UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has made fresh calls on President Edgar Lungu to declare the country’s hunger situation a national emergency.
In a statement yesterday, Hichilema said this would help attract the much needed international support for food relief.
Hichilema asked President Lungu “to listen to voices of reason that are calling for an urgent declaration of hunger as a national emergency in order to attract the much needed international support for food relief.”
“The hunger situation which can largely be attributed to poor leadership and management is widespread in most of Zambia’s rural communities but acute in regions that experienced low rainfall,” Hichilema stated.
He said the areas which received adequate rains, starvation was stalking households because mealie meal prices were ranging between K120 to K144 per 25Kg which was beyond the reach of many poor citizens who were already burdened with unemployment, load shedding, high taxes, and unaffordable fuel costs.
Hichilema insisted that the hunger situation was a national disaster and no amount of self-denial by President Lungu and his friends in the PF would improve the provision of food, unless international support was officially sought for through the declaration of a national emergency.
Hichilema urged President Lungu to stop all maize exports to neighbouring countries and elsewhere until Zambia had enough stocks to guarantee food security for the people.
Hichilema also advised President Lungu to allow free movement of maize and mealie meal from surplus to deficit areas within the country saying the current restrictions appeared to favour certain business and political interests which was inappropriate and immoral.
“The PF should immediately implement the above measures in order to mitigate and lessen the hunger situation and the suffering of our people across the country,” he said.
Hichilema said when UPND is voted into office, it would ensure food security at all times, even during a drought.
“This we shall achieve by implementing proactive agriculture, energy and other sector related appropriate policies. It is troubling that the PF celebrates the culture of fire-fighting and prolonging suffering of our people in order to find ways of defrauding citizens and weaponising the hunger situation in the process,” he said.
“True leadership calls for love and affection for the people in need, not the hatred against fellow citizens we see and hear about every day from those occupying public office.”