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Zambia won’t fail to pay its loans – Mbewe

PF MEMBER of the central committee Kebby Mbewe says it is laughable to see the opposition celebrating the country’s misfortunes when they are also affected.

Addressing the media in Choma yesterday, Mbewe said it was clear that the opposition was not for the people but for themselves.

“Zambians are disappointed that our friends are celebrating every misfortune that occurs and now their wish is that we default on loans, forgetting that it shows that they have no interest for the majority people. They will be shocked because Zambia won’t fail to pay,” he said.

Last Friday, bondholders rejected the Zambian government’s request for a payment holiday after the government last month missed an interest payment on $1 billion of bonds due in 2024. A 30-day grace period expired last Friday, putting Zambia in default, the first African country to do so.

Finance minister Bwalya Ng’andu said the default was unavoidable because the country, which had received some debt relief from China Development Bank, had to treat all creditors equally and had already built up arrears on other loans. The Export Import Bank of China told the country it would suspend payments of all interest and principal on sovereign loans amounting to $110 million due between May 1 and December 31.

Mbewe further accused the opposition UPND of wanting Zambians to suffer.

“Any misfortune that comes affects us all Zambians whether you are PF or UPND, so there is nothing to celebrate about. Instead we should be uniting in such times to defend the interest of the country,” he said. “The opposition must know that this is not something to celebrate about because it hinges on our lives.”

And Mbewe said the ruling PF was disappointed that the UPND in Southern Province was threatening chiefs supporting the development that the government was delivering.

“We are disappointed with the threats that the UPND leadership made through Honourable Jack Mwiimbu at a funeral of a freedom fighter in Monze last week. Chiefs should be respected because they are the custodians of the people. Chiefs have the right to support the government of the day. Now chiefs in Southern Province that are aligned to government are living in fear,” claimed Mbewe.

Last week, Monze Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu warned some traditional leaders in the area who were in the habit of attacking UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema to stop doing so.

“There are some chiefs that have crossed the boundaries. Now they are pushing us hard so that we react to them. We are requesting senior citizens to engage them because if they push us to the wall, we will respond,” said Mwiimbu.

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