[By Chambwa Moonga in Kasama]
DEMOCRATIC Party president Harry Kalaba says it is a terrible lie for anybody to hype the UPND and PF as front-runners in the August polls.
Meanwhile, Kalaba says Zambians should entrust him as Republican president for him to restore social order and spearhead visible development.
Kalaba featured on a special interview programme on Radio Mano in Kasama on Tuesday night.
He rejected a Zambian ‘belief’ that one could only become President unless they had been arrested before or lost an election before.
“Those who are saying the battle in this year’s elections is between two political parties are terribly lying. It’s the Democratic Party that is going to win this year’s elections,” Kalaba said.
“One of the reasons for our victory will be this choking unemployment in Northern Province. The only political party with an agenda for the people is the DP – that’s why we consistently outline on radio programmes what my government will do for the people.”
He recalled that Kateshi Coffee Company in Kasama was once a viable firm.
“But what production is at that company today? Nothing!” Kalaba said, adding that a lot of groundnuts were produced in Kasama, yet there was not even one cooking oil production company based there.
“Then those in the PF go about singing that ‘Northern Province is our political bedroom.’ But why should the political bedroom of a ruling party be overwhelmed with unemployment among youths and adults?”
He also promised that DP government would ensure that teachers in rural areas get a basic salary equivalent to their rural hardship allowance.
“Many teachers will be yearning to come to teach in places like Kasama, Nsumbu, Senga Hill because they will realise that there is better remuneration being in such places,” he said.
Kalaba stressed that many people across the country continue to refuse to stick to the UPND and PF, “which others insist on saying ‘these are the front-runners.’”
“People want to have Harry Kalaba as Republican president,” Kalaba said. “So, those theories you hear about that you cannot become President of Zambia until you lose a number of times, unless you are arrested. No! Those are outdated theories! The DP shall not lose.”
He further indicated that a DP government would bail out retirees wherever they maybe.
Kalaba said a serious government could never deal with retirees on an adhoc basis.
“When you open the Yellow Book, there is no budget line for retirees. But when I become President, within the first six months we’ll completely sort out all the challenges retirees are struggling with,” Kalaba promised. “I’ll appoint a committee of ministers to deal with the issue of retirees once and for all. We’ll have to clear the entire backlog!”
He also said the DP was aware that the PF is giving bicycles to village headmen in Northern Province.
“But what I can say is that please, get those bicycles from them and forget about those distributing them,” Kalaba urged.
On Liberty Radio in Mporokoso on Tuesday morning, Kalaba reiterated that once he becomes the President of Zambia this year, he would revamp most of the industries around the country.
“If you remember, this country had industries in almost every part. Why? It’s because president Dr Kenneth Kaunda went to Japan in 1973 where he learnt the concept of ‘one industry, one village [and] one village, one industry,’” he said.
“When I was minister of foreign affairs and visited China, what I discovered is that even small towns have industries. Even Mporokoso needs to have industries, because if you don’t manufacture anything, you can’t create any employment opportunities.”
He explained that industries were not exclusively created by the government.
“But you can go the route of public private partnerships where the government and the private sector complement each other,” Kalaba said.
He added that Zambia generates money enough to develop her districts but that there was simply no practical political leadership to spearhead development.
“Where do you think money to buy 48 unclaimed houses in Lusaka, to procure a fire engine and buy the presidential jet is coming from?” Kalaba asked.
Kalaba further noted that Zambians should allow him to lead the country, and wait to see the orderliness his government would establish.
He said police officers, under a DP government, would have real power they were supposed to have.
“The window panes of this radio station have been broken by PF cadres. Why? It’s because police officers didn’t come on time. Police officers don’t have transport!” Kalaba said. “When I become President, this unbecoming behaviour among political cadres will be gone. No one will simply wake up to go and damage a window pane anywhere and go back to eat nshima at home. Never! Allow me to rule this country and see the orderliness that will be in this country.”
He emphasised that what was causing unruliness among political party cadres was that Zambia had sunk to the lowest.
Armed police officers surrounded Liberty Radio on Tuesday to stop rowdy PF cadres from breaking the radio station.
Kalaba was about to feature on a live programme when a horde of scruffily dressed cadres stormed.
They demanded that the radio station does not go ahead with the programme.
But interviewer Daniel Lushinga insisted that the paid-for programme goes ahead and it did – at least for more than half an hour.