POVERTY is not power, says chief Hamusonde.
And chief Chikanta of Kalomo says the high levels of unemployment force youths to be easily used by politicians to engage in political violence.
In an interview, Hamusonde of Bweengwa said he does not know what Zambians should be happy for during public holidays.
“The writing is so clear on the wall that Zambians are suffering miserably. There is too much poverty, the unemployment levels are so scaring that one wonders what our forefathers fought the Britons for,” he said. “If most of them were to wake up today, they would say ‘please let the Brits come back’. Our politicians keep on saying that power belongs to the people, this is a fallacy because you cannot have power when you are hungry. Poverty is not power and it will never be.”
Hamusonde said it was better for youths to be at home during the Youth Day commemorations because there was no food, employment or empowerment for them to be happy.
He said the PF government had neglected vital areas that were supposed to provide Zambians with sustainability such as the agriculture sector and small-scale mining.
Hamusonde noted that a lot of youths were roaming the streets hence an increase in crime and abuse of substances such as alcohol and drugs.
“You cannot have a sane youth generation under high levels of unemployment, you can’t have a sane youth under high levels of poverty,” he said. “Education is a far-fetched dream for most of the youths because their parents cannot afford to pay fees. Worse still, you have a government that takes away food from a university student. What do
you want that student to do? If she is female then expect her to engage in illicit sexual activities for her to be able to eat, expect her to be a university sex worker, and if it is a young man, then expect him to engage in dubious things such as drug trafficking and crime. I pity the youths because they have been forced through circumstances which they can’t control to be under the PF government.”
Hamusonde wondered what pleased the youths during the Youth Day commemoration.
“I wondered if the youths had even eaten before they went to celebrate their day. Do they have three meals per day? Happiness only comes when you have fed and you know where the next meal is going to come from and that you will actually eat,” he said. “You can’t enjoy yourself when you are hungry. Poverty will never make one happy. Are you enjoying with your family? I doubt it because there is too much hunger in the country. I
personally have nothing to eat, and I fear for next year because our crops are dying. It is actually ‘October’ here in Monze, the heat is unbearable.” Hamusonde observed that foreigners were able to buy Zambian products, especially Zimbabweans when locals were unable.
He also said there was too much corruption in government which had led to Zambians into abject poverty.
“When corruption thrives, the poor people erode into poverty,” said Hamusonde.
Meanwhile, Chikanta appealed to the government to create an initiative such as Farmer Input Support Programme to enable youths become entrepreneurs.
“We have a lot of youths who have completed Grade 12, university and college education who are roaming the streets because they are looking
for white collar jobs,” he said. “I would encourage them to start looking at entrepreneurship. Government should create schemes for them like it has done for farmers under the FISP arrangement, that will be able to cushion the youth unemployment levels.”
Chikanta said youths engage in vices such as alcohol and drug abuse because there was no hope for white-collar jobs.
“This leads them to be easily used by politicians to engage in political violence because they have nothing to do,” said Chikanta.