism where the economy is basically being auctioned to foreigners. What do Zambians own? Land is owned by foreigners…”
“We cannot be working and preparing for a way for foreigners everywhere. There is enough money for everyone to get a bite but the type of the system that is there is only working for a few – it is the same chaps owning everything as if they’ve discovered something. This country has completely fallen into a wrong ideology of capitalism. You go to some of these countries that have succeeded; who owns their economies? It is the local people. I’m not against any honest foreigner in this country because they are part of the global economy but the Zambian people must be part of the story. But where you are just giving everything to foreigners and just getting commissions, then you are selling off the country. If the PF have failed to do things properly, let them call it a day and call for an early election.”
And Hamududu observed that it was unbelievable that 30 per cent of the country’s domestic resource would go towards payment of debts.
“So, payments of debts is now more than funding to agriculture and education. So, basically the budget is there to finance debts and pay wages – there’s no money to provide the services. When you go in the schools…I was meeting headmasters and they are literally asking parents in the communities to give money for buying chalk and teaching aids. The government is not giving money for teaching aids in the schools and yet officials in the Ministry of Education are busy going for workshops! Why are these chaps going for workshops when they can have workshops in the boardroom?”
On the issue of the government selling 17.3 per cent of its shares in ZCCM-IH, Hamududu indicated that the issue of selling shares to Zambians must be through the stock exchange.
On Friday, finance minister Felix Mutati announced in a ministerial statement to Parliament the sale of 17.3 per cent of government’s shares in the ZCCM-IH on the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE).
“[But] they must sell the ownership to Zambians because ZCCM-IH is holding shares on behalf of the Zambian people. If they want Zambians to own shares directly, then those shares must go through the stock exchange for all Zambians, not to some individuals. Shares must go through a transparent process through the stock exchange for all Zambians to buy shares in the mining industry. We are looking very carefully how it will be done,” said Hamududu.