THE opposition UPND has asked the ruling PF to explain what happened to the solar powered hammer mills it promised in the run-up to the 2016 general elections.
In a statement, UPND chairperson for mines and freedom fighters Percy Chanda said in the run-up to the polls, the PF claimed that it had acquired Chinese solar powered hammer mills that would help reduce the price of mealie-meal to as low as K35.
“And indeed a lot of borrowed money was spent on this project in buying these machines that have now turned into ‘white elephants’ and subsequently stripped for spare parts by PF cadres in the ‘ubomba mwibala alila mwibala’ PF culture, promoted by the great leader,” he stated.
“At the time, we advised our colleagues in the PF regime that you do not reduce mealie-meal prices by merely putting these milling plants without addressing the production side of the maize and other crops in the country.”
Chanda stated that the UPND advised the PF to address the high cost of fertiliser and other inputs as one sure way of reducing the cost of mealie-meal.
“[But] as usual they did not listen but took a politically expedient route at the expense of long-term measures we had proposed to them,” Chanda stated.
“Like in many other ill planned projects, they were basically climbing the tree from the top. PF are like a baby that wants to start running without crawling. Today the cost of mealie-meal is way too high because they never addressed the basic requirements that would yield more production.”
He added that his party had further warned the ruling party of the partial drought in the southern part of the country.
“What we know is that even in areas where the country received normal or even above normal rainfall, farmers never received fertiliser and other inputs under the failed and disastrous e-voucher and FISP programme,” stated Chanda.
“Had farmers in the areas that received normal rainfall received their inputs on time, they would have mitigated for the shortfall and produce even for export. The good harvest would have drastically reduced the price of mealie-meal than what was falsely anticipated from the fake and moribund Chinese powered solar powered hammer mills. This is what lies can do to a country.”