Opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has maintained that Zambia’s economy and governance affairs were being mismanaged under the PF government even going by simple economic and governance indicators and harsh conditions of life that people were currently being subjected to.
Reacting to president Michael Sata’s accusations yesterday that he was just a reckless rumour-monger and a speculative claimant about the economy and the growth of the country, Mr. Hichilema maintained that the country was headed for doom under the PF government.
“If Mr. Sata just picked the economic indicative data of 17 January 2014, he would discover that the Zambian currency was now worthless at K5,570 to 1USD while on the same day in 2010 (17.01.2010) before PF came into power it was K4,345 and on the same day during Levy Patrick Mwanawasa (MHSRIP) in 2006 it was K3,210 to 1USD,” he said.
Mr. Hichilema said these were just simple indicative economic data that the PF administration and Mr. Sata should admit even before going into details of other harsh global prevailing conditions in the past that other presidents at the time were facing.
“We know Mr. Sata has now found another safe hiding place and running the country through his Facebook page, but these are hard facts that importing capital goods currently is more expensive perhaps than anytime in the recent history,” Mr. Hichilema said.
He said Mr. Sata’s government promised more jobs, low taxes, and more money in people’s pockets but it is a fact that prices of essential commodities such as mealie meal, fuel, electricity and water tariffs, talk-time, transport and others were currently more expensive than the time they took over power contrary to what they cheated the people of Zambia.
On the challenge by State House to Mr. Hichilema to utilize Mr. Sata’s Facebook updates, the opposition leader said he welcomed the initiative of whoever was running government on behalf of Mr. Sata through his Facebook page because at least the country had now been served from some abusive language that is characteristic of each time Mr. Sata appeared in public himself.
“We all know Mr. Sata’s abusive and uncivil language in public, even to his own ministers and other public government officials whom he has publicly insulted in front of cameras. Whoever is running the country by writing those Facebook updates should probably be commended,” he said.
Mr. Hichilema jokingly said perhaps Zambia would now do well to send Mr. Sata’s Facebook page to represent the country at both local and international fora because there is some semblance of civil and sober language coming out there, despite churning out wrong economic data.
“And since he is hiding and running the country behind the computer keyboard, our challenge and hope now is that he allows some of us that want to freely travel and mingle with people in their localities and appreciate their problems do so unhindered by his law enforcement agencies,” Mr. Hichilema.
Mr Hichilema said even when he becomes president in 2016, he will continue to personally mingle and even share meals with people in their localities as a way of appreciating people’s challenges because that was part of his upbringing.
“I want to personally know and see for myself how people in Wusakile, Chamboli, Mandevu, Kalingalinga, etc. , and our poor rural farmers are coping with life other than merely relying on lies and praises from government officials like they are doing to Mr. Sata whom they are cheating that everything was alright. So he should not stop us from holding meetings in these places since he wants to enjoy the comforts of State House while someone is running the country on his behalf through his Facebook page,” he said.
Mr. Hichilema also challenged Mr. Sata and his PF administration to allow him and other political leaders, civil society organizations access to public media so that they can directly address people’s concerns and answer questions there and then.