UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says most people are used with wrong leadership and believe that good leadership is not possible.
Hichilema has warned people in Eastern Province against remaining behind politically when other parts of the country have moved on.
He is also pledging to replace the Farmer Input Support Programme with agriculture support programme once in government.
Featuring on a special programme called ‘Forum Urgent Call on Smooth FM in Chipata on Thursday night, Hichilema said the UPND once in government would root out corruption in the purchase of fertiliser.
“I have already said that others don’t want us to talk about PF. Under the MMD the dollar was K5 but now it has gone to K18 under PF. For us, we’ll bring the dollar down to where it was because of the leadership that we are going to bring,” he said. “We are going to remove corruption in the purchase of fertiliser. At the moment, the government is buying fertiliser at K18,000 per tonne, but we will be buying at K7,000; meaning that we will save K11,000. If we save this money per tonne, it means we shall be giving out fertiliser at a lower price.”
Hichilema said by buying fertiliser at a lower cost it meant that maize would be produced at a lower cost.
“I think this is where the issue of leadership and management comes in because anthu ambiri tajaila (we are used with) wrong leadership. And when we talk about good leadership, they think it is not possible but it is very possible. That’s how we run business ourselves, that’s why we have been in business for over 35 years. And we have survived in business because we understand how to run a business,” he said.
On government’s move to rescope some road projects, Hichilema said it was an admission that there was no money to upgrade roads to bituminous standards.
“Now the question which is there is that, if they were maintaining the economy well, where did the money go? Government got loans and we are in debt like never before under this boma ya PF. They borrowed money, the Eurobond and money from other countries. They got US $13 billion and another US $7 billion dollars, so where did this US $20 billion dollars go?” he asked.
Hichilema said most road projects like the Chipata/Vubwi and Chipata/Chadiza had stalled because of corruption.
He said most people in Eastern Province did not get maximum benefit from their agricultural activities because the sector had collapsed.
“We are seeking leadership not to steal from the people, but we are seeking leadership to give to the people; to serve the people and to serve them better. The first thing that we are going to bring is the policy, zero tolerance to corruption,” he said. “We are going to do this by strengthening oversight institutions like Anti-Corruption Commission, Auditor General, Drug Enforcement [Commission] and Financial Intelligence Centre. We are going to give these institutions delegated authority to pursue corruption.”
And Hichilema said the UPND would restructure FISP to accord farmers an opportunity to get other farming implements other than fertiliser only.
“We are going to come up with agriculture support programme which will not only be about accessing fertiliser only. Agriculture is not about fertiliser alone. People need a lot of things to do their farming,” he said. “Under the UPND we are going to ensure that depots are close to the people. We are going to ensure that agro-dealers and transporters are paid on time. We are not going to allow cadres to smuggle maize in the neighbouring countries as is the case now.”
Meanwhile, Hichilema pleaded with Easterners to work with the UPND and redeem Zambia.
“Imwe banthu bakum’mawa tiyeni tisebenzele pamodzi, tifuna chitukuko, kulibe nkhondo inangu yamene tilinayo (You people of Eastern Province, let’s work together, we want development, there is no any other way that we have),” he said.
Hichilema urged youths top get NRCs and participate in changing government.
“Azathu bakum’mawa osankhalira mu mbuyo. Pamene tinachoka mu UNIP kuyenda mu MMD munankhalira mu mbuyo, pamene kunabwela PF munankhalira soti mu mbuyo. Chaka chamawa osankhalira mu mbuyo. Pamane banthu bazachoka mu PF kuyenda ku UPND (our colleagues from the east, don’t remain behind. When we left UNIP going to MMD you remained behind, when PF came you remained behind but don’t remain behind as people leave PF for UPND next year),” said Hichilema.