UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has told members that their party is not finished.
And Hichilema says UPND is ready to help the PF regime manage the economy.
Hichilema also says once in power, the UPND government would repossess all the land the Patriotic Front government has given to the Chinese.
He said “the PF government has seen 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.
Hichilema said Zambians had reached a level 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,” Hichilema said.
He called on party members to remain focused and not get distracted by PF manoeuvres.
On land, Hichilema said once UPND forms government it would give back to Zambians the land the PF regime had given to the Chinese.
He vowed not to allow the government displace the over 40,000 people in Dundumwezi and in other parts of Choma district.
“Once UPND forms 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.
Hichilema said the PF government had seen that Zambians were cowards, hence it was doing a lot of wrong things.
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 said culture and tradition was in people.
He wondered how culture could be promoted if citizens were displaced, leaving their traditional land and graves of their forefathers.
Hichilema urged all those threatened with displacement in Dundumwezi and part of Masuku area in Choma not to move out of their land.
He said 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.
And Hichilema maintained that only the three church mother bodies had the capacity to lead the dialogue process. He said the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue and other stakeholders should be participants.
“There is no serious dialogue that can take place without the involvement of the affected parties. So if PF and its allies are telling you that they will go ahead with dialogue process without the UPND, then who are they are going to talk to because it’s only us and few others who are affected by their brutality, lack of rule of law and independent electoral body, and their allies have no problem with that,” Hichilema said.
Meanwhile, Hichilema described the Mazabuka-Kafue road as a death trap.
He challenged those in control of public resources to serve the people diligently.
The opposition leader said 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.
Hichilema defended his civic leaders that challenges in delivery of their campaign promises was as a result of lack of control on resources.
He said once decentralisation was in place, civic leaders would control resources and make workable decisions.
Hichilema 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.
The UPND leader also accused the PF government of orchestrating the recall of the IMF resident representative to Zambia Dr Alfredo Baldini at such a crucial juncture for a programme.
He stated that given the precarious situation Zambia was in, “the sacrifices that the Zambian people will have to endure in order for the country to come out of the mess that the PF have created are bound to be heavy.”
“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].”
Hichilema stated that there seemed to be some coordination challenges among different government functionaries, which was worrying and sent wrong speculative signals to the international markets.
“Given the gravity of this matter, it is important that the PF government opens up to all stakeholders on its own platforms so that together we exhaustively explore and refine the possible solutions,” stated Hichilema. “The sacrifices that the Zambian people will have to endure in order for the country to come out of the mess that the PF have created are bound to be heavy; the least the PF government can do is to be accountable by initiating wide and genuinely inclusive consultations. Taking the people for granted by ignoring their wisdom, proposals and solutions will be folly for PF. Let them open up and actively seek the counsel of others.”