[By Masuzyo Chakwe and Isaac Zulu]
THE UPND says it is frightening that Lusaka Province minister Bowman Lusambo thinks the ruling PF might be handing over power in 2040.
National youth chairman Likando Mufalali said it was not at the discretion of the PF to decide whether to hand over power or not.
Mufalali said Zambians would decide.
“Is Lusambo telling Zambians that even if they [PF] loses the next presidential and general elections, they will refuse to hand over power? We find such rhetoric not only to be cheap talk and propaganda, but an insult to the Zambian people who have been made to pay a heavy price for this government’s thievery and corruption,” he said.
He said the PF had subjected citizens to numerous economic challenges and untold suffering.
“We wonder whether Mr Lusambo is in his right frame of mind to assume that Zambians would give his regime the vote in 2021, up to 2040 when most of them cannot afford three square meals a day; when the majority of them can’t afford to send their children to school; when they can’t access good quality health care at public health centres; when most of them, from both rural areas and urban towns, don’t have access to clean drinking water and sanitary services,” he stated.
“Does Mr Lusambo think that Zambians would be duped into voting for a party that has no regard for human life, let alone for the supreme law of the land, the Republican Constitution? How could an individual who prides himself in having helped his regime to turn the economic fortunes of the country around lose sight of the fact that majority Zambian youths are out of employment and wallowing in wanton poverty and heaving frustration?”
Mufalali stated that the PF has turned itself into a government of the corrupt, for the corrupt, by the corrupt.
He stated that they were only interested in perpetuating their stay in office.
Mufalali stated that the suffering of the people was of little concern to them.
“They have enriched themselves in a very short time, in the process plunging the country into a sea of debt. Why would they want to continue ruling up to 2040? To plunge the country in further debt, to worsen the suffering of poor Zambians? The truth is that this country will find itself in the same economic situation as Zimbabwe if these ruthless, greedy individuals continue in office,” he stated.
“Why are they all talking about remaining in office indefinitely and not addressing the critical issues affecting Zambians. They should think of ways and means of fixing load-shedding and reducing power tariffs and fuel prices. They should think about addressing extreme poverty. While people are dying of hunger, the only thing Lusambo and his league can think about is staying on in power. What a shame! They have crippled the economy and plunged the country into chaos. The economy is at its lowest growth rate of 0.8 per annum (December 31st, 2019).”
Mufalali stated that questions that Lusambo and his cohorts should be ready to answer were how they intend to dismantle the insurmountable local and international debt, how they plan to restore the lost investor confidence and how they intend to reduce the persistent power cuts.
“Suffice to say, and typical of the PF-led government, we can only conclude that Mr Lusambo wants to hoodwink Zambians into giving them the vote based on the populist pretext that they have delivered to the expectations of Zambia,” stated Mufalali.
Meanwhile, Mufalali says the UPND has capable leadership that can lead the country to prosperity.
Speaking during the UPND Central Province youth conference at Mulungushi Rock of Authority that was held under the theme: “Enhancing Youth Participation in Matters of Governance,” Mufalali, who is UPND national youth chairperson, said that the UPND had proficient leaders that were capable of managing the country better than the ruling Patriotic Front leadership.
“We are tired of the PF calling for change of leadership in the UPND. As UPND youths, we make no apology for supporting the UPND and we make no apology for supporting president Hakainde Hichilema. We will continue rallying behind the UPND and president Hakainde Hichilema because we believe that the UPND has capable leadership that can lead the country to prosperity. The UPND has capable leadership that is capable of managing this country better,” said Mufalali.
And Mufalali observed that Zambia’s economy was ailing under the PF government.
“We have an ailing economy under the Patriotic Front. And things are not getting any better…we have been cheated for far too long. PF, you have lied enough, PF you have stolen enough,” charged Mufalali. “We have been pushed for too long. And this large turnout at this youth conference is an indication that Zambian youths are yearning for change that Zambians desire. And my message to you all young people is that we need to enhance our participation in governance. That is the only way we can deliver a better Zambia.”
Former UPND Chikankanta member of parliament Munji Habeenzu said that despite the brutality that they have suffered at the hands of PF, the UPND youths have continued to demonstrate that they were determined to come into power.
“In fact, we are going into the 2021 general elections more energised than ever before,” said Habeenzu.
Speaking earlier, UPND national information and publicity secretary Samuel Ngwira bemoaned the high unemployment levels prevailing in the country.
Ngwira implored Zambian youths to liberate themselves from the “yoke of unemployment and abject poverty.”
“While in opposition, the Patriotic Front promised to create more jobs for Zambians. But what we are seeing is the opposite; we have high unemployment levels and abject poverty among Zambians. Therefore, Zambian youths have the duty to liberate themselves from this yoke of unemployment and abject poverty in the 2021 general elections,” Ngwira said.
He added that the UPND members “will defend themselves if they get provoked by the Patriotic Front cadres.”
Meanwhile, UPND national youth deputy chairperson Sibeta Mutelo said that the youths in the opposition UPND would not want to be subjected to political violence.
“We have noted with concern that [Home Affairs Minister] Stephen Kampyongo is already threatening president Hakainde Hichilema with arrests if he contnues stating that the UPND will win the 2021 general elections. We want to put it on record that Kampyongo has no right to threaten HH for indicating that UPND will win the 2021 general elections. As UPND youths, we do not want to be subjected to political violence under the PF regime. And I would want to tell my fellow youths that the elections might come any time soon,” Mutelo said.
She also urged the UPND youths to “liberate themselves.”
“We should emulate the youths that took part in the struggle for independence. We need to emulate the youths that fought for political emancipation in the first and second Republics. We need to get involved in the governance system. We have to take this responsibility seriously,” said Mutelo. “As UPND youths, we need to remain determined, we need to remain firm and liberate ourselves.”