JACK Kalala says President Hakainde Hichilema has rattled the nest of the clique, hence the deliberate twisting of his statement at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.
Upon arrival from the UK last Saturday, President Hichilema was asked by a journalist when he would appoint permanent secretaries and police commissioners.
He was also asked for a response to his critics that his anti-corruption fight is targeted at certain tribes.
In response, President Hichilema said those criticising his decentralisation programme were a clique of thieves who have benefitted from government since independence.
“You have to be careful when you ask questions of ethnicity. First, you must start from the premise that all Zambians are entitled to jobs. And we must not make an issue because that’s a human right. You’re entitled to be a journalist, that’s why you’re a journalist. Are you a tribalist because you’re a journalist in government? You’re not,” said President Hichilema. “That’s mischief by the tribalists, the hegemonists who don’t want this country to be run by anyone else other than a clique of thieves. And I call them a clique of thieves because they’ve been feeding off public resources from independence. And they don’t think that someone else, other people, can run a country in a better way to redistribute jobs, to redistribute resources. This is what a colossal mind does. It doesn’t bother me at all, but it’s just to put things right….”
And supporting President Hichilema’s statement, Kalala, a former special assistant to president Levy Mwanawasa for project implementation and monitoring, said the clique has been offended.
“The President has indeed rattled the nest of the clique. And indeed, this clique exists. It’s not happy that the new dawn government has taken the money directly to the people, from Lusaka,” he told The Mast. “You see, these people were getting contracts in Lusaka and they were getting paid without even doing those contracts. You see! But now they have lost a source of income because the President has dribbled them. So they are very unhappy. And that’s why they are complaining. You see, they want to paint the President black.”
Kalala said late president Mwanawasa’s statement was also twisted by the opposition when he was fighting corruption.
“You see, it’s not the first time that people in the opposition have twisted what the President has said to suit their agenda. It happened even to Mwanawasa in Ndola. He was asked a question about the fight against corruption. The journalists said, ‘look, people are saying that you are targeting one tribe’, and he mentioned the Bembas,” he explained. “The president said, ‘no, this fight is not against any tribe; it’s a national agenda, you see. Corruption stinks, even to Bembas’. Meaning that even Bembas don’t like corruption because it denies them the necessary services like health, roads and all that. So, people don’t like it. But they twisted the statement and said Bembas stink with corruption, which was wrong. Even this one, the President didn’t even mention 1964, no. He said something totally different. He said these people are benefitting from this clique.”
Kalala said people should have focused on the bigger picture than what he termed small things that would not benefit them.
He implored to emulate the Chinese who focus on more important things for their nation.
“You see, instead of focusing on this unprecedented budget and see how it can benefit the nation, how we can leverage it to develop our country, we are focusing on very small things like what the President said at the airport which has actually been twisted to suit the agenda of the opposition – the likes of Canisius Banda, Sean Tembo and the Tutwa Ngulubes. These people are being petty,” Kalala said. “But all I can say is that they are wasting their time because people have welcomed and appreciated the actions that the President and his government have taken. They have appreciated that very much. And they are going to give him 100 per cent support. They will not listen to these detractors who have lost. And they they are worried because they have no hope of benefiting from what they used to do before.”
He warned that if the UPND could achieve what has been proposed in the 2022 national budget, there would be no opposition in the next general elections.
“And secondly, 2026 is not for them because if the UPND government continues on this trajectory, I’m afraid after 2026 there will be no opposition in Zambia. Yes, because so much will be achieved in Zambia and the people will want the development to continue. So they will go with a player who is scoring,” Kalala said. “They cannot put on bench the player who is scoring, it doesn’t happen in any game. So, in this game of politics the people of Zambia will go for a player who has proved that he’s a good player and he’s scoring. He is making his team, which is the country, winning.”
And Kalala has advised President Hichilema to ignore what he termed petty critics.
“And to President HH7 as they are calling him now, he should not pay attention to these petty critics. He should focus on the bigger picture,” said Kalala. “In the process, he’s going to pay attention, of course we have responsible people who are offering constructive criticism like the media; he should pay attention to those. But these politicians who want just to make political mileage he should ignore them because they don’t mean good for the country. Anything he’s going to do, they will criticise it.”