During the 20th September, 2011 tripartite elections, the Zambian electorate gave the mandate to run the affairs of government to Mr. Sata and the Patriotic Front (PF). We in the UPND have no quarrel with that decision and we were among the first parties to offer Mr. Sata and the Patriotic Front (PF) congratulations.
Zambia has a multi-party democracy and those who are not in government are assigned the democratic role of offering checks and balances.
Checks and balances are necessary in any functioning democracy. The opposition are not ‘vuvuzelas’ or praise singers for the ruling party. Their role is to offer viable alternatives, constructive criticism and high lighting short comings of government. This ladies and gentlemen of the press should not be misconstrued to be bitterness, envy or jealousy….. it is checks and balances. UPND has no room for bitterness, envy or jealousy. These evil vices we have left for weaker souls and average minds.
The nation must not forget how those in government today have behaved in the past after elections. The nation is fully aware that the Patriotic Front (PF) was born out of bitterness. After Mr. Sata lost to Dr. Mwanawasa in an MMD intra-party election, he because of frustration and bitterness formed the Patriotic Front (PF). We will also not forget how Mr. Sata behaved after he had lost 2001, 2006 and the 2008 Presidential elections. Footage is there to show that Mr. Sata suffered from a serious bout of bitterness, envy and jealousy. A wise man said, ‘when you point one finger at someone, four are pointing back at you.’ Mr. Sata and his cohorts who have been alleging that we are bitter must seriously reflect on this.
The UPND will not shy away from the important role of offering checks and balances. UPND will not abdicate from this democratic role, like some opposition parties have. For ‘thirty pieces’ of silver, some opposition parties have become surrogate parties of the Patriotic Front (PF) and are being treated to international trips by Mr. Sata at tax payers expense.
The UPND is greatly concerned and shocked by Mr. Sata’s recently acquired appetite to travel. Soon after his inauguration, Mr. Sata made a pledge to the nation that he would travel less in order to save resources. Like all his other election pledges, Mr. Sata has abandoned his promise to save money and has become the ‘kamwendo munjila’…. ever on the move, traversing the globe and only visiting Zambia during by-elections.
We have also noted with sadness, the huge delegations that Mr. Sata is carrying with him on these international trips. Our audit of these trips reveals that some members on these delegations are not government officials and do not possess any expertise required at these international conferences, apart from the ‘expertise’ of being Mr. Sata’s relatives or relatives of some PF sympathizer.
During Dr. Mwanawasa’s Presidency, Mr. Sata criticized the appointment to government positions and referred to it as a family tree. Today, Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, Mr. Sata has exceeded all levels with regard to appointing relatives. What is currently obtaining under Mr. Sata’s administration is a family forest.
For instance, Mr. Sata has appointed his brother-in-marriage (Chufi) to the position of Secretary to the Treasury, his uncle to the position of Finance Minister and his nephew as Deputy Finance Minister. It is evident that all senior positions looking after our finances have been given to relatives. This is the highest level of nepotism (a special form of corruption) that our country has ever seen. This is a pure wako ni wako government.
Why has Mr. Sata appointed relatives to manage the country’s purse? Is this the best way to fight corruption and financial scandals? Zambia belongs to all of us and should not be run like a kantemba.
It will not be right for me to end this address without addressing a pertinent issue affecting the majority of our people – unemployment. During the run-up to the 2011 elections, PF’s battle cry was ‘more money in the pockets and more jobs.’ It is sad that an entire year is coming to an end under this administration and there are no signs of jobs. The only signs hanging on company premises are those written “palibe Nchito”.
Recently, 13 of our brothers and sisters died in Mpulungu during a stampede at Great Lakes Product Company whilst fighting to be employed as Casual Workers. Mr. Sata did not even call a national mourning for our people. We are also aware that sick people in Mpulungu have been discharging themselves from hospital to go and search for employment.
In Livingstone recently, youths demonstrated against government because there were too few jobs to accommodate them during the Zamia Army recruitment exercise. I do not agree with Mr. Sata’s opinion that unemployment is a time bomb. Unemployment is a bomb that has already exploded and the casualties are with us today.
Unemployment can better be described as a Tsunami that has ravaged our country and has robbed our employable population of dignity and has created hopelessness especially among our youth. The solution to this problem lies in leadership that possesses the right skills, knowledge and experience in job creation. Mr. Sata must fold his sleeves and begin to demolish this ever growing mountain of unemployment or resign if he does not possess the skills to solve this problem. We demand that Mr. Sata treats this problem as a national emergency and quit his endless joy rides with his relatives and focus on providing relief to the unemployed. In fact unemployment should be declared as a national disaster.
Allow me to remind Mr. Sata that he was not voted into office to blame the MMD forever, of which he was a National Secretary and decision maker for ten (10) years. He was not voted into office tell us the history of the problem, nor the extent of the problem. Jobs, jobs, jobs… that is what we want Mr. Sata ! We want solutions and not perpetual allocation of blame.
UPND is also extremely concerned with the failure by Zesco to address persistent load shedding of electricity in various parts of the country. There has been massive inefficiency and ineffectiveness on the part of Zesco to deal with these load shedding of electricity which if not urgently addressed will erode investor confidence and hurt the economy.
Government has become unpopular among Zambians because of massive load shedding of electricity. This is tantamount to abuse of our citizens by the PF Government.
The load shedding of electricity in the country has become a burden to most families and business operations. This is traumatizing a lot of our citizens who are seriously inconvenienced by Zesco. It is absolutely inconceivable that the PF Government can wittingly remain mute over such a serious matter that undermines the well being of Zambians.
There is urgent need for Zesco to increase capacity in order to meet current and future power supply challenges if the much needed development of various vital economic sectors is to be realized. Increased electricity transmission capacity for Zambia will lead to economic expansion and growth in our economy.
A lot of efforts will need to be devised by Zesco to address rampant load shedding especially in Lusaka and Copperbelt.
We have also noted with great sadness that our institutions of higher learning are rocked with problems – The University of Zambia, Copperbelt University and Evelyn Hone College. The problems faced by these institutions are not acts of God. They are problems that are a result of lack of visionary leadership or lack of planning. Mr. Sata must provide leadership that is pro-active rather than reactive. These institutions require a leadership that will foresee a problem before it occurs rather than a leadership that will wait for the students to demonstrate before it moves in with solutions. We urge Mr. Sata to quickly find lasting solutions for our institutions to avert possible disruptions of academic calendars.
We are further shocked by the Minister of Finance Mr. Alexander Bwalya Chikwanda’s signing of Statutory Instrument number 33 that seeks to stop dollar transactions in the country. The statutory instrument number 33, in a typical donchi kubeba (cheating) manner, quotes from a piece of legislation, Bank of Zambia Act of 2012 which does not exist in our statute books. As UPND, it is our considered view that statutory instrument number 33 is illegal , inconsistent with constitution of Zambia and a potentially injurious policy. We demand that Finance Minister Alexander Bwalya Chikwanda suspends the statutory instrument number 33 of 2012 within the next seven (7) days or we will seek the courts for interpretation on the legality of this statutory instrument.
Lastly, Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, allow me to introduce to you the latest UPND member of Parliament for Livingstone Central Constituency, Reverend Howard Sikwela. Despite negative publicity from the PF magazine (the Post) the people of Livingstone overwhelmingly voted for the UPND.
In 2006 after a 45 days campaign period, we got 22 MPs.
In 2011, we picked up 28 members of Parliament and today we have grown to 30 members of Parliament. Clearly the party has made progress during my Presidency even though our critics and detractors will not acknowledge that. With this new addition, we intend to now grow faster than we have in the past five (5) years. Yes we will grow exponentially……. By leaps and bounds.
May I state at this point profound gratitude to the people of Livingstone for giving us such a landslide victory with almost 4,000 votes difference with the losing PF. We believe that the vote in Livingstone and Muchinga are a clear vote of no confidence in Mr. Sata and the PF’s leadership arising from their failure to deliver to the people of Zambia in accordance with their electoral promises. It has to be stated that the PF’s popularity is melting faster than they expected.
Additionally, we as UPND find it scandalous that the PF intend to petition their loss alleging widespread violence. It must be placed on record that their loss is as a result of Mr. Sata’s bad governance style, low respect for Zambians unconsultative unilaterial decisions, u-turning on key campaign promises such as the Barotseland Agreement, windfall tax and failure of the PF to give hope to the Zambians. These and other abuses of public office by the PF are the true reasons for the PF deserved loss, nothing else. PF’s allegation of widespread violence are totally unfounded and misplaced attempt to wash away their shame of losing after spending colossal sums of tax payers money trying to woo votes.
Thank you for listening and God bless you.