[By Chambwa Moonga in Mazabuka]
DEMOCRATIC Party president Harry Kalaba says the PF government is deliberately ostracising the people of Southern Province.
He has rallied people in Southern Province that: “atubelekele antoomwe (let’s work together)” to vote out the PF in 2021 for Zambia to have a “fresh breath.”
Kalaba observed that foreign donors had lost confidence in Zambia.
Kalaba was speaking on ‘The Debate’ programme on Wave FM radio in Mazabuka on Thursday.
27 minutes into the programme, there was a power outage that lasted many hours.
However, a stand-by generator for the radio station ‘gave a lifeline’ for the interview to continue.
Kalaba was accompanied to Mazabuka by DP national women chairperson Bridget Nkhoma, her deputy Marjory Mutakwa, Southern Province DP chairlady Gloria Mapani and the party’s Democratic National Committee (DNC) member Phillip Matavu.
The opposition leader reiterated that people in Southern Province were patently suffering.
He said the continued ban on movement of livestock, due to Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), in the province was aggravating social distress among the people.
“People can’t sell their animals here because of this ban which has been there for over a year now. When people can’t sell their cattle, it means their children can’t go to school,” Kalaba said.
“The government has consigned the people here to poverty. Truth be told; right now Southern Province is one of the provinces that is languishing heavily. That is why you see me coming here time and again because I have understood where the challenge is. The people of Southern Province have deliberately been ostracised, they are being put off the landmark because the PF want to paint the people of Southern Province as tribal people.”
He added that people in Southern Province were being labelled as tribal because most officials in the PF “don’t know history!”
“You can’t start segregating your own people! Atubelekele antoomwe (let’s work together). We want politicians to divide us! But this is a season of unity. It’s high time we held hands and supported Harry Kalaba and the Democratic Party to kick out the PF so that we can have a fresh breath in this country. The politics of today is just about division,” he said.
“We’ll insist on what makes us stronger and not what makes us weaker. We’ll insist on what takes us higher and not what takes us lower. This is the time for us to hold hands and agree that if we were divided in 1964 when we were fighting for our independence, we were not going to overcome the white minority grouping.”
Kalaba also indicated that without Zambia Sugar Company and some out-grower schemes operating, Mazabuka would have been a ghost town.
“When we form government in 2021, we would invest in value addition industries around the country,” Kalaba pledged.
He further complained about frequent power outages and promised that his government would explore other sources of power, alongside hydro power.
“Where we have reached, even if the PF bought houses for every prospective voter, they will tumble in 2021,” Kalaba said.
“Zambians have suffered. The price of a 25 kilogramme of mealie-meal now is K150. Who can afford that? I have come, like Nelson Mandela said in 1994 when he was going into the presidency; he said ‘I have come to liberate not only the oppressed but the oppressors as well.’ I have come with DP to help those who are victimised and those who are victimising others. Even those who are involved in corruption need repentance.”
Meanwhile, Kalaba said donor confidence in Zambia had dwindled.
“Donors have lost confidence in our economy! Everything in the economy is in free-fall – there is nothing that is sticking in this economy. Everybody is complaining, struggling,” Kalaba lamented.
“This country has just collapsed. Our children from here in Mazabuka are going to teacher training colleges but they can’t be deployed afterwards because the government doesn’t have money. Yet the same broke government has money to buy a jet for President Lungu to be travelling quickly, to have nice wine in that aircraft while the majority of our people continue wallowing in poverty.”
Kalaba and his entourage later met some DP supporters in Magoye Constituency, within Mazabuka district.