By: Anthony Bwalya
Let us be very clear, as the monumental 2021 general election draws nigh, the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) are all too aware, that they no longer command the uncoerced loyalty of the majority Zambian poor and thin middle class; the same support base that gave the PF and Michael their maiden political victory on the grand stage.
The PF have betrayed the hopes of the poor/middle-class, whom they promised MORE MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS, LOWER TAXES and ZERO CORRUPTION. Instead, the PF turned itself into an unprecedented looting machine for politicians and their private sector friends with focus having moved away from uplifting the welfare of the poor, and much towards the sharing of spoils in the form of public contracts, under the guise of “infrastructure development”, as well as positions awarded to cadres and friends of the party.
Under the PF regime, the poor/middle class are more poorer, hungrier, over taxed, with corruption the new public sector currency.
Infrastructure under the PF regime has been nothing but a vehicle for theft, plunder and looting. The infrastructure narrative has provided the perfect cover for the unhindered looting of over $12bn of debt money out of the total $20bn.
And while all this is going on, one Hakainde Hichilema has continued to endear himself to the popular Zambian cause as the inevitable Republican President in waiting.
This notion is reinforced by his CONSISTENT, RELENTLESS and always ACCURATE defence of the poor in the face of a political mafia cartel of the PF.
While the PF and their useless and hired surrogates in Edith, Sean, Andrew, Tayali and the rest of the insignificant bunch are all out maligning him, Hakainde Hichilema has taken a firm and clear position on the following issues:
1. Restoring leadership credibility in Zambia so that Zambia becomes a credible voice in global and regional leadership circles
2. Resolve the corruption fuelled $20bn debt crisis and put the country back to work
3. Resolve and dismantle the $3.5bn annual worth corruption cartel which continues to steal from Zambians
4. Reform and lower PAYE for maximum gains to workers
5. Reform PUBLIC PENSIONS and allow contributors partial access to pensions in real time to mitigate against the growing poverty trap
6. Improve the working conditions of health workers and restore the SERVICE YEARS lost when thousands of health workers were fired by the PF regime for merely speaking up
7. Lowering the price of the fuel pump price by cleaning up the fuel procurement/supply/distribution cycle and lower taxes on fuel
8. Lower the price of mealie meal by cutting the $500m annual fertilizer contracts and instead reinvest in NCZ so that we can produce fertilizer here in Zambia and create jobs for our youths
9. Restore meal allowances for university students and engage in conversation around expanding access to the same for other eligible students
10. Expand public education funding and put all the 50,000 trained and yet unemployed teachers to work.
11. Prioritizing healthcare funding and ensure availability of critical medicines and equipment for ordinary people
These are the kind of people centric commitments that are causing the PF regime and their surrogates panic and sleepless nights.
The UPND will not be drawn into playing cho-chise with PF surrogates, individuals with zero grassroots support base; whose only job is to make noise on behalf of the PF.
Sean will never be Republican President. Neither will Tayali, Edith or the rest of the insignificant bunch. And they know it. If these individuals had any belief in their ability to mobilize the grassroots and stage an actual claim to the Presidency, they would have been busy making their case to the Zambian people rather than going into the history books searching for ghosts that do not exist.
Zambians are marching forward and we will not be deterred.
This is bigger than the UPND and anyone who gets in the way of the people’s movement for change is fighting a battle they will never win.
Eventually, the people always win.