Opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema told the people of Choma in Southern Province that the problems they were facing under the poor leadership of Michael Sata and his Patriotic Front (PF) were not unique to them but the whole country.
Hichilema, who took advantage of being in the area after appearing for some court cases addressed a mammoth rally on Monday, told the cheering crowd that Sata and his government had punished Zambians to a situation similar to the end of UNIP days.
“For those who were there, you know what happened during the end of UNIP days. We are back to those old bad and backward ways of doing things. Most of the farmers, not only here in Southern province, but the rest of the country have not been paid their money from Food Reserve Agency (FRA) because Mr. Sata has finished the money building his retirement home and paying his large number of cabinet ministers,” he said.
He said he was aware that most of the farmers have not received fertilizer and seeds across the country despite the rain season having started, yet Mr. Sata and his cabinet have given themselves hefty salaries and allowances and are always being paid on time.
“From my extensive travels, I know that there is not one area of this country that was not affected by Mr. Sata and the PF’s decision to punish us Zambians by removing fuel and maize subsidies. It is only Mr. Sata and his big cabinet that are enjoying subsidised and free meals, free fuel, yet they still give themselves 27 percent hefty salary increments when the rest of the poor nurses, teachers, and civil servant were only awarded 4 percent increment,” Mr. Hichilema told the crowd.
Hichilema said he knew Sata very well and his level of intellectual incapacity to grasp economical and national issues plus his intolerance to opposing views.
He said the problem Sata created in the country is thinking he was a semi-god who would be merely shouting in his usual style ‘let there be a hospital or road there’ and a something would emerge without even thinking and planning for it.
“The disease in this country is voting for expired politicians like Mr. Sata, who gives you Daniel Munkombwe (Southern province deputy minister) and hoping there can be a good harvest. You are farmers here like the rest of the country. Don’t plant expired seeds because what you will harvest will be retired crops like Mr. Sata and Munkombwe who belongings to the old crop of expired politicians in a country full of young and fresh minds,” Mr. Hichilema told the crowd.
He said he was not bothered by being on Mr. Sata’s lips all the time because he was telling Zambians the truth that the PF were a bunch of people that cheated their way into government.
“Let me tell you, there is no PF in Lusaka, Copperbelt, Eastern, Luapula, North-western, Northern and the rest of the country. You all saw what happened when Mr. Sata runaway from Lusaka thinking he would have a peaceful time on the Copperbelt during Independence Day celebrations. People there started booing and shouting at him. But as usual he cheated that it was HH and the UPND that were making noise. Of course the UPND is more popular on the Copperbelt now than his finished PF party, but the people there were complaining about hunger when he was cutting his fat cake and eating a lone,” Mr. Hichilema told the cheering crowd.
Mr. Hichilema told the crowd that Mr. Sata was always talking and thinking about him because he knows he (Mr. Hichilema) would do far much better than him.
“Whenever Mr. Sata is sleeping and dreaming, he wakes up thinking I am nearby, including in his cabinet meetings. His people tell me that he knows the UPND has the best brains and sound economic management policies for this country, unlike the changanya and trial and error type of economic mismanagement going on. And I am glad that we have finally been vindicated in all our messages. We talked about corruption in the PF, they arrested us saying we were inciting people but today they are talking about the massive corruption and tribal cliques in their government more than us in the opposition. I have even written Mr. Sata and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to speed-up corruption investigations as revealed by his own vice-president Guy Scott and Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba and have culprits arrested without interference like in the past,” he said.
He said it was sad that Mr. Sata and his finished party deliberately wanted to misrepresent his independence day message of shunning the event by making it a song everywhere.
“The truth is we have a different way of remembering our heroes on that important day in our nation’s history. I personally decided to have some time and share the little I could manage with some named hospice in Lusaka. I found vulnerable and orphaned children there that are suffering. I had some prayers with poor people and sick there while Mr. Sata was enjoying his fat cakes and lots wine drinks and t’bone with a few cadres that followed him wherever he went that day when majority of the people were suffering and starving,” he said.
Mr. Hichilema said it was as if he predicted that the whole event would be hijacked by PF slogans instead of promoting national unity and peace in the country.
“Can you imagine Mr. Sata now thinks he can gain some bit of popularity by toying first republican president Dr. Kenneth Kaunda everywhere. Sata thinks by parading and pulling Dr. Kaunda, he would gain some lost popularity. What was even shameful is that the old man was made to say things that were not building the nation at all. We expected Dr. Kaunda to always be rising above partisan lines so that all of us can seek some guidance from him. But he (Dr. Kaunda) ended-up insulting opposition leaders that attended, including Mr. Sata’s own ministers who were labeled fools by KK,” he said.
He said Dr. Kaunda was supposed to be a symbol of national building, reconciliation, peace and unity like many other statesmen of his type in the world, unlike the way Mr. Sata is degrading him by making him his walking stick.
“Dr. Kaunda has now become Mr. Sata’s walking stick. We don’t know what kind of leadership style Mr. Sata wants to learn from the old man who is supposed to belong to all of us like all freedom fighters of our land. Of course the country has memories of Dr. Kaunda’s leadership style, which Zambians rejected in 1991 and we are not ready to go back to that era of contesting with a frog when there was no mealie meal, no medicines and other drugs in hospitals,” Mr. Hichilema said.
He requested Dr. Kaunda to reclaim his father of the nation role in his retirement than trying to teach Mr. Sata the politics of oppression going by the statements he (Dr. Kaunda) issued against opposition leaders and Mr. Sata’s ministers.