UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says says he is not afraid of being replaced as UPND leader when the party goes for a convention.

And Hichilema says he doesn’t see how any serious government could have appointed Stephen Kampyongo as Home Affairs minister, given his ‘thuggery’ behaviour.

Meanwhile Hichilema says UPND will restructure the country’s debt by replacing the expensive debt with cheaper ones.

Speaking when he featured on Radio Phoenix’s ‘Let The People Talk’ program, Friday, Hichilema assured that the UPND was going to hold an elective convention.

“There will be a convention. The convention is that everybody’s position is up for elections. But the convention will not be driven by PF. We don’t drive the PF convention why should PF drive our convention? Its because they want to break down UPND the way they have broken other parties, because they want a one party state. Democracy must be allowed. Even Mr Lungu says ‘replace HH’ he thinks HH is afraid, I’m not afraid,” he said,

“And he says HH is a weak competitor, is it true that HH is a weak competitor? If HH is a weak competitor why is Lungu spending sleepless nights over HH? He wants a weak individual whom he can run over. He knows that in 2015, 2016 HH won the elections. He is saying ECL 2021, has he gone through a convention? Why should he say ECL 2021? common sense logic shows that he is worried about HH. But we are not like him. When our time in office comes, we will not do what he did, to us and many other citizens; because if we did that we will not be any different from him.”

He said Zambia had problems because it had no quality leadership.

“I want to appeal to the people of Zambia that time has come to focus on why we are in these problems. It is the quality of leadership that is not there. It is the corruption, the abuse of office, violence, disrespect for human rights, lack of an independent electoral commission where wrong people are declared winners. This is where we have problems. To say that we are bitter is not fair. Today, if people would respect the rule of law, there will be no number plates called ECL 2021. Why should there be number plates HH 2021? There shouldn’t be. The police should not allow it. Why is the police not allowing it? Its because they fear to loose jobs,” said Hichilema.

And Hichilema reiterated that UPND members and citizens should defend themselves when attacked by PF ‘thugs’ because self defence was a Constitutional right.

“It may not be fair to target the vice-president of the UPND GBM (for the Panga for Panga statement). It is the position of UPND and I believe it should be the position of any well meaning Zambia. The position is that the PF have been waging war in many forms not just during elections in Chilanga. They have been waging war in markets. You are aware that certain marketeers are not allowed to access market stalls because they belong to parties other than PF. Students have suffered, church goers have suffered. Violence has not been confined to the election periods, it has become a societal problem. It has become a problem where freedoms are infringed by one group of people and these are the PF cadres, I call them thugs consciously,” he said.

“In short, self defence is a Constitutional right, its a fundamental human right to defend ourselves, those of us who are victims and many other citizens. The law provides for self defence so citizens are protecting themselves and I encourage citizens to protect themselves. Today, there would be no need for self defence if the police were enforcing the law professionally, equitably. But we understand the police’s concerns because immediately they do that they will be fired. Ourselves in that situation we would have ended this violence within 30 days so that we are left with the usual issues.”

Meanwhile, Hichilema charged that he didn’t see how any serious government could have appointed Kampyongo as Home Affairs minister, given his ‘thuggery’ behaviour.

“So thuggery has gone into our electoral situations. Lets not just look at Chilanga. Lets also look at what happened in the 16 by-elections before Chilanga. Naming a few for example; in Nampundwe there was war waged by the PF thugs, Kalulushi, Mufulira, Shiwang’andu the dreadful Shiwang’andu under Kampyongo. I don’t see how really any serious government can make Kampyongo a Home Affairs minister given his behaviour of basically thuggery to say the least,” he said.

“Tell me, why does Mr Lungu move with the police around him? Its for self defence. So why is self defence okay for Mr Lungu and for Kampyongo, he moves with a battalion of police around him? Have you ever seen Kampyongo in Soweto market alone? He is afraid of the crimes he has committed. If he steps the foot outside of his office or house, he has a horde of police around him for self defence. So why is it right for Kampyongo to have self defence and not right for ordinary citizens who have been killed, who are being beaten?” Hichilema asked.

And Hichilema said their mayoral candidate pastor Kangwa Chileshe would be the best mayor because under the laws of Zambia, the executive mayor had the ability to change a number of the things backed by a party.

Asked how UPND would make people’s lives better given the country’s debt, Hichilema said his government would restructure the country’s debt.

“This is why we need to checklist a few things that we want to do differently but better, because if we did the same things as they (PF) do…as some people like to say ‘all politicians are the same’, I disagree, we are not the same. We wouldn’t do things that PF have done. Firstly we would have not borrowed so much money, secondly we would have never bored at a high cost. And we would not borrow for consumption, to put in projects where money is stolen. What we would do ourselves is to restructure the debt. Replace the expensive debt with a cheaper debt,” he said.

“Today we are borrowing at 10 per cent plus, we can borrow when we need to, at three per cent even at zero interest rates. I hope you are aware that there are loans which are interest free. That is what we would do differently. You are paying higher taxes today, levies, bore hole tax, rental income, this money is going to service the big loans, the high interest loans. Once we restructure these loans as UPND, we will replace the expensive debt with cheaper debt. It means that you will have to pay less amount of money to service the debt. Which means that we can afford to charge you a lower tax and remove the bore hole tax. That will leave you with more money in your pockets as the song was being sang by the PF in an ignorant manner. They didn’t even understand what they were singing.”