THE ruling PF says National Restoration Party president Elias Chipimo is a political nonentity who must spend time on forming his party’s branches and sections before presenting himself as a Republican presidential candidate. And PF deputy media director Antonio Mwanza has challenged UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa to tell Zambians the opposition party’s economic blueprint.
Chipimo was quoted in The Mast yesterday saying Zambians were desperate and that the PF government officials would have to “face our maker” over the iniquities they perpetrate on citizens.
“The PF promised things but when they came into power, things got worse! The PF has understood that the level of desperation in people is so high that they will take whatever little crams are dropped off the table of the corrupt,” noted Chipimo when he featured on Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy programme on Monday night.
“That’s why we are not going to kill corruption under PF, we are not going to deal with the problems of debts under PF, we are not going to deal with the problems of teenage pregnancies and teenage prostitution, which is now becoming prevalent, under PF.”
But Mwanza phoned The Mast to rebut Chipimo’s remarks.
He said it was difficult “to take Mr Chipimo seriously.”
“As far as Zambia is concerned, Mr Chipimo is totally a nonentity in politics; he has no impact whatsoever. He should concentrate on forming branches and sections for his political party before he presents himself as a presidential candidate,” Mwanza charged.
“From the elections that we have had, Mr Chipimo’s performances have been extremely dismal. NAREP does not exist anywhere, apart from on paper; they don’t have a councillor, they don’t have a member of parliament.”
Mwanza reiterated that in terms of infrastructure, the PF government had scored exceptionally well in the last eight years – “better than all governments in the history of this country. “
“We have performed exceptionally well! Remember, this is a political party that promised people jobs. We promised people that we’ll build hospitals, schools, colleges, universities. This is exactly what PF has done in the past eight years…” Mwanza highlighted.
“For the record, I want Mr Chipimo to go and check with the Ministry of Higher Education; he will find that in the last eight years, the Patriotic Front government has sponsored more than 30,000 students on government loans. We have built more universities than any other government in the history of this country. We have built more secondary schools than any other party in the history of this country. We have built more clinics and hospitals, we have built tarred roads to ease commerce.”
Mwanza added that the PF government pledged to offer affordable, accessible and quality education for all Zambians.
“The Ministry of General Education has just announced the directive lowering all user fees that our children are paying. We have reduced them (school fees) by over 50 per cent,” Mwanza noted.
“So, Mr Chipimo must raise real issues; he must not just be speaking because he has to speak. He must understand [that] he runs an NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation)! This is the reason Mr [Michael] Sata used to call these people as nashala neka (I’ve remained alone) and Under Five because they don’t speak to issues. Let Mr Chipimo bring out policy matters and not just waffling around!”
And on Mweetwa’s assertions, still in The Mast, that Zambians were expecting too much from an incompetent PF government, Mwanza responded that the UPND had no economic plan.
Mweetwa, who is Choma Central UPND member of parliament, said he could not blame PF government officials for Zambia’s current economic failure, charging that Zambians were demanding too much from an incompetent lot.
Mweetwa, however, said a UPND government would not turn Zambia into a heaven on earth, overnight.
Mweetwa was speaking on Muvi TV’s The Assignment programme on Sunday evening.
He explained that Zambians were now looking for a political party that, once in government, would stimulate economic change.
“Mweetwa must stop lying to people that the UPND has an economic plan. The UPND has failed to even revise its own manifesto which Anderson Mazoka drew up in 1998. Up to now, they are using an outdated manifesto of Mr Mazoka! The PF has improved its manifesto for 2011 to 2016 and its 2016 to 2021 manifesto. But the UPND only talks about the 10-point plan!” reacted Mwanza.
“I challenge Mweetwa to tell me what is contained in the 10-point plan. There is nothing! That plan just says ‘we’ll create jobs….’ [But] how? They must explain how they are going to create jobs. Anyone can say we are going to create jobs. This issue of having an opposition which just issues misguided, generalised statements is the same reason why UPND today has failed to rule. You can’t be talking about an economic plan which you don’t have!”