Hichilema seeks legal redress over First Lady’s K1.5 billion illegal allocation

Hichilema seeks legal redress over First Lady’s K1.5 billion illegal allocation

UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has said his party will drag government to court over the allocation of K1.5 billion to the First Lady’s office.

At a press briefing, Hichilema said the money allocated to the First Lady’s office could pay farmers that have supplied maize but not yet paid.

But PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba said the action is misguided. Kabimba who is also justice minister, and once sued former First Lady Thandiwe Banda for merely carrying out community work, said Parliament passed the vote to which UPND members of parliament contributed.

He said there is nothing controversial about the allocation.

Opposition members of parliament opposed the allocation to the first lady but were defeated by the PF majority that combined with compromised MMD MPs serving as ministers.

Hichilema has also said the PF government has lamentably failed to handle the maize marketing season.

Hichilema said the government should not be blaming millers to have caused the shortage but themselves. He said despite recording a bumper harvest the maize marketing season has been mismanaged

He said people sold maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) but that farmers are still not yet paid for the maize they supplied. He said even smuggling at Kasumbalesa border with the Democratic Republic of Congo has always been there and the traders always deal in smaller quantities that cannot create market distortions of shortage that the country has experienced.

He advised the government to put their house in order and rectify the problem. He also denied government assurances that the problem has been resolved on the Copperbelt which has seen mealie meal prices sky-rocket fro K45, 000 to between K75, 000 and K80, 000 per 25 kg bag.

Hichilema said he had visited Copperbelt this week and found that the situation was worse on the ground as people have been deprived of the staple food.

Copperbelt has been experiencing shortage of mealie meal for some time now and this has created soaring prices that has become unbearable for ordinary Zambians.

The shortage has been experienced despite the country experiencing bumper harvest for the previous farming seasons. He further called on government to solve the load shedding problem

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