UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says it is unfortunate that PF members of parliament trivialised the debate on students’ bursaries; reducing it to partisan deliberation.

In a statement today, HH stated that there was need for law makers to unite on issues of national interest.

“What was even more shameful and absolutely appalling on the part of the PF law makers, was to completely trivialize the whole debate and narrow it into personal attacks and partisanship as opposed to addressing real issues that affect our citizens, with the seriousness it deserves,” HH stated.

He also observed that it was wrong for the Minister of Higher Education Professor Nkandu Luo to refer to individuals who traded on the streets as mere hooligans and suggesting that university students abrogating school regulations needed to join them.

“Even more sad was the demeaning of our citizens currently trading in the markets, bus stops and the streets who the PF leadership referred to as ‘mere hooligans’ where any student who is considered as ‘indisciplined’ will be sent to join fellow hooligans selling in the markets and streets. Such kind of derogatory remarks, arrogant language and assertions by the PF should leave no doubt in the minds of Zambians, that the PF are a retrogressive lot who have no interest of Zambians at heart,” HH stated.

He stated that the conduct of PF MPs shocked Zambians because it lacked seriousness and did not exhibit true leadership.

“The behavior of PF MPs in Parliament yesterday Wednesday 22nd March was deplorable beyond belief and left much to be desired. The conduct by the PF law makers lacked seriousness and purpose and it shocked many Zambians who have been left wondering at the directionless leadership, the PF are subjecting the citizens to. Our MPs presented what we considered was a non partisan and non contentious motion that sought to offer bursary or loan financial assistance to vulnerable university students who have been accepted and are already in class,” she stated.

“While we value their freedom of expression both inside and outside the House, for us in the UPND, that motion had nothing to do with whether we recognise the PF Government or not, as these are matters that are yet to be determined by the Courts of law. What we expected was a bipartisan resolve to the motion as it affects the most vulnerable of our community. For us, the motion was genuinely intended to assist our people through the provision of affordable educational opportunities to our youths regardless of their political affiliations, especially in view of the harsh economic difficulties our people are going through.”

HH promised that once elected into office, his party would never abuse any citizen as they would bear in mind that it was the responsibility of government to ensure that every citizen had access to social facilities.

“For us in the UPND, we would never regard our mothers, youths and other citizens trading in these areas as hooligans, but as citizens who need government support through the provision of affordable loan facilities, which they can use to grow their businesses and send their children to schools, colleges and universities,” stated HH.

“We have been vindicated when we say Edgar Lungu and his PF leadership have misplaced priorities when it comes to the development of our country. These are leaders who would rather charter luxury private jets, globe-trotting at a huge expense to the treasury, instead of allocating resources to such needy and critical areas such as education, health and agriculture, that benefit the majority of our people.”