HARRY Kalaba says he is not in a hurry to become Zambia’s President but that distressed Zambians are desperate to get out of the current social and economic situation.
He says before his resignation as a foreign affairs minister, he was strategically positioned to take over the leadership of the PF because he had won international support.
Kalaba, the Democratic Party (DP) 2021 presidential candidate, charged that Zambia could not wait to get out of the current situation.
Asked if he was in a hurry to become President of Zambia, Kalaba responded: “No! No! No!”
“In fact, I can even wait for the next 10 years or 15 years to be president. [But] it is Zambia that can’t wait; Zambia is in a hurry to get out of this situation, not me. Zambia is desperate to get out of the situation we are in,” Kalaba said when he featured on United Voice radio’s ‘Add your voice’ programme yesterday.
“The youths can’t wait, the taxi drivers can’t wait, the marketeers can’t wait, those who are finishing school but can’t find jobs can’t wait. So, it’s not even about me [but] them. Where you see me, I was foreign minister [and] today I can even apply to go and work in the United Nations….”
Reminded by the programme host, Patrick Nkama that he “travelled extensively, wined and dined with Presidents” and on whether that had any effect on him aspiring for the Republican presidency now, Kalaba answered that: “if that was the rub-on effect or if that was the issue, then I would have not resigned from the PF [government].”
“If there was anyone who was strategically positioned to take over or to lead the PF, it was myself. I had won international support; they know me in the corridors of the international community and I was doing pretty well back home here in my constituency, Bahati. So, I was poised to do that [to lead the PF],” he explained.
He, however, indicated that there came a time in a person’s life when not only their comfort counted but also the comfort of many others.
“Where I come from they say ubukankala ubwakumupushi bwaliwamapo ukuchila ubukankala ubwakumubili (spiritual wealth is better than physical one). So, I would rather dine and wine with those that don’t have than be with those that have,” Kalaba said, further recalling that it was concern for the poor that heralded president Michael Sata to the presidency in 2011.
“He (Sata) had talked about lower taxes for Zambians, he had talked about more money in people’s pockets. But when president Sata died on October 28, 2014, may his soul rest in peace, we saw that there was an avalanche of all kinds of interests from all corners of this country. All those that had opposed his policies found a way to come to the fore.”
Meanwhile, Kalaba, who is Bahati PF member of parliament, said the governing PF “has now become a shell of itself.”
“There is no PF to talk about anymore! We betrayed the fundamentals on which we had started our journey,” said Kalaba.
“Most of the people in PF who want to be seen on TV every other day, they only came [to join the party] during the funeral of president Sata and they haven’t even taken time to understand the manifesto.”