UPND deputy secretary general administration Gertrude Imenda says the cost of living keeps rising because government officials are stealing.

Speaking on UNZA Radio’s Lusaka Star program, Tuesday, Imenda said inflation had continued going up because of theft and corruption in government.

“The high cost of living comes back to policies of the government. The way government is doing things. We saw our kwacha plummet from what it was in the yester years and when our kwacha goes up the cost of production goes up. Even lack of productivity. When you are producing less goods and so on, that also affects inflation. So we know that the inflation in this country has been up. The argument that inflation is a world phenomenon, how about other countries? How have they gone back to the proper situation? I recall during the time of president [Levy] Mwanawasa. There was a global financial crisis but because we had right policies in place, Zambia was not affected. We were not affected because we had the right policies. This time other countries have managed [their inflation]. They have gone back to the normal situation but with us it keeps going up and up because we keep on stealing money, we are corrupt. That’s the situation,” she said.

Asked on how UPND was planning on holding President Edgar Lungu accountable, Imenda said the President needed to be impeached.

“We have been speaking but he [President Lungu] is not listening. For me, I’m appealing to the members of parliament regardless of which party they come from, the President needs to be impeached. Let there be an impeachment motion in Parliament. If you are from PF and you have not been involved in stealing, why do you want to vote against that motion? When we come into power, we will hold those people accountable including President Lungu,” she said.

“I was just reading that President Lungu is now the second richest man in Zambia. I came to Parliament in 2011 with President Lungu, his declaration of assets was nothing to write home about. How has he suddenly, within two to three years catapulted to reach such a status? How? Where did he get that money from? So him and his fellow thieving leaders will be held accountable. Zambians don’t be asleep and start supporting wrong things.”

And Imenda said agriculture had been a disaster under President Lungu.

“Agriculture has been a disaster. Almost everything; the E-Voucher system, late delivery of inputs, ridiculous prices of maize which was put forward by government. I think God also looked down on how hypocritical we are. How we are oppressing and repressing citizens. How the leadership is doing that. Now we even have a drought. President Lungu was confessing that ‘we have not done well’. So it came from the horse’s mouth. He just confirmed that,” she said.

Imenda urged government to compensate the traders that had been displaced.

“Our people are hungry. You have thrown them out of the streets without a plan to rehabilitate them. Government should bring the money that some of their officers, leaders have stolen. Let them compensate the traders and vendors that have been displaced. They have families to feed. We have the disaster management and mitigation unit. This is a disaster. This department should feed these people because they are hungry. And I would request that for this term, let children go to school free of charge while government sorts out this issue. Government has money. Children should go to school free of charge because their parents have no money because they have been displaced. Their income earning capacity has been paralyzed,” said Imenda.