UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has challenged President Michael Sata to feature on a live television debate with him on the merits and demerits of subsidies on essential commodities.
Mr. Hichilema said a debate with President Sata would help settle the debate on the removal of subsidies.
“I want him to face me on national TV and radio and we debate this issue conclusively. They cannot continue cheating people that this subsidy removal was meant to benefit the poor people. This is part of the lies,” Mr. Hichilema said.
He told a media briefing in Lusaka today that the UPND leadership is ready to debate the issue with other PF leaders.
“We want Mr. Kabimba to square it off with Mr. Kapita or with Dr. Banda here and see who will convince the Zambians,” Mr. Hichilema said.
He observed that the Ministers and their Deputies who have been dispatched across the country to explain the issue of subsidies are gobbling millions of Kwacha.
Mr. Hichilema maintained that subsidies are a permanent fixture of any economy world over.
“Subsidies are a necessary cost. They help repair the distortions that are inherent in any economy. There are always people that cannot just be employed due to factors such as disabilities and those people need to be helped through subsidies.”
He added, “I lived in the UK myself, I worked and studied in Birmingham and London and the poor people there get unemployment benefits. These things are everywhere.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Hichilema has confirmed that nine UPND members died in a road traffic accident at Kavaramanja near Feira last evening.
He said the party is touched by the loss of lives and extended condolences to the families of the dead members.
The UPND press briefing also observed a meeting of silence in honour of the deceased.