Former Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba says he does not understand why the fire tenders, which were recently purchased at US$1 million each, failed to quench the fire at COMESA Market last week when all government officials who defended the purchase of the trucks described them as “custom-made” for Zambia.

And Kalaba who is also PF Bahati member of parliament, says Chinese nationals who are operating in Zambia are untamed and are abusing their stay in the country.

Speaking when he featured on Radio Phoenix’s “Let the People Talk” programme, Tuesday, Kalaba wondered why the $1 million fire trucks, which were vigorously defended by government, failed to quench the fire that gutted COMESA market last Thursday.

“You are buying fire tenders at $1 million each and yet they are even failing to quench fires. The other day that (COMESA) market was burning, where were those fire tenders to go and quench the fire? All we see are those fire tenders flipping off the roads, falling off, one after the other. They are not even doing the job that they should be doing. And yet we were told that the fire tenders are custom made. If they are custom made, why didn’t they go into COMESA market and quench the fire? Because they should have known what type of fire tender could go in COMESA market, they told us the fire tenders are custom made. So, it is these kind of cheap politics that I will not be part of. It is these issues of buying things at exorbitant prices that I will not be part of,” Kalaba added.

“Why should we as a country have the most expensive digital migration? Why should it be that for us? No matter what you say, we have betrayed the people that put PF into power. No matter what names you call me, the truth still remains that those who didn’t agree with the fundamentals of the PF are today in charge of PF and because of that, you have lost the vision. And there is no way you would want someone like me to continue pretending that this is the way it should go. We said there will be lower taxes, but now we are stifling our people with more taxes right, left and centre. We said there will be more jobs but now we are swapped it from having more jobs for Zambians to more jobs for the Chinese.”

He charged that the Chinese people living in Zambia were untamed.

“Chinese in themselves are not bad, they have helped this country to reach where we have reached, but the Chinese that are in Nigeria, the Chinese that are in Tanzania are tamed. But here, we have a leadership that has allowed the Chinese to run over us. Every business, every contract, everything is going to the Chinese! Where is the Zambian businessman? What we want is to see the situation as it stands in Kenya, in Kenya, they have promoted their own citizens, that is why you find billionaires in Kenya, that is why you find billionaires in Rwanda because in Rwanda now, if there is a contract being advertised, they will only allow one foreign contractor to bid. But here, in this country, just some few days ago, you saw when the Minister of Education advertised that tender, three quarters of it was AVIC and we know who is the best friend of AVIC. The other one was Sun Share, we know who is the best friend of Sun Share. This cannot continue; AVIC doesn’t own this country! Even in our poverty we will speak, they might have billions, but this is our country and we will talk,” Kalaba vowed.

He further said Zambia had serious challenges owing to a lack of proper leadership.

“In this country, what we have as challenges are all caused by a lack of leadership, the leadership in this country is anaemic. We need a leadership that is going to take interest in these issues because if you are going to allow cadres to go on the road, like yesterday I saw the way cadres took over the whole road wearing their party regalia. You even feel ashamed to belong to that organisation because it’s not everybody who is a PF cadre, so even when you are carrying out your activities be mindful… know that there are others who are not political, some people do not even belong to any political party, they are just Zambians, so don’t even disturb them as they are moving. But you are going there singing your songs and taking up the whole road, this is anarchy! So, those who are supposed to provide the leadership are not providing the leadership or they are practicing docility so that the cadres can continue behaving the way they are behaving for them to perpetrate their advantage,” said Kalaba.

“But we are saying; the time to call this country to order has come. And for me, as Harry Kalaba, I will not be a part of that and I am going to stand against that because the empowerment of youths cannot only be for a preserve of certain cadres. We have got youths all across this country who are counting on us as leaders to give them an avenue for prosperity. If these youths are not going to be helped on account of having voted for some political party somewhere or on account of them not belonging to a certain political party, then we are having problems. So, to sum this up, the problem we have is a lack of leadership. It’s not that there is lack of school space or college space, it’s not that fertilizer is not arriving on time or that our women are not getting empowered, the problem we have is that we don’t have a proper leadership in this country.”

Meanehile, Kalaba urged his supporters not to worry when government blocks all political parties associated with him as they were merely a vehicle used to vie for public office.

“A political party should not worry anybody, especially those that are supporting me; they should not worry that Harry Kalaba’s party is being entangled. They should just continue supporting me because where I come from they say, ‘sunga umukoshi ubulungu tabwayafya (keep your neck, the beads to go round are not difficult to find)’, a political party is just a vehicle but to be used, what is important is a person that you want to vote for and I am saying I am available for the challenge. This is the time to take Zambia where it should be, it is the time to stop mediocrity, it’s the time to call Zambia to order, it is time for us to believe again,” said Kalaba.