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People are even failing to celebrate under HH – PF

Filed under: Breaking News,Politics |
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Lubinda addressing the press.

The opposition PF says the economy under the UPND reign has become so bad that people are failing even to celebrate during the festival holidays, reports Martha Banda.

Acting president Given Lubinda says the 14 months of Hakainde Hichilema (HH) at the helm of the country has been just a period of motivation talk, nothing to write home about.

Lubinda who was UPND Senior Official from 1999 to 2005, says he didn’t expect anything as he knows HH that he is a motivational speaker.

The PF Acting president was speaking Thursday morning at an end of year press conference held in Lusaka.

Below is the speech in full delivered at the event:

NATIONAL ADDRESS
BY ACTING PATRIOTIC FRONT PRESIDENT, HON. GIVEN LUBINDA DELIVERED AT PARTY SECRETARIAT, LUSAKA 29TH DECEMBER 2022

• MEMBERS OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE;
• MEMBERS OF THE LUSAKA PROVINCE COMMITTEE;
• HON MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT;
• MEMBERS OF THE PF SECRETARIAT;
• MEMBERS OF THE PRESS;
• COUNTRY MEN AND WOMEN;

I WELCOME YOU TO OUR END OF YEAR PRESS BRIEFING WHICH IS MEANT TO HELP US REVIEW THE ISSUES OF THE YEAR AND TO COMMENT ON THE STATE OF THE NATION.

I RECOGNISE THAT A NUMBER OF OUR COLLEAGIES WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE TODAY ARE NOT BECAUSE THEY WENT AHEAD OF US TO BE WITH THE LORD. I BRING TO MIND HON TUTWA NGULUBE WHO DIED ON 3RD DECEMBER AND WAS PUT TO REST ON 7TH DECEMBER, 2022. IN HONOUR OF HIS MEMORY MAY WE PLEASE BE UPSTANDING FOR A MINUTE OF SILENCE. MAY HIS SOUL AND THE SOULS OF THE DEAR DEPARTED REST IN ETERNAL PEACE!

COUNTRYMEN AND WOMEN
IT IS SEVEENTEEN MONTHS SINCE PRESIDENT HAKAINDE HICHILEMA AND HIS UPND WON ELECTIONS.

DURING THE PERIOD AUGUST TO DECEMBER, 2021 MR HAKAINDE HICHILEMA, HIS MINISTERS AND HIS PARTY FUNCTIONERIES LIKEWISE, REPEATEDLY ARGUED THAT THE PERIOD FROM ELECTIONS WAS TOO SHORT FOR THEM TO COME UP WITH THEIR OWN POLICIES. THEY FURTHER ARGUED THAT THEY WERE RUNNING THE REMAINDER OF THE PF NATIONAL BUDGET AND NOT THEIR OWN.

THEY PROMISED THAT THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT IN 2022 WHEN THEY WILL FOLLOW THEIR OWN POLICIES AND IMPLEMENT THEIR OWN NATIONAL BUDGET.

AS WE HAVE COME TO THE END OF THE MUCH-ANTICIPATED YEAR 2022, IT IS NOW TIME FOR US TO REVIEW THE PERFORMANCE OF MR HAKAINDE AND HIS UPND GOVERNMENT.

1. STATE OF THE ECONOMY

CONTRARY TO THE FALSE POSITIVE NARRATIVE THAT THE ECONOMY IS ON THE MEND, THE REALITY SHOWS THAT THE ECONOMY LIES IN PERIL AS THERE IS VERY LITTLE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN THE COUNTRY.

THE MUCH NEEDED AND TALKED ABOUT TAXES FROM THE MINING SECTOR HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO BE TRANSFERRED TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY MR HAKAINDE’S POLICIES OF REDUCING TAXATION ON THE MINES. DURING THE YEAR MINERAL ROYALTY TAX WAS FOREGONE BY ZAMBIA BECAUSE OF MR HAKAINDE’S WRECKLESS DECISION TO MAKE MINERAL ROYALTY TAX DEDUCTIBLE. THIS IS TO HAPPEN AGAIN IN 2023. HE IS CLAIMING THAT BY ZAMBIA FOREGOING SUCH HUGE TAXES HE IS ATTRACTING FOREIGN INVESTORS TO PRODUCE MORE THAN 3M TONNES OF COPPER IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS.

IF WE CAN NOT BENEFIT FROM THE CURRENT PRODUCTION OF AROUND 800,000 TONNES, OF WHAT USE IS IT TO PRODUCE 3M TONNES. OUR MINERAL REOURCES ARE A NATIONAL ENDOWMENT WHICH SHOULD BENEFIT ZAMBIANS NOW AND IN THE FUTURE. WHO IS IT WHO PUTS HIS FARM ON A COST-FREE LEASE FOR THE SAKE OF IT BEING EVEN MORE EXPLOITED WITHOUT ANY BENEFIT TO HIS FAMILY? IF ZAMBIANS ARE NOT TO BENEFIT FROM THESE MINES HERE AND NOW, WE ARE BETTER OF CLOSING THEM UNTIL SUCH A TIME THAT MORE PATRIOTIC ZAMBIANS TAKE CHARGE OF THE RUNNING OF THE COUNTRY.

BY THE WAY, THE JUSTIFICATION GIVEN FOR DIVIDEND-ROYALTY AGREEMENT ENTERED INTO IN RESPECT OF KANSANSHI MINE THROUGH WHICH ZCCM-IH SHARES HAVE BEEN SWAPPED FOR ROYALTY IS NOT CONVINCING. IT IS A PRODUCT OF IGNORANCE ON WHY ZAMBIA HAS NOT BEEN ACCRUING REASONABLE REVENUE FROM THE MINING COMPANIES. WE SHALL ADDRESS THIS MATTER IN GREATER DETAIL IN A FEW WEEKS FROM NOW.

INCIDENTALLY, WHILE ALLOWING THESE TAX EXEMPTIONS TO FOREIGNERS, MR HAKAINDE IS MAKING ZAMBIA ENTER INTO MORE DEBT THAN HE FOUND IN 2021. THIS IS AGAINST HIS CAMPIAGN PROMISES THAT HE WILL NOT BORROW AND THAT HE WILL QUICKLY RESTRUCTRE DEBT TO SUSTAINABLE LEVELS. DURING THE YEAR 2022 HE LAMENTABLY FAILED TO ACHIEVE THIS GOAL. AS OFFICIAL STATISTICS SHOW ZAMBIA’S EXTERNAL DEBT ARREARS GREW BY 42% FROM $2.6BN LAST JUNE TO $3.8BN BY SEPTEMBER 2022. THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTING PERFORMANCE BY A MAN WHO CLAIMED TO KNOW HOW TO FIX THE ECONOMY AND A TEAM THAT CELEBRATED THE IMF BAIL OUT PACKAGE.

WE ARE AWARE OF THE FACT THAT WORLD BANK THIS YEAR ALONE RELEASED A LOAN AMOUNT OF $740. ADDED TO THE US$ 1.4BN FROM THE IMF ENTERED INTO AT THE END OF 2021, THE TOTAL EXTERNAL BORROWING IN 2 YEARS ONLY HAS BEEN A WALLOPING US$ 2.1BN. THE 2023 NATIONAL BUDGET HAS NEARLY US$1BN EXTERNAL FINANCING. AT THIS RATE HOW MUCH WILL THESE PEOPLE HAVE BORROWED BY END OF 2025?

WHAT IS MORE WORRYING IS THAT EVEN AFTER BORROWING MORE THAN US$ 2.1BN FROM EXTERNAL SOURCES AND HAVING DOMESTIC DEBT OF
K 79BN THERE IS NOT A SINGLE MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT THAT HAS BEEN INITIATED. THIS THEREFORE MEANS THAT ALL THIS BORROWING IS GOING TO FINANCING CONSUMPTION.

AGAINST THE BACKGROUND OF LACK OF ANY SERIOUS INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT INITIATED DURING THE LAST SEVEENTEEN MONTHS, THERE IS SLIGHTLY ABOVE US$ 7M ALLOCATED FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN THE 2023 BUDGET. ONE WONDERS THE KIND OF PROJECTS THAT WILL BE EXECUTED USING SUCH A MEAGRE ALLOCATION.

THE UPND IS BASING THEIR HOPES OF AN ECONOMIC TURN AROUND ON THE IMF BAIL OUT PROGRAMME, EXTERNAL FUNDING, AND FOREIGN INVESTMENTS. UNFORTUNATELY ALL THESE ARE EXTERNAL AND OUTSIDE THE CONTROL OF ZAMBIA.

IN THE MEANTIME, LOCAL SUPPLIERS OF GOODS AND SERVICES TO THE GOVERNMENT HAVE GONE WITHOUT BEING PAID THEIR DUES SINCE JULY 2021. THE CONTRACTORS AND SUPPLIERS ARE NOT PAID UNDER THE GUISE THAT THEIR INVOICES, INTERIM PAYMENT CERTIFICATES OR CLAIMS ARE BEING AUDITED. THIS EXERCISE HAS TAKEN OVER ONE YEAR. WHEN WILL THESE AUDITS BE CONCLUDED AND WHEN WILL SUPPLIERS BE PAID?

A MEAGRE K4BN WAS PAID OUT OF A TOTAL OF K48BN WHICH WAS OUTSTANDING AS AT JANUARY 2022. HOW CAN THE ECONOMY THRIVE WITH SUCH DISMAL PERFORMANCE IN FINANCING DOMESTIC ARREARS?

AS THOUGH NON-PAYMENT OF THEIR DUES IS NOT ENOUGH, MANY OF THESE SUPPLIERS HAVE BEEN SQUEEZED OUT OF BUSINESS BY THE UPND GOVERNMENT UNDER THE MISTAKEN BELIEF THAT ALL THOSE COMPANIES THAT SUPPLIED TO THE GOVERNMENT PRIOR TO THE AUGUST 2021 ELECTIONS WERE PF COMPANIES.

MANY MEDIUM, SMALL AND MICRO ENTERPRISES HAVE HAD TO FOLD UP WITHIN THE SPACE OF ONE YEAR DUE TO THE SQUEEZE ON LIQUIDITY. MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SENT INTO REDUNDANCY AND UNEMPLOYMENT AS A RESULT. OTHERS HAVE HAD THEIR PROPERTIES FORCLOSED DUE TO THEIR INABILITY TO MEET THEIR FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS.

SURPRISINGLY, THE COUNTRY HAS WITNESSED THE EMERGENCE OF SUPPLIERS WHO HAVE NO FINANCIAL AND TECHNICAL CAPACITY TO MEET MARKET DEMAND. THIS HAS RESULTED IN SHORTAGES OF ESSENTIAL GOODS SUCH AS MEDICAL SUPPLIES AND FARMING INPUTS. SOME OF THESE NEW ENTRANTS HAVE BEEN TRACED BACK TO UPND SYMPATHISERS AND LEADERS. SO, THE SUSPICION THAT COMPANIES THAT SUPPLIED GOVERNMENT PRIOR TO THE ELECTIONS WERE PF COMPANIES IS ACTUALLY A PRODUCT OF THEIR OWN DEEDS.

DURING THE YEAR UNDER REVIEW WE WITNESSED THE HARRASMENT OF SMES, WHERE THEIR MOBILE PHONE BOOTHS WERE FORCIBLY REMOVED.

WE ALSO WITNESSED BIG BUSINESSES BEING HARRASSED.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
IT IS NOT SURPRISING THAT SEVEENTEEN LONG MONTHS AFTER FORMING GOVERNMENT, MR HAKAINDE IS STILL BLAMING THE PF FOR THE POOR PERFORMANCE OF THE ECONOMY. I SAY NOT SURPRISING BECAUSE THOSE OF US WHO HAVE KNOWN THE MAN FOR MANY YEARS KNOW HIM AS A MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER AND NOT A PERFORMER. WE KNEW THEN WHAT MORE ZAMBIANS ARE COMING TO KNOW NOW: THAT THE MAN BELIEVES HIS OWN DELUSIONS. REMEMBER THE FOLLOWING STRONG PROMISES:

I. VOTE FOR ME AT 10HRS, WE ARE SWORN IN AT 12HRS, AT 14HRS THE DOLLAR WILL BE K 10
II. PETROL PRICES WILL REDUCE TO K12 PER LITRE BECAUSE PF MIDDLEMEN ARE STEALING K3 PER LITRE
III. MEALIE MEAL SHALL COST K 50 PER BAG
IV. EVERY FARMER SHALL RECEIVE 8 BAGS OF FERTILISER
V. FARMERS WILL BE PAID K 250 PER BAG OF MAIZE.

COUNTRYMEN AND WOMEN,
THE POOR PERFORMING ECONOMY CAN BE DEMONSTRATED BY THE BASIC NEEDS AND NUTRITIONAL BASKET WHICH STOOD AT THE HIGHEST OF OVER K9,400 A FEW MONTHS AGO.

THE DEAFENING SILENCE AND LACK OF SHOPPING AND CELEBRATION ACTIVITIES DURING THIS FESTIVE SEASON IS A BIG TESTIMONY OF THE SERIOUS ECONOMIC CHALLENGES OUR PEOPLE ARE FACING.

THE COST OF LIVING IS AT ITS HIGHEST EVER. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A TIME IN THE HISTORY OF ZAMBIA WHEN A BAG OF MEALIE MEAL COSTED 20% OF THE LOWEST SALARY. TODAY THAT IS THE CASE WITH REGARD TO THE REVISED MINIMUM WAGE OF A DOMESTIC WORKER.

2. STATE OF GOVERNANCE

WE HAVE WITNESSED THE WANTON ABUSE OF STATE INSTITUTIONS AS SEEN DURING THE KABUSHI, KWACHA AND LUSANGAZI BY-ELECTIONS. WE IN THE PF WERE UNRELENTED IN STANDING BY OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO FIELD OUR ADOPT CANDIDATES. AGAINST ALL ODDS WE WERE TREATED TO A VERY SHOCKING SITUATION WERE TWO COURTS OF THE SAME JUDICIARY DELIVERED CONFLICTING JUDGEMENTS ON THE SAME MATTER AND ON THE SAME DAY. WE WERE ALSO RUDELY SHOCKED TO BE TREATED TO A RAPIDLY CONVENED ELECTION PROCESS WHICH LEFT US OUT OF THE RACE.

WE WERE MORE SHOCKED TO SEE PEOPLE CELEBRATING A VICTORY WHICH WAS FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES A ONE-HORSE RACE. THE VIOLENCE THAT WE WITNESSED IN VARIOUS BY ELECTIONS AND THE VIOLENT INHIBITION OF OUR CANDIDATES FROM FILING NOMINATIONS AS HAPPENED IN SOUTHERN PROVINCE CALLS FOR US IN THE PF AND ALL OTHER DEMOCRACY LOVING CITIZENS TO BRACE OURSELVES FOR THE ARMOUR THAT IS NEEDED TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS TO VOTE FOR CANDIDATES OF OUR CHOICE. THIS WILL NOT COME EASILY. WE NEED TO BE RESILIENT AND FIRM.

WE HAVE ALSO SEEN THE ABUSE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES WHERE THEY HAVE BEEN TURNED INTO TOOLS OF OPPRESSION AND HARRASSMENT AGAINST THE OPPOSITION.
DURING THE YEAR UNDER REVIEW UNDER THE WATCH OF MR HAKAINDE, WE WITNESSED SEVERAL CITIZENS BEING ARRESTED AND DETAINED FOR AS LONG AS FOURTEEN DAYS WHEN THE LAW LIMITS SUCH DETAINTION TO FORTY EIGHT HOURS.

WE WITNESSED HOW SEVERAL GIRLS COULD BE ABDUCTED AND NOT BE TRACED FOR MONTHS ON END ONLY TO BE RESCUED BY ALERT NEIGHBOURHOOD YOUTHS WHO LATER BECAME VICTIMS OF THREATS OF THE SAME AGENCIES THAT SHOULD HAVE THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATED THE ABDUCTIONS IN THE FIRST PLACE. WE WERE SHOCKED TO HEAR THAT SUCH A HEINOUS CRIME AS ABDUCTION AND SEXUAL SLAVERY WAS REFERRED TO AS GENDER-BASED-VIOLENCE.

THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION HAS BEEN TURNED INTO A PROGRAMME TO DESTROY AND SILENCE SENIOR LEADERS OF THE OPPOSITION AND THOSE FEARED TO BE BUSINESS COMPETITORS. FOR EXAMPLE, WE WERE SHOCKED TO HEAR PRESIDENT HAKAINDE HIS CHRISTMAS MOTIVATIONAL RALLY, WHEN APPOINTING OFFICERS OF STATE WARNING THAT YOU WILL SEE WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE KCM MATTER. WE WERE DISTURBED BY THIS WARNING BECAUSE IT CLEARLY SHOWS THAT MR HAKAINDE WILL NOT STOP AT ANYTHING TO DIRECT THE OPERATIONS OF EVEN STATE OFFICES THAT ARE SACROSANCT.

MR HAKAINDE YESTERDAY HAD THE TIME TO CELEBRATE WHAT HE TERMS AS THE ABOLISHMENT OF THE DEATH PENALTY. IT IS EITHER HE IS ILL INFORMED BY HIS ADVISORS OR HE HAS A HIDDEN AGENDA UNDER HIS SLEEVE. WE SAY THIS BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT OUGHT TO KNOW THAT THE DEATH PENALTY EXISTS IN ARTICLE 12 WHICH STATES AS FOLLOWS “ A PERSON SHALL NOT BE DEPRIVED OF HIS LIFE INTENTIONALLY EXCEPT IN EXECUTION OF THE SENTENCE OF A COURT IN RESPECT OF A CRIMINAL OFFENCE UNDER THE LAW IN FORCE IN ZAMBIA OF WHICH HE HAS BEEN CONVICTED.”

NOW ARTICLE 1 SUB-ARTICLE 4 OF THE SAME CONSTITUTION STATES AS FOLLOWS “THE VALIDITY OR LEGALITY OF THIS CONSTITUTION IS NOT SUBJECT TO CHALLENGE BY OR BEFORE A STATE ORGAN OR OTHER FORUM”

THE VITAL PROVISIONS OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS OF WHICH ARTICLE 12 IS A PART CAN ONLY BE AMENDED BY WAY OF A REFERENDUM.

THE QUESTION IS: WHAT AUTHORITY DOES MR HAKAINDE HAVE TO CHALLENGE THE VALIDITY OF ARTICLE 12?

MR HAKAINDE HAS SIMPLY AMENDED THE PENAL CODE TO MAKE THE DEATH PENALTY NON-MANDATORY. HE HAS NOT ABOLISHED THE DEATH PENALTY. HE HAS TO BE SINCERE WITH HIMSELF AND WITH THE NATION. SUCH GYMNASTICS WITH THE FEELINGS OF THE PEOPLE WILL LEAD HIM NOWHERE.

BY THE WAY, HE SHOULD BE REMINDED THAT THE LAST TIME THERE WAS A WARRANT OF EXECUTION SIGNED BY ANY PRESIDENT IN ZAMBIA WAS 28YEARS AGO. ZAMBIA HAS BEEN A DEFACTO ABOLITIONIST COUNTRY FOR ALL THIS LONG. ALL SUCCESSIVE PRESIDENTS FROM LEVY MWANAWASA WANTED THE DEATH PENALTY ABOLISHED. HOWEVER, THEY UNDERSTOOD THAT THEY COULD ONLY DO SO MEANINGFULLY AND TRUTHFULLY BY AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION THROUGH A PEOPLE CENTRED REFERENDUM NOT BY DECREE.

ACTUALLY, NEED I REMIND MR HAKAINDE THAT HE WAS THE MAIN SPONSOR OF THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE REFERENDUM TO AMEND THE BILL OF RIGHTS IN 2016. HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR HIS UNFETTERED APPETITE FOR POLITICAL RHETORIC THE BILL OF RIGHTS COULD HAVE BEEN AMENDED IN 2016.

WE ARE ALSO AWARE THAT THE REPEAL OF THE LAW AGAINST THE DEFAMATION OF THE PRESIDENT IS ANOTHER PUBLIC RELATIONS STINT. WE SAY THIS ON THE BACKDROP OF THE FACT THAT MORE CITIZENS HAVE BEEN ARRESTED FOR ALLEDGEDLY DEFAMING PRESIDENT HAKAINDE THAN ANY OF HIS PREDECESSORS NOT WITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT HE HAS BEEN PRESIDENT FOR ONLY SEVEENTEEN MONTHS. AT THIS STAGE ALL WE CAN SAY IS WATCH THE SPACE. LET US WAIT AND SEE HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE BEFORE ANOTHER CITIZEN IS ARRESTED FOR EXPRESSING OPINIONS NOT IN THE LIKING OF HIS KEEPERS.

3. THE HEALTH SECTOR

THE HEALTH SECTOR HAS LITERALLY COLLAPSED. THE SHORTAGES OF MEDICINES, MEDICAL SUPPLIES AND LABORATORY RE-AGENTS HAS GONE ON FOR OVER A YEAR NOW.

THIS WAS CONFIRMED BY THE REPORT ON MEDICINE AND MEDICAL SUPPLIES SHORTAGES COUNTRY-WIDE BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT.

WHAT SADDENS US ARE THE CONTINOUS DENIALS BY GOVERNMENT DESPITE THE AVAILABILITY OF ABUNDANT VERIFIABLE INFORMATION ON THE CRISIS.

THE COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED THAT AVAILABILITY OF HIV/AID AND TB DRUGS AND VACCINES STOOD AT 53.1% CONTRARY TO THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION’S MINIMUM RECOMMENDATIONS OF 70-80%. ACTUALLY ALL THESE DRUGS WERE DONATIONS. THE AVAILABILTY OF 13 ESSENTIAL DRUGS ARE AT 23%.

THEY MAY HAVE ENLISTED 11,000 PEOPLE FOR RECRUITMENT IN THE HEALTH SECTOR, HOWEVER OF WHAT USE ARE THEY IF THEY HAVE NO FACILITIES AND DRUGS WITH WHICH TO ADDRESS THE HEALTH NEEDS OF THE SICK?

HERE AGAIN THE SHORTAGES OF DRUGS ARE BECAUSE OF THE ZEAL TO GET RID OF SO-CALLED PF COMPANIES FROM THE SUPPLY CHAIN AND TO REPLACE THEM WITH OTHERS, WHO IN MANY INSTANCES LACK THE REQUISITE EXPERIENCE AND CAPACITY.

FOR THE SAKE OF POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY MANY LIVES HAVE BEEN LOST DURING THIS CRISIS?

AT WHOSE MAKING HAVE THESE INNOCENT LIVES BEEN LOST?

4. AGRICULTURE SECTOR

SIMILAR TO THE CRISIS IN THE HEALTH SECTOR, THE AGRICULTURE IS ALSO AT THE BRINK OF COLLAPSING.

THE FARMING SEASON OPENED IN OCTOBER 2022 AND YET FARMING INPUTS HAVE NOT BEEN DELIVERED IN FULL.

WHILE THE FISP PROGRAMME PLEGDED TO DELIVER FARMING INPUTS TO
1, 024,000 SMALL-HOLDER BENEFICIARIES, THE FARMERS HAVE BEEN FORCED TO SHARE FERTILISER AND SEEDS IN MEDAS. A DISGRACE DEVELOPMENT THAT HAS NEVER OCCURRED IN OUR COUNTRY BEFORE. THIS IS AGAINST THE PROMISE THAT EACH FARMER WILL BE PROVIDED 8 BAGS OF FERTILISER EACH.

YES, IT IS EASY TO CONDEMN AND EQUALLY EASY TO APPORTION BLAME ON OTHERS FOR YOUR FAILURE. THE PF HAPPENS TO BE THE DEFENCELESS VICTIM OF MR HAKAINDE’S BLAME GAME. HE HAD AUGUST 2021 TO MAY 2022 TO GET RID OF ALL THOSE WHOM HE CONSIDERED TO BE CORRUPT SUPPLIERS OF INPUTS TO AN EXTENT THAT HE FLOATED TENDERS IN JUNE 2022. IN AUGUST THE PROCESS WAS CANCELED ALLDGEDLY BECAUSE OF CORRUPTION THAT THEY HAD DISCOVERED. THEY THEN AWARDED CONTRACTS IN LESS THAN A TRANSPARENT MANNER. WE HEAR THAT SOME OF THE COMPANIES THAT HAD BEEN EXCLUDED FROM THE INITIAL TENDER WHERE QUITELY BROUGHT BACK ON BOARD. THE OUTCOME HAS BEEN THE MOST SHAMBOLICK FISP YEAR. BESIDES THE INPUTS BEING DELIVERED WITH LONG DELAY, THEIR COSTS HAVE BECOME UNTENABLE FOR MOST FARMERS.

THE PROMISE OF 8 BAGS HAS BECOME A SOURCE OF ANGUISH AND STARVATION FOF THE MAJORITY FARMERS. NEXT YEAR A BAG OF MAIZE WILL TRULY FETCH THE COST OF K 250 AS PROMISED BY MR HAKAINDE DURING HIS CAMPAIGN. HOWEVER, THIS WILL NOT BE AS A RESULT OF MR HAKAINDE’S DESIRE BUT BY HIS MISMANAGEMENT OF THE FISP AND THE AGRICULTURE SECTOR IN GENERAL. YES, WE HEARD HIM MAKE PROMISES THAT IT WILL BE HANDLED BETTER NEXT YEAR. HOWEVER, WHAT WILL HE DO TO CUSHION ALL THE CITIZENS FROM THE HIGH COST OF FOOD NEXT YEAR?

5. THE ENERGY SECTOR

THE LAST TIME THAT ZAMBIA INVESTED IN POWER GENERATION BEFOR THE PF FORMED GOVERNMENT WAS IN 1977 WHEN THE KARIBA NORTH BANK WAS COMMISSINED BRINGING ZAMBIA’S GENERATION CAPACITY TO 1,600 MW. DURING THE TEN YEARS 2011 TO 2021 THE PF GOVERNMENT COMMISSIONED VARIOUS POWER GENERATION PLANTS AND MORE THAN DOUBLED THE CAPACITY TO 3,456MW.

THE CURRENT NATIONAL DEMAND AT PEAK IS UNDER 2,300 MEGAWATTS. WITHOUT THE VISIONARY LEADERSHIP OF THE PF, ZAMBIA SHOULD HAVE BEEN FACED WITH AN ERNOURMOUS POWER DEFICIT. WITH THE INCREASE OF POWER GENERATION TO 3,456 MW MR HAKAINDE WAS RIGHT TO HAVE DECLARED THAT THEY WOULD BE NO MORE LOAD SHEDDING IN ZAMBIA AFTER HE COMMISSIONED THE KAFUE GORGE LOWER HYDRO POWER STATION.

THE QUESTION TO AS NOW IS WHY HAS ZESCO ANNOUNCED THAT THERE SHALL BE LOAD SHEDDING NOW?

THE ONLY REASON ZAMBIANS ARE BEING LOAD-SHEDDED IS BECAUSE OF THE EXPORT COMMITMENT THAT ZESCO HAS WITH NEIGHBOURING STATES. YOU ALL HEARD THE PRESIDENT SAYING THAT TO SAVE FUTURE PURCHASES OF POWER FROM OTHER COUNTRIES, HE WILL HAVE TO ALLOW FOR ZAMBIA TO UNDERGO LOAD SHEDDING. MR HAKAINDE’S UNDERATNDING OF GOVERNANCE IS VERY DISTURBING. IF ALL THE SME’S AND OTHER INDUSTRIES SHUT DOWN NOW DURING THE LOAD SHEDDING PERIOD, WHO WILL RECAPITILISE THEM WHEN GENERATION INCREASES?

WE URGE ZESCO TO SUSPEND POWER EXPORTS UNTIL WATER LEVELS IN KARIBA NORMALISES BY MARCH 2023.

6. THE CDF

SINCE THE CDF IS THE SIGNAL TUNE OF THE UPND, I CAN NOT END MY REVIEW OF 2022 WITHOUT MENTIONING A WORD OR TWO ABOUT IT.

WHEN WE SAID THAT THE ENHANCED CDF WAS A HOAX AND A FUSS, WE WERE SAID TO BE NAÏVE AND ENVIOUS. LAST YEAR WHEN THE ENHACEMENT WAS ANNOUNCED WE RAISED THE FOLLOWING CONCERNS AMONG OTHERS:

I. THAT THE AMOUNT WOULD NOT BE RELEASED IN FULL IN ANY SINGLE YEAR;
HOW MUICH OF THIS MONEY HAS BEEN UTILISED? BY THE GOVERNMENT’S OWN ADMISSION ONLY 4% HAS BEEN UTILISED BY DECEMBER 2022.

II. THAT THE CDF WAS TAKING AWAY RESOURCES FROM PROJECTS MEANT TO BE UNDERTAKEN BY SPECIFIC LINE MINISTRIES;
TRUE TO OUR WARNING, THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT ISSUED A CIRCULAR TO TOWN CLERKS ON 27TH DECEMBER IN WHICH HE IS DIRECTING THAT EVERY CONSTITUENCY MUST PROCURE THE FOLLOWING USING THE 2023 CDF:

A. POLICE MOTOR VEHICLES AT A COST OF K1M;
B. SCHOOL DESKS;
C. CONSTRUCTION AND REHABILITATION OF MATERNITY WINGS;
D. PROVISION OF IMPROVED WATER AND SANITATION SYSTEMS IN PUBLIC FACILITIES;
E. PROVISION OF ELECTRICITY WITH K1M RINGFENCED;
F. PROVISION OF SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT;
G. PROCUREMENT OF AMBULANCES
H. CDF RADIO SHOURS AT LEAST ONE HOUR PER WEEK AND
I. CONSTRUCTION OF AT LEAST ONE CHEIFS PALACE.

ARE THESE NOT CAPITAL PROJECTS MEANT TO BE UNDERTAKEN BY SPECIFIC LINE MINISTRIES WHO HAVE SPECIALISED PERSONNEL?

III. THAT THE CDF IS NOT THE SUITABLE VEHICLE TO USE FOR FISCAL DECENTRALISATION;
DO THE INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE MINISTER ON THE UTILISATION OF THE CDF CONSTITUTE DECENTRALISATION?

IV. THAT THE SYSTEM OF LOCAL GOVERNANCE FROM THE MINISTRY TO DISTRICTS WAS NOT CAPACITATED ENOUGH TO HANDLE SUCH AMOUNTS OF MONEY

TRUE TO OUR FEARS, IN ANOTHER CIRCULAR ALSO DATED 27TH DECEMBER, 2022 AND THROUGH GAZETTE NOTICE NO. 1683 OF 2022, THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT HAS PURPORTED TO HAVE DELEGATED THE FUNCTION OF APPROVING OF CDF APPLICATIONS TO PROVINCIAL LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICERS.

WHEN HAVE STATUTORY FUNCTIONS OF A MINISTER EVER BEEN DELEGATED TO A TECHNOCRAT? DOES THE CDF ACT OF 2018 ENVISAGE SUCH AN ARRANGEMENT?

V. THAT THE ENHANCED CDF WILL CREATE CONFLICT OF ROLES OF MPS FROM BEING BOTH IMPLEMENTORS OR SUPERVISORS OF LARGE GOVERNMENT PROJECTS TO PROVIDING OVERSIGHT FUNCTIONS AS LEGISLATORS.

AGAIN TRUE TO OUR FEARS, MPS NOW MUST BE ENGAGED IN SUPERVISING LARGE GOVERNMENT PROJECTS INSTEAD OF PROVIDING OVERSIGHT ROLES.

VI. THAT THE ENHANCED CDF WILL TAKE AWAY THE INTENTION OF ESTABLISHING THE FUND, NAMELY FOR MPS AND THEIR COMMUNITIES TO SUPPLEMENT GOVERNMENT’S EFFORTS ON COMMUNITY BASED PROJECTS

INCIDENTALLY THE TWO CIRCULARS I HAVE REFERRED TO WERE ONLY COPIED TO PROVINCIAL PERMANENT SECRETARIES, PLGOS, TOWN CLERKS AND DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS AT THE EXCLUSION OF THE MPS.

7. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

DURNG THE YEAR UNDER REVIEW WE WITNESSED A NUMBER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS ENGAGEMENTS WHICH WERE NOT EXPLAINED AND REMAIN SUSPICIOUS.

1. THERE WAS THE CELEBRATION OF ZAMBIA HAVING STRUCK A BAIL OUT PACKAGE WITH THE IMF WITHIN A VERY SHORT SPACE OF TIME.
WHEN THIS WAS DONE, WE IN THE PF WERE REDICULED FOR HAVING FAILED TO ARRIVE AT AN AGREEMENT OVER A PERIOD OF SEVEN YEARS. WE EXPLAINED THEN THAT SOME OF THE CONDITIONALITIES WHICH THE IMF WERE ATTACHING TO THE AGREEMENT SUCH AS THE REMOVAL OF SUBSIDIES FROM FUEL AND FARMING INPUTS AND EFFECTING COST REFLECTIVE TARRIFFS ON ELECTRICTY WERE NOT ACCEPTABLE.

NOW WE ARE SUSPCIOUS TO READ THE CIRCULAR DATED 27TH DECEMBER FROM THE MINISTRY OF ENERGY TO OMCS STATING THAT THE 25% CUSTOMS/IMPORT DUTY WILL BE FREE FROM THE CURRENT 25%.

THE QUESTION IS WHAT HAS HAPPENED FOR THE IMF TO RENEGE ON THE CONDITIONALITIES THAT THEY WERE INSISTING ON? WHAT IS THE QUOD PRO QUO?

2. THERE ALSO WAS A VISIT BY THE PRESIDENT TO SOUTH AFRICA WHERE HE WENT TO ATTEND THE LAUNCH OF A BOOK THAT HAS VERY LITTLE SIGNAIFICANCE FOR ZAMBIA. SURPRISINGLY THIS LAUNCH WAS ATTENDED MOSTLY BY LEADERS OF OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTIES FROM OUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES.

HOW CAN THE PERSONAL RELATIONS OF THE PRESIDENT OF ZAMBIA BE ALLOWED TO INTERFERE WITH THE COUNTRY’S RELATIONS WITH HER FRIENDLY NATIONS?

3. THEN IT WAS A MEETING AT THE LOWER ZAMBEZI WHICH WAS SOON FOLLOWED BY AN ANNOUCEMENT BY ONE OF THE PARTICIPANTS THAT ZAMBIA AND AMERICA HAD ENTERED INTO AN MOU FOR ZAMBIA TO HOST THE AFRICOM.
ZAMBIA HAS FOR A LONG TIME MAINTAINED THE POLICY OF NON-ALIGNMENT. WE HAVE NOT ALLOWED ANY SUPER POWER TO DICTATE WHO OUR FRIENDS OR ENEMIES SHOULD BE. ALL PREVIOUS ZAMBIAN PRESIDENTS HAVE BEEN IN AGREEMENT WITH THE FELLOW SADC AND AFRICAN PRESIDENTS ABOUT NOT ALLOWING ANY SUPER POWERS TO USE THE AFRICAN SOIL TO ADVANCE THEIR MILITARY ACTIVITIES. WHY IS IT THAT NOW MR HAKAINDE FINDS IT PRUDENT TO ALLOW THE US TO SET UP SUCH AN ENTERPRISE ESPECIALLY WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE CITZENS?

4. THIS WAS FOLLOWED BY AN ANNOUNCEMENT BY TONY BLAIR INSTITUTE THAT THEY ENTERED INTO AN AGREEMENT TO PROVIDE SUPPORT SERVICES TO THE ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT.
WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT SERVICES IS A FOREIGN FOUNDATION TOGETHER WITH THE BRENDTHURST FOUNDATION RENDERING AT ZAMBIA’S APEX OFFICE OF STATE HOUSE? HOW SAFE IS OUR SOVERIEGNITY WHEN FOREIGN ENTITIES ARE FREELY INTERFERING WITH OUR SENIOR MOST POLICY MAKERS?

5. THEN WE READ HOW REPUBLICAN SENATOR JIM RISCH FROM IDAHO, HAS AN ADMIRATION FOR PRESIDENT HAKAINDE WHO HE SAID IS AT THE CENTRE OF WORKING HARD TO ‘CURB CHINA’S MALIGN AND PREDATORY INFLUENCE IN ZAMBIA, AS WELL AS INCREASE COOPERATION WITH THE US.”

ZAMBIA HAS ALWAYS MAINTAINED AN OPEN TRADE AND ECONOMIC POLICY WITHOUT ANY ALIGNMENT. WHAT IS IN IT FOR ZAMBIA TO SIDE WITH A PARTICULAR SUPER POWER AT THE EXCLUSION OF OTHERS?

WE HAVE RECENTLY SEEN OVER-RELIANCE ON THE WEST TO THE EXCLUSION OF CHINA AND OTHER BRICS MEMBER STATES SUCH AS RUSSIA, INDIA AND BRAZIL. THIS IS A SOURCE OF SERIOUS CONCERN. WE THEREFORE URGE THE PRESIDENT TO DENOUNCE THE STATEMENT BY SENATOR RISCH AND TO EXPLAIN HIMSELF ON THIS MATTER.

6. THEN IT WAS THE SIGNING OF THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN ZAMBIA AND CONGO ON ONE HAND AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ON THE OTHER CONCERNING THE BATTERY VALUE CHAIN.

WHEN WAS A PUBLIC TENDER ISSUED TO INVITE INTERESTED ENTITIES TO PRESENT THEIR BIDS IN MANAGING THE VEHICLE BATTERY VALUE CHAIN?
WHEN WAS A DUE DILIGENCE DONE WHICH STATED THAT THE US IS THE MOST SUITED TO MANAGE OUR MINERALS WHICH ARE REQUIRED IN THE BATTERY VALUE CHAIN?

WE THEREFORE URGE THE PRESIDENT TO PRESENT THE AGREEMENT FOR PARLIAMENT SCRUTINY.

6. BEFORE LONG WE HEARD FROM ONE MP WHO HAS BEEN ON A NUMBER OF TOURS WITH THE PRESIDENT SAYING HOW PRESIDENT HAKAINDE’S SECURITY DETAIL IS TRAINED BY THE CIA.

WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT SUCH REVELATIONS AS THESE EXPOSE OUR NATIONAL SECURITY AND THAT OF INDIVIDUALS ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO MAY APPEAR TO BE OPPOSED TO THE POLICIES OF THE COUNTRIES THAT ARE SAID TO BE TRAINING THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT’S SECURITY DETAIL.

IT IS OUR CONSIDERED CONCERN THAT PRESIDENT HAKAINDE’S APPROACH TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS IS A SERIOUS THREAT TO ZAMBIA’S SOVERIEGNITY.

IN CONCLUSION, I WISH TO STATE THAT WE ARE HERE TODAY BECAUSE, AGAINST THE DREAMS AND DESIRES OF THE UPND AND OTHERS LIKE THEM THE PF IS NOT DEAD, IT IS FULLY ALIVE AND IS READY TO PROVIDE EVEN BETTER NATIONAL LEADERSHIP THAN EVER BEFORE.

GOD BLESS ZAMBIA
GOD BLESS US ALL AND I WISH ALL OF YOU A PROSPEROUS 2023.NATIONAL ADDRESS
BY ACTING PATRIOTIC FRONT PRESIDENT, HON. GIVEN LUBINDA DELIVERED AT PARTY SECRETARIAT, LUSAKA 29TH DECEMBER 2022

• MEMBERS OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE;
• MEMBERS OF THE LUSAKA PROVINCE COMMITTEE;
• HON MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT;
• MEMBERS OF THE PF SECRETARIAT;
• MEMBERS OF THE PRESS;
• COUNTRY MEN AND WOMEN;

I WELCOME YOU TO OUR END OF YEAR PRESS BRIEFING WHICH IS MEANT TO HELP US REVIEW THE ISSUES OF THE YEAR AND TO COMMENT ON THE STATE OF THE NATION.

I RECOGNISE THAT A NUMBER OF OUR COLLEAGIES WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE TODAY ARE NOT BECAUSE THEY WENT AHEAD OF US TO BE WITH THE LORD. I BRING TO MIND HON TUTWA NGULUBE WHO DIED ON 3RD DECEMBER AND WAS PUT TO REST ON 7TH DECEMBER, 2022. IN HONOUR OF HIS MEMORY MAY WE PLEASE BE UPSTANDING FOR A MINUTE OF SILENCE. MAY HIS SOUL AND THE SOULS OF THE DEAR DEPARTED REST IN ETERNAL PEACE!

COUNTRYMEN AND WOMEN
IT IS SEVEENTEEN MONTHS SINCE PRESIDENT HAKAINDE HICHILEMA AND HIS UPND WON ELECTIONS.

DURING THE PERIOD AUGUST TO DECEMBER, 2021 MR HAKAINDE HICHILEMA, HIS MINISTERS AND HIS PARTY FUNCTIONERIES LIKEWISE, REPEATEDLY ARGUED THAT THE PERIOD FROM ELECTIONS WAS TOO SHORT FOR THEM TO COME UP WITH THEIR OWN POLICIES. THEY FURTHER ARGUED THAT THEY WERE RUNNING THE REMAINDER OF THE PF NATIONAL BUDGET AND NOT THEIR OWN.

THEY PROMISED THAT THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT IN 2022 WHEN THEY WILL FOLLOW THEIR OWN POLICIES AND IMPLEMENT THEIR OWN NATIONAL BUDGET.

AS WE HAVE COME TO THE END OF THE MUCH-ANTICIPATED YEAR 2022, IT IS NOW TIME FOR US TO REVIEW THE PERFORMANCE OF MR HAKAINDE AND HIS UPND GOVERNMENT.

1. STATE OF THE ECONOMY

CONTRARY TO THE FALSE POSITIVE NARRATIVE THAT THE ECONOMY IS ON THE MEND, THE REALITY SHOWS THAT THE ECONOMY LIES IN PERIL AS THERE IS VERY LITTLE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN THE COUNTRY.

THE MUCH NEEDED AND TALKED ABOUT TAXES FROM THE MINING SECTOR HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO BE TRANSFERRED TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY MR HAKAINDE’S POLICIES OF REDUCING TAXATION ON THE MINES. DURING THE YEAR MINERAL ROYALTY TAX WAS FOREGONE BY ZAMBIA BECAUSE OF MR HAKAINDE’S WRECKLESS DECISION TO MAKE MINERAL ROYALTY TAX DEDUCTIBLE. THIS IS TO HAPPEN AGAIN IN 2023. HE IS CLAIMING THAT BY ZAMBIA FOREGOING SUCH HUGE TAXES HE IS ATTRACTING FOREIGN INVESTORS TO PRODUCE MORE THAN 3M TONNES OF COPPER IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS.

IF WE CAN NOT BENEFIT FROM THE CURRENT PRODUCTION OF AROUND 800,000 TONNES, OF WHAT USE IS IT TO PRODUCE 3M TONNES. OUR MINERAL REOURCES ARE A NATIONAL ENDOWMENT WHICH SHOULD BENEFIT ZAMBIANS NOW AND IN THE FUTURE. WHO IS IT WHO PUTS HIS FARM ON A COST-FREE LEASE FOR THE SAKE OF IT BEING EVEN MORE EXPLOITED WITHOUT ANY BENEFIT TO HIS FAMILY? IF ZAMBIANS ARE NOT TO BENEFIT FROM THESE MINES HERE AND NOW, WE ARE BETTER OF CLOSING THEM UNTIL SUCH A TIME THAT MORE PATRIOTIC ZAMBIANS TAKE CHARGE OF THE RUNNING OF THE COUNTRY.

BY THE WAY, THE JUSTIFICATION GIVEN FOR DIVIDEND-ROYALTY AGREEMENT ENTERED INTO IN RESPECT OF KANSANSHI MINE THROUGH WHICH ZCCM-IH SHARES HAVE BEEN SWAPPED FOR ROYALTY IS NOT CONVINCING. IT IS A PRODUCT OF IGNORANCE ON WHY ZAMBIA HAS NOT BEEN ACCRUING REASONABLE REVENUE FROM THE MINING COMPANIES. WE SHALL ADDRESS THIS MATTER IN GREATER DETAIL IN A FEW WEEKS FROM NOW.

INCIDENTALLY, WHILE ALLOWING THESE TAX EXEMPTIONS TO FOREIGNERS, MR HAKAINDE IS MAKING ZAMBIA ENTER INTO MORE DEBT THAN HE FOUND IN 2021. THIS IS AGAINST HIS CAMPIAGN PROMISES THAT HE WILL NOT BORROW AND THAT HE WILL QUICKLY RESTRUCTRE DEBT TO SUSTAINABLE LEVELS. DURING THE YEAR 2022 HE LAMENTABLY FAILED TO ACHIEVE THIS GOAL. AS OFFICIAL STATISTICS SHOW ZAMBIA’S EXTERNAL DEBT ARREARS GREW BY 42% FROM $2.6BN LAST JUNE TO $3.8BN BY SEPTEMBER 2022. THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTING PERFORMANCE BY A MAN WHO CLAIMED TO KNOW HOW TO FIX THE ECONOMY AND A TEAM THAT CELEBRATED THE IMF BAIL OUT PACKAGE.

WE ARE AWARE OF THE FACT THAT WORLD BANK THIS YEAR ALONE RELEASED A LOAN AMOUNT OF $740. ADDED TO THE US$ 1.4BN FROM THE IMF ENTERED INTO AT THE END OF 2021, THE TOTAL EXTERNAL BORROWING IN 2 YEARS ONLY HAS BEEN A WALLOPING US$ 2.1BN. THE 2023 NATIONAL BUDGET HAS NEARLY US$1BN EXTERNAL FINANCING. AT THIS RATE HOW MUCH WILL THESE PEOPLE HAVE BORROWED BY END OF 2025?

WHAT IS MORE WORRYING IS THAT EVEN AFTER BORROWING MORE THAN US$ 2.1BN FROM EXTERNAL SOURCES AND HAVING DOMESTIC DEBT OF
K 79BN THERE IS NOT A SINGLE MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT THAT HAS BEEN INITIATED. THIS THEREFORE MEANS THAT ALL THIS BORROWING IS GOING TO FINANCING CONSUMPTION.

AGAINST THE BACKGROUND OF LACK OF ANY SERIOUS INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT INITIATED DURING THE LAST SEVEENTEEN MONTHS, THERE IS SLIGHTLY ABOVE US$ 7M ALLOCATED FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN THE 2023 BUDGET. ONE WONDERS THE KIND OF PROJECTS THAT WILL BE EXECUTED USING SUCH A MEAGRE ALLOCATION.

THE UPND IS BASING THEIR HOPES OF AN ECONOMIC TURN AROUND ON THE IMF BAIL OUT PROGRAMME, EXTERNAL FUNDING, AND FOREIGN INVESTMENTS. UNFORTUNATELY ALL THESE ARE EXTERNAL AND OUTSIDE THE CONTROL OF ZAMBIA.

IN THE MEANTIME, LOCAL SUPPLIERS OF GOODS AND SERVICES TO THE GOVERNMENT HAVE GONE WITHOUT BEING PAID THEIR DUES SINCE JULY 2021. THE CONTRACTORS AND SUPPLIERS ARE NOT PAID UNDER THE GUISE THAT THEIR INVOICES, INTERIM PAYMENT CERTIFICATES OR CLAIMS ARE BEING AUDITED. THIS EXERCISE HAS TAKEN OVER ONE YEAR. WHEN WILL THESE AUDITS BE CONCLUDED AND WHEN WILL SUPPLIERS BE PAID?

A MEAGRE K4BN WAS PAID OUT OF A TOTAL OF K48BN WHICH WAS OUTSTANDING AS AT JANUARY 2022. HOW CAN THE ECONOMY THRIVE WITH SUCH DISMAL PERFORMANCE IN FINANCING DOMESTIC ARREARS?

AS THOUGH NON-PAYMENT OF THEIR DUES IS NOT ENOUGH, MANY OF THESE SUPPLIERS HAVE BEEN SQUEEZED OUT OF BUSINESS BY THE UPND GOVERNMENT UNDER THE MISTAKEN BELIEF THAT ALL THOSE COMPANIES THAT SUPPLIED TO THE GOVERNMENT PRIOR TO THE AUGUST 2021 ELECTIONS WERE PF COMPANIES.

MANY MEDIUM, SMALL AND MICRO ENTERPRISES HAVE HAD TO FOLD UP WITHIN THE SPACE OF ONE YEAR DUE TO THE SQUEEZE ON LIQUIDITY. MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SENT INTO REDUNDANCY AND UNEMPLOYMENT AS A RESULT. OTHERS HAVE HAD THEIR PROPERTIES FORCLOSED DUE TO THEIR INABILITY TO MEET THEIR FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS.

SURPRISINGLY, THE COUNTRY HAS WITNESSED THE EMERGENCE OF SUPPLIERS WHO HAVE NO FINANCIAL AND TECHNICAL CAPACITY TO MEET MARKET DEMAND. THIS HAS RESULTED IN SHORTAGES OF ESSENTIAL GOODS SUCH AS MEDICAL SUPPLIES AND FARMING INPUTS. SOME OF THESE NEW ENTRANTS HAVE BEEN TRACED BACK TO UPND SYMPATHISERS AND LEADERS. SO, THE SUSPICION THAT COMPANIES THAT SUPPLIED GOVERNMENT PRIOR TO THE ELECTIONS WERE PF COMPANIES IS ACTUALLY A PRODUCT OF THEIR OWN DEEDS.

DURING THE YEAR UNDER REVIEW WE WITNESSED THE HARRASMENT OF SMES, WHERE THEIR MOBILE PHONE BOOTHS WERE FORCIBLY REMOVED.

WE ALSO WITNESSED BIG BUSINESSES BEING HARRASSED.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
IT IS NOT SURPRISING THAT SEVEENTEEN LONG MONTHS AFTER FORMING GOVERNMENT, MR HAKAINDE IS STILL BLAMING THE PF FOR THE POOR PERFORMANCE OF THE ECONOMY. I SAY NOT SURPRISING BECAUSE THOSE OF US WHO HAVE KNOWN THE MAN FOR MANY YEARS KNOW HIM AS A MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER AND NOT A PERFORMER. WE KNEW THEN WHAT MORE ZAMBIANS ARE COMING TO KNOW NOW: THAT THE MAN BELIEVES HIS OWN DELUSIONS. REMEMBER THE FOLLOWING STRONG PROMISES:

I. VOTE FOR ME AT 10HRS, WE ARE SWORN IN AT 12HRS, AT 14HRS THE DOLLAR WILL BE K 10
II. PETROL PRICES WILL REDUCE TO K12 PER LITRE BECAUSE PF MIDDLEMEN ARE STEALING K3 PER LITRE
III. MEALIE MEAL SHALL COST K 50 PER BAG
IV. EVERY FARMER SHALL RECEIVE 8 BAGS OF FERTILISER
V. FARMERS WILL BE PAID K 250 PER BAG OF MAIZE.

COUNTRYMEN AND WOMEN,
THE POOR PERFORMING ECONOMY CAN BE DEMONSTRATED BY THE BASIC NEEDS AND NUTRITIONAL BASKET WHICH STOOD AT THE HIGHEST OF OVER K9,400 A FEW MONTHS AGO.

THE DEAFENING SILENCE AND LACK OF SHOPPING AND CELEBRATION ACTIVITIES DURING THIS FESTIVE SEASON IS A BIG TESTIMONY OF THE SERIOUS ECONOMIC CHALLENGES OUR PEOPLE ARE FACING.

THE COST OF LIVING IS AT ITS HIGHEST EVER. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A TIME IN THE HISTORY OF ZAMBIA WHEN A BAG OF MEALIE MEAL COSTED 20% OF THE LOWEST SALARY. TODAY THAT IS THE CASE WITH REGARD TO THE REVISED MINIMUM WAGE OF A DOMESTIC WORKER.

2. STATE OF GOVERNANCE

WE HAVE WITNESSED THE WANTON ABUSE OF STATE INSTITUTIONS AS SEEN DURING THE KABUSHI, KWACHA AND LUSANGAZI BY-ELECTIONS. WE IN THE PF WERE UNRELENTED IN STANDING BY OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO FIELD OUR ADOPT CANDIDATES. AGAINST ALL ODDS WE WERE TREATED TO A VERY SHOCKING SITUATION WERE TWO COURTS OF THE SAME JUDICIARY DELIVERED CONFLICTING JUDGEMENTS ON THE SAME MATTER AND ON THE SAME DAY. WE WERE ALSO RUDELY SHOCKED TO BE TREATED TO A RAPIDLY CONVENED ELECTION PROCESS WHICH LEFT US OUT OF THE RACE.

WE WERE MORE SHOCKED TO SEE PEOPLE CELEBRATING A VICTORY WHICH WAS FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES A ONE-HORSE RACE. THE VIOLENCE THAT WE WITNESSED IN VARIOUS BY ELECTIONS AND THE VIOLENT INHIBITION OF OUR CANDIDATES FROM FILING NOMINATIONS AS HAPPENED IN SOUTHERN PROVINCE CALLS FOR US IN THE PF AND ALL OTHER DEMOCRACY LOVING CITIZENS TO BRACE OURSELVES FOR THE ARMOUR THAT IS NEEDED TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS TO VOTE FOR CANDIDATES OF OUR CHOICE. THIS WILL NOT COME EASILY. WE NEED TO BE RESILIENT AND FIRM.

WE HAVE ALSO SEEN THE ABUSE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES WHERE THEY HAVE BEEN TURNED INTO TOOLS OF OPPRESSION AND HARRASSMENT AGAINST THE OPPOSITION.
DURING THE YEAR UNDER REVIEW UNDER THE WATCH OF MR HAKAINDE, WE WITNESSED SEVERAL CITIZENS BEING ARRESTED AND DETAINED FOR AS LONG AS FOURTEEN DAYS WHEN THE LAW LIMITS SUCH DETAINTION TO FORTY EIGHT HOURS.

WE WITNESSED HOW SEVERAL GIRLS COULD BE ABDUCTED AND NOT BE TRACED FOR MONTHS ON END ONLY TO BE RESCUED BY ALERT NEIGHBOURHOOD YOUTHS WHO LATER BECAME VICTIMS OF THREATS OF THE SAME AGENCIES THAT SHOULD HAVE THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATED THE ABDUCTIONS IN THE FIRST PLACE. WE WERE SHOCKED TO HEAR THAT SUCH A HEINOUS CRIME AS ABDUCTION AND SEXUAL SLAVERY WAS REFERRED TO AS GENDER-BASED-VIOLENCE.

THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION HAS BEEN TURNED INTO A PROGRAMME TO DESTROY AND SILENCE SENIOR LEADERS OF THE OPPOSITION AND THOSE FEARED TO BE BUSINESS COMPETITORS. FOR EXAMPLE, WE WERE SHOCKED TO HEAR PRESIDENT HAKAINDE HIS CHRISTMAS MOTIVATIONAL RALLY, WHEN APPOINTING OFFICERS OF STATE WARNING THAT YOU WILL SEE WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE KCM MATTER. WE WERE DISTURBED BY THIS WARNING BECAUSE IT CLEARLY SHOWS THAT MR HAKAINDE WILL NOT STOP AT ANYTHING TO DIRECT THE OPERATIONS OF EVEN STATE OFFICES THAT ARE SACROSANCT.

MR HAKAINDE YESTERDAY HAD THE TIME TO CELEBRATE WHAT HE TERMS AS THE ABOLISHMENT OF THE DEATH PENALTY. IT IS EITHER HE IS ILL INFORMED BY HIS ADVISORS OR HE HAS A HIDDEN AGENDA UNDER HIS SLEEVE. WE SAY THIS BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT OUGHT TO KNOW THAT THE DEATH PENALTY EXISTS IN ARTICLE 12 WHICH STATES AS FOLLOWS “ A PERSON SHALL NOT BE DEPRIVED OF HIS LIFE INTENTIONALLY EXCEPT IN EXECUTION OF THE SENTENCE OF A COURT IN RESPECT OF A CRIMINAL OFFENCE UNDER THE LAW IN FORCE IN ZAMBIA OF WHICH HE HAS BEEN CONVICTED.”

NOW ARTICLE 1 SUB-ARTICLE 4 OF THE SAME CONSTITUTION STATES AS FOLLOWS “THE VALIDITY OR LEGALITY OF THIS CONSTITUTION IS NOT SUBJECT TO CHALLENGE BY OR BEFORE A STATE ORGAN OR OTHER FORUM”

THE VITAL PROVISIONS OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS OF WHICH ARTICLE 12 IS A PART CAN ONLY BE AMENDED BY WAY OF A REFERENDUM.

THE QUESTION IS: WHAT AUTHORITY DOES MR HAKAINDE HAVE TO CHALLENGE THE VALIDITY OF ARTICLE 12?

MR HAKAINDE HAS SIMPLY AMENDED THE PENAL CODE TO MAKE THE DEATH PENALTY NON-MANDATORY. HE HAS NOT ABOLISHED THE DEATH PENALTY. HE HAS TO BE SINCERE WITH HIMSELF AND WITH THE NATION. SUCH GYMNASTICS WITH THE FEELINGS OF THE PEOPLE WILL LEAD HIM NOWHERE.

BY THE WAY, HE SHOULD BE REMINDED THAT THE LAST TIME THERE WAS A WARRANT OF EXECUTION SIGNED BY ANY PRESIDENT IN ZAMBIA WAS 28YEARS AGO. ZAMBIA HAS BEEN A DEFACTO ABOLITIONIST COUNTRY FOR ALL THIS LONG. ALL SUCCESSIVE PRESIDENTS FROM LEVY MWANAWASA WANTED THE DEATH PENALTY ABOLISHED. HOWEVER, THEY UNDERSTOOD THAT THEY COULD ONLY DO SO MEANINGFULLY AND TRUTHFULLY BY AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION THROUGH A PEOPLE CENTRED REFERENDUM NOT BY DECREE.

ACTUALLY, NEED I REMIND MR HAKAINDE THAT HE WAS THE MAIN SPONSOR OF THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE REFERENDUM TO AMEND THE BILL OF RIGHTS IN 2016. HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR HIS UNFETTERED APPETITE FOR POLITICAL RHETORIC THE BILL OF RIGHTS COULD HAVE BEEN AMENDED IN 2016.

WE ARE ALSO AWARE THAT THE REPEAL OF THE LAW AGAINST THE DEFAMATION OF THE PRESIDENT IS ANOTHER PUBLIC RELATIONS STINT. WE SAY THIS ON THE BACKDROP OF THE FACT THAT MORE CITIZENS HAVE BEEN ARRESTED FOR ALLEDGEDLY DEFAMING PRESIDENT HAKAINDE THAN ANY OF HIS PREDECESSORS NOT WITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT HE HAS BEEN PRESIDENT FOR ONLY SEVEENTEEN MONTHS. AT THIS STAGE ALL WE CAN SAY IS WATCH THE SPACE. LET US WAIT AND SEE HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE BEFORE ANOTHER CITIZEN IS ARRESTED FOR EXPRESSING OPINIONS NOT IN THE LIKING OF HIS KEEPERS.

3. THE HEALTH SECTOR

THE HEALTH SECTOR HAS LITERALLY COLLAPSED. THE SHORTAGES OF MEDICINES, MEDICAL SUPPLIES AND LABORATORY RE-AGENTS HAS GONE ON FOR OVER A YEAR NOW.

THIS WAS CONFIRMED BY THE REPORT ON MEDICINE AND MEDICAL SUPPLIES SHORTAGES COUNTRY-WIDE BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT.

WHAT SADDENS US ARE THE CONTINOUS DENIALS BY GOVERNMENT DESPITE THE AVAILABILITY OF ABUNDANT VERIFIABLE INFORMATION ON THE CRISIS.

THE COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED THAT AVAILABILITY OF HIV/AID AND TB DRUGS AND VACCINES STOOD AT 53.1% CONTRARY TO THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION’S MINIMUM RECOMMENDATIONS OF 70-80%. ACTUALLY ALL THESE DRUGS WERE DONATIONS. THE AVAILABILTY OF 13 ESSENTIAL DRUGS ARE AT 23%.

THEY MAY HAVE ENLISTED 11,000 PEOPLE FOR RECRUITMENT IN THE HEALTH SECTOR, HOWEVER OF WHAT USE ARE THEY IF THEY HAVE NO FACILITIES AND DRUGS WITH WHICH TO ADDRESS THE HEALTH NEEDS OF THE SICK?

HERE AGAIN THE SHORTAGES OF DRUGS ARE BECAUSE OF THE ZEAL TO GET RID OF SO-CALLED PF COMPANIES FROM THE SUPPLY CHAIN AND TO REPLACE THEM WITH OTHERS, WHO IN MANY INSTANCES LACK THE REQUISITE EXPERIENCE AND CAPACITY.

FOR THE SAKE OF POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY MANY LIVES HAVE BEEN LOST DURING THIS CRISIS?

AT WHOSE MAKING HAVE THESE INNOCENT LIVES BEEN LOST?

4. AGRICULTURE SECTOR

SIMILAR TO THE CRISIS IN THE HEALTH SECTOR, THE AGRICULTURE IS ALSO AT THE BRINK OF COLLAPSING.

THE FARMING SEASON OPENED IN OCTOBER 2022 AND YET FARMING INPUTS HAVE NOT BEEN DELIVERED IN FULL.

WHILE THE FISP PROGRAMME PLEGDED TO DELIVER FARMING INPUTS TO
1, 024,000 SMALL-HOLDER BENEFICIARIES, THE FARMERS HAVE BEEN FORCED TO SHARE FERTILISER AND SEEDS IN MEDAS. A DISGRACE DEVELOPMENT THAT HAS NEVER OCCURRED IN OUR COUNTRY BEFORE. THIS IS AGAINST THE PROMISE THAT EACH FARMER WILL BE PROVIDED 8 BAGS OF FERTILISER EACH.

YES, IT IS EASY TO CONDEMN AND EQUALLY EASY TO APPORTION BLAME ON OTHERS FOR YOUR FAILURE. THE PF HAPPENS TO BE THE DEFENCELESS VICTIM OF MR HAKAINDE’S BLAME GAME. HE HAD AUGUST 2021 TO MAY 2022 TO GET RID OF ALL THOSE WHOM HE CONSIDERED TO BE CORRUPT SUPPLIERS OF INPUTS TO AN EXTENT THAT HE FLOATED TENDERS IN JUNE 2022. IN AUGUST THE PROCESS WAS CANCELED ALLDGEDLY BECAUSE OF CORRUPTION THAT THEY HAD DISCOVERED. THEY THEN AWARDED CONTRACTS IN LESS THAN A TRANSPARENT MANNER. WE HEAR THAT SOME OF THE COMPANIES THAT HAD BEEN EXCLUDED FROM THE INITIAL TENDER WHERE QUITELY BROUGHT BACK ON BOARD. THE OUTCOME HAS BEEN THE MOST SHAMBOLICK FISP YEAR. BESIDES THE INPUTS BEING DELIVERED WITH LONG DELAY, THEIR COSTS HAVE BECOME UNTENABLE FOR MOST FARMERS.

THE PROMISE OF 8 BAGS HAS BECOME A SOURCE OF ANGUISH AND STARVATION FOF THE MAJORITY FARMERS. NEXT YEAR A BAG OF MAIZE WILL TRULY FETCH THE COST OF K 250 AS PROMISED BY MR HAKAINDE DURING HIS CAMPAIGN. HOWEVER, THIS WILL NOT BE AS A RESULT OF MR HAKAINDE’S DESIRE BUT BY HIS MISMANAGEMENT OF THE FISP AND THE AGRICULTURE SECTOR IN GENERAL. YES, WE HEARD HIM MAKE PROMISES THAT IT WILL BE HANDLED BETTER NEXT YEAR. HOWEVER, WHAT WILL HE DO TO CUSHION ALL THE CITIZENS FROM THE HIGH COST OF FOOD NEXT YEAR?

5. THE ENERGY SECTOR

THE LAST TIME THAT ZAMBIA INVESTED IN POWER GENERATION BEFOR THE PF FORMED GOVERNMENT WAS IN 1977 WHEN THE KARIBA NORTH BANK WAS COMMISSINED BRINGING ZAMBIA’S GENERATION CAPACITY TO 1,600 MW. DURING THE TEN YEARS 2011 TO 2021 THE PF GOVERNMENT COMMISSIONED VARIOUS POWER GENERATION PLANTS AND MORE THAN DOUBLED THE CAPACITY TO 3,456MW.

THE CURRENT NATIONAL DEMAND AT PEAK IS UNDER 2,300 MEGAWATTS. WITHOUT THE VISIONARY LEADERSHIP OF THE PF, ZAMBIA SHOULD HAVE BEEN FACED WITH AN ERNOURMOUS POWER DEFICIT. WITH THE INCREASE OF POWER GENERATION TO 3,456 MW MR HAKAINDE WAS RIGHT TO HAVE DECLARED THAT THEY WOULD BE NO MORE LOAD SHEDDING IN ZAMBIA AFTER HE COMMISSIONED THE KAFUE GORGE LOWER HYDRO POWER STATION.

THE QUESTION TO AS NOW IS WHY HAS ZESCO ANNOUNCED THAT THERE SHALL BE LOAD SHEDDING NOW?

THE ONLY REASON ZAMBIANS ARE BEING LOAD-SHEDDED IS BECAUSE OF THE EXPORT COMMITMENT THAT ZESCO HAS WITH NEIGHBOURING STATES. YOU ALL HEARD THE PRESIDENT SAYING THAT TO SAVE FUTURE PURCHASES OF POWER FROM OTHER COUNTRIES, HE WILL HAVE TO ALLOW FOR ZAMBIA TO UNDERGO LOAD SHEDDING. MR HAKAINDE’S UNDERATNDING OF GOVERNANCE IS VERY DISTURBING. IF ALL THE SME’S AND OTHER INDUSTRIES SHUT DOWN NOW DURING THE LOAD SHEDDING PERIOD, WHO WILL RECAPITILISE THEM WHEN GENERATION INCREASES?

WE URGE ZESCO TO SUSPEND POWER EXPORTS UNTIL WATER LEVELS IN KARIBA NORMALISES BY MARCH 2023.

6. THE CDF

SINCE THE CDF IS THE SIGNAL TUNE OF THE UPND, I CAN NOT END MY REVIEW OF 2022 WITHOUT MENTIONING A WORD OR TWO ABOUT IT.

WHEN WE SAID THAT THE ENHANCED CDF WAS A HOAX AND A FUSS, WE WERE SAID TO BE NAÏVE AND ENVIOUS. LAST YEAR WHEN THE ENHACEMENT WAS ANNOUNCED WE RAISED THE FOLLOWING CONCERNS AMONG OTHERS:

I. THAT THE AMOUNT WOULD NOT BE RELEASED IN FULL IN ANY SINGLE YEAR;
HOW MUICH OF THIS MONEY HAS BEEN UTILISED? BY THE GOVERNMENT’S OWN ADMISSION ONLY 4% HAS BEEN UTILISED BY DECEMBER 2022.

II. THAT THE CDF WAS TAKING AWAY RESOURCES FROM PROJECTS MEANT TO BE UNDERTAKEN BY SPECIFIC LINE MINISTRIES;
TRUE TO OUR WARNING, THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT ISSUED A CIRCULAR TO TOWN CLERKS ON 27TH DECEMBER IN WHICH HE IS DIRECTING THAT EVERY CONSTITUENCY MUST PROCURE THE FOLLOWING USING THE 2023 CDF:

A. POLICE MOTOR VEHICLES AT A COST OF K1M;
B. SCHOOL DESKS;
C. CONSTRUCTION AND REHABILITATION OF MATERNITY WINGS;
D. PROVISION OF IMPROVED WATER AND SANITATION SYSTEMS IN PUBLIC FACILITIES;
E. PROVISION OF ELECTRICITY WITH K1M RINGFENCED;
F. PROVISION OF SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT;
G. PROCUREMENT OF AMBULANCES
H. CDF RADIO SHOURS AT LEAST ONE HOUR PER WEEK AND
I. CONSTRUCTION OF AT LEAST ONE CHEIFS PALACE.

ARE THESE NOT CAPITAL PROJECTS MEANT TO BE UNDERTAKEN BY SPECIFIC LINE MINISTRIES WHO HAVE SPECIALISED PERSONNEL?

III. THAT THE CDF IS NOT THE SUITABLE VEHICLE TO USE FOR FISCAL DECENTRALISATION;
DO THE INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE MINISTER ON THE UTILISATION OF THE CDF CONSTITUTE DECENTRALISATION?

IV. THAT THE SYSTEM OF LOCAL GOVERNANCE FROM THE MINISTRY TO DISTRICTS WAS NOT CAPACITATED ENOUGH TO HANDLE SUCH AMOUNTS OF MONEY

TRUE TO OUR FEARS, IN ANOTHER CIRCULAR ALSO DATED 27TH DECEMBER, 2022 AND THROUGH GAZETTE NOTICE NO. 1683 OF 2022, THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT HAS PURPORTED TO HAVE DELEGATED THE FUNCTION OF APPROVING OF CDF APPLICATIONS TO PROVINCIAL LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICERS.

WHEN HAVE STATUTORY FUNCTIONS OF A MINISTER EVER BEEN DELEGATED TO A TECHNOCRAT? DOES THE CDF ACT OF 2018 ENVISAGE SUCH AN ARRANGEMENT?

V. THAT THE ENHANCED CDF WILL CREATE CONFLICT OF ROLES OF MPS FROM BEING BOTH IMPLEMENTORS OR SUPERVISORS OF LARGE GOVERNMENT PROJECTS TO PROVIDING OVERSIGHT FUNCTIONS AS LEGISLATORS.

AGAIN TRUE TO OUR FEARS, MPS NOW MUST BE ENGAGED IN SUPERVISING LARGE GOVERNMENT PROJECTS INSTEAD OF PROVIDING OVERSIGHT ROLES.

VI. THAT THE ENHANCED CDF WILL TAKE AWAY THE INTENTION OF ESTABLISHING THE FUND, NAMELY FOR MPS AND THEIR COMMUNITIES TO SUPPLEMENT GOVERNMENT’S EFFORTS ON COMMUNITY BASED PROJECTS

INCIDENTALLY THE TWO CIRCULARS I HAVE REFERRED TO WERE ONLY COPIED TO PROVINCIAL PERMANENT SECRETARIES, PLGOS, TOWN CLERKS AND DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS AT THE EXCLUSION OF THE MPS.

7. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

DURNG THE YEAR UNDER REVIEW WE WITNESSED A NUMBER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS ENGAGEMENTS WHICH WERE NOT EXPLAINED AND REMAIN SUSPICIOUS.

1. THERE WAS THE CELEBRATION OF ZAMBIA HAVING STRUCK A BAIL OUT PACKAGE WITH THE IMF WITHIN A VERY SHORT SPACE OF TIME.
WHEN THIS WAS DONE, WE IN THE PF WERE REDICULED FOR HAVING FAILED TO ARRIVE AT AN AGREEMENT OVER A PERIOD OF SEVEN YEARS. WE EXPLAINED THEN THAT SOME OF THE CONDITIONALITIES WHICH THE IMF WERE ATTACHING TO THE AGREEMENT SUCH AS THE REMOVAL OF SUBSIDIES FROM FUEL AND FARMING INPUTS AND EFFECTING COST REFLECTIVE TARRIFFS ON ELECTRICTY WERE NOT ACCEPTABLE.

NOW WE ARE SUSPCIOUS TO READ THE CIRCULAR DATED 27TH DECEMBER FROM THE MINISTRY OF ENERGY TO OMCS STATING THAT THE 25% CUSTOMS/IMPORT DUTY WILL BE FREE FROM THE CURRENT 25%.

THE QUESTION IS WHAT HAS HAPPENED FOR THE IMF TO RENEGE ON THE CONDITIONALITIES THAT THEY WERE INSISTING ON? WHAT IS THE QUOD PRO QUO?

2. THERE ALSO WAS A VISIT BY THE PRESIDENT TO SOUTH AFRICA WHERE HE WENT TO ATTEND THE LAUNCH OF A BOOK THAT HAS VERY LITTLE SIGNAIFICANCE FOR ZAMBIA. SURPRISINGLY THIS LAUNCH WAS ATTENDED MOSTLY BY LEADERS OF OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTIES FROM OUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES.

HOW CAN THE PERSONAL RELATIONS OF THE PRESIDENT OF ZAMBIA BE ALLOWED TO INTERFERE WITH THE COUNTRY’S RELATIONS WITH HER FRIENDLY NATIONS?

3. THEN IT WAS A MEETING AT THE LOWER ZAMBEZI WHICH WAS SOON FOLLOWED BY AN ANNOUCEMENT BY ONE OF THE PARTICIPANTS THAT ZAMBIA AND AMERICA HAD ENTERED INTO AN MOU FOR ZAMBIA TO HOST THE AFRICOM.
ZAMBIA HAS FOR A LONG TIME MAINTAINED THE POLICY OF NON-ALIGNMENT. WE HAVE NOT ALLOWED ANY SUPER POWER TO DICTATE WHO OUR FRIENDS OR ENEMIES SHOULD BE. ALL PREVIOUS ZAMBIAN PRESIDENTS HAVE BEEN IN AGREEMENT WITH THE FELLOW SADC AND AFRICAN PRESIDENTS ABOUT NOT ALLOWING ANY SUPER POWERS TO USE THE AFRICAN SOIL TO ADVANCE THEIR MILITARY ACTIVITIES. WHY IS IT THAT NOW MR HAKAINDE FINDS IT PRUDENT TO ALLOW THE US TO SET UP SUCH AN ENTERPRISE ESPECIALLY WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE CITZENS?

4. THIS WAS FOLLOWED BY AN ANNOUNCEMENT BY TONY BLAIR INSTITUTE THAT THEY ENTERED INTO AN AGREEMENT TO PROVIDE SUPPORT SERVICES TO THE ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT.
WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT SERVICES IS A FOREIGN FOUNDATION TOGETHER WITH THE BRENDTHURST FOUNDATION RENDERING AT ZAMBIA’S APEX OFFICE OF STATE HOUSE? HOW SAFE IS OUR SOVERIEGNITY WHEN FOREIGN ENTITIES ARE FREELY INTERFERING WITH OUR SENIOR MOST POLICY MAKERS?

5. THEN WE READ HOW REPUBLICAN SENATOR JIM RISCH FROM IDAHO, HAS AN ADMIRATION FOR PRESIDENT HAKAINDE WHO HE SAID IS AT THE CENTRE OF WORKING HARD TO ‘CURB CHINA’S MALIGN AND PREDATORY INFLUENCE IN ZAMBIA, AS WELL AS INCREASE COOPERATION WITH THE US.”

ZAMBIA HAS ALWAYS MAINTAINED AN OPEN TRADE AND ECONOMIC POLICY WITHOUT ANY ALIGNMENT. WHAT IS IN IT FOR ZAMBIA TO SIDE WITH A PARTICULAR SUPER POWER AT THE EXCLUSION OF OTHERS?

WE HAVE RECENTLY SEEN OVER-RELIANCE ON THE WEST TO THE EXCLUSION OF CHINA AND OTHER BRICS MEMBER STATES SUCH AS RUSSIA, INDIA AND BRAZIL. THIS IS A SOURCE OF SERIOUS CONCERN. WE THEREFORE URGE THE PRESIDENT TO DENOUNCE THE STATEMENT BY SENATOR RISCH AND TO EXPLAIN HIMSELF ON THIS MATTER.

6. THEN IT WAS THE SIGNING OF THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN ZAMBIA AND CONGO ON ONE HAND AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ON THE OTHER CONCERNING THE BATTERY VALUE CHAIN.

WHEN WAS A PUBLIC TENDER ISSUED TO INVITE INTERESTED ENTITIES TO PRESENT THEIR BIDS IN MANAGING THE VEHICLE BATTERY VALUE CHAIN?
WHEN WAS A DUE DILIGENCE DONE WHICH STATED THAT THE US IS THE MOST SUITED TO MANAGE OUR MINERALS WHICH ARE REQUIRED IN THE BATTERY VALUE CHAIN?

WE THEREFORE URGE THE PRESIDENT TO PRESENT THE AGREEMENT FOR PARLIAMENT SCRUTINY.

6. BEFORE LONG WE HEARD FROM ONE MP WHO HAS BEEN ON A NUMBER OF TOURS WITH THE PRESIDENT SAYING HOW PRESIDENT HAKAINDE’S SECURITY DETAIL IS TRAINED BY THE CIA.

WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT SUCH REVELATIONS AS THESE EXPOSE OUR NATIONAL SECURITY AND THAT OF INDIVIDUALS ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO MAY APPEAR TO BE OPPOSED TO THE POLICIES OF THE COUNTRIES THAT ARE SAID TO BE TRAINING THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT’S SECURITY DETAIL.

IT IS OUR CONSIDERED CONCERN THAT PRESIDENT HAKAINDE’S APPROACH TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS IS A SERIOUS THREAT TO ZAMBIA’S SOVERIEGNITY.

IN CONCLUSION, I WISH TO STATE THAT WE ARE HERE TODAY BECAUSE, AGAINST THE DREAMS AND DESIRES OF THE UPND AND OTHERS LIKE THEM THE PF IS NOT DEAD, IT IS FULLY ALIVE AND IS READY TO PROVIDE EVEN BETTER NATIONAL LEADERSHIP THAN EVER BEFORE.

GOD BLESS ZAMBIA
GOD BLESS US ALL AND I WISH ALL OF YOU A

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