UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says he is not afraid of being arrested or being sent to prison, but adds that non of that would end the anger that the people are feeling against the government.
And Hichilema yesterday suffered social media ridicule after he refused to answer a question posed to him by Hot Fm breakfast show presenter Hope Chishala, demanding that he provides proof that ZAFFICO had been sold.
Chishala wanted to know why Hichilema said ZAFFICO had been sold to Chinese nationals when he featured on a Sun Fm radio show, further demanding to know if the opposition leader had incited the riot that rocked Kitwe earlier in the week.
But Hichilema kept insisting that he did not incite anybody to riot as PF officials were claiming.
“I did not incite anybody to riot, let’s state that very clear. My position is that I incited nobody to riot. What is true is that citizens are aware of what is going on in the country. They are aware of the ZNBC situation,” Hichilema told Hot FM.
Chishala kept pressing Hichilema for evidence that ZAFFICO had been sold, in an audio that was later circulated by the PF, portraying the opposition leader as having failed to to explain his allegations.
He later called News Diggers saying he knew the strategy that the PF government was using against him and he did not want to fall in their trap by answering questions from a sponsored journalist.
“I am way ahead of them. I know exactly what they are doing. I did not fail to answer the question around the sale of ZAFFICO. You I can tell you because you are truly an independent media. I know that they are using the listing of ZAFFICO on the stock exchange in order to facilitate the systematic take over by the Chinese. If you ask them today, which Zambians are going to buy the shares of ZAFFICO once it’s listed? People don’t have food to eat, they have no money to buy shares in ZAFFICO, so it’s them and their Chinese friends who will buy the shares and eventually remove it from the stock exchange, is that not a sale?” asked Hichilema.
Asked if he was scared of being arrested, Hichilema said he was not afraid because he was speaking for the people.
“No, we are not scared. When you speak for the people, when you represent the down trodden, you don’t front fear. If you front fear, you cannot do the work that we do, you cannot seek public office the way we do…but does that solve the problem if they arrest me? It will not end people’s anger. They should ask themselves, how many times will we arrest HH and other innocent people? They threw in [Obvious] Mwaliteta and his colleagues for one year, when they knew that he had not committed any crime. But they put them in filthy prisons. When a government begins to use force instead of listening to alternative voices, including the media, then you know that you are heading in the wrong direction. I think the PF are heading in the wrong direction,” Hichilema said.
“The best they can do is sit down and talk and see how all these issues can be resolved so that people can start having food in their homes and we can lower the tax burden…let them sit with us in a mature manner and discuss possible ways of saving the country from this collapse, the country is collapsed. I think that is the more honourable thing to do.”
He said he found it hard to find out to understand why the PF was blaming him for every thing wrong that was happening in the country as if he was the one governing.
“The PF have decided to take a frame that whenever something goes wrong and they fail to satisfy citizens, they blame HH. You are aware of those UNZA issue, they went there and basically killed Vespers Shimunzhila by tear gassing her room and then they blame HH as though HH is responsible for directing the police, as though HH is responsible for the things that are under their control,” he said.
“There are many other things they have blamed me for, the kwacha depreciation against the dollar, it’s HH to blame, I don’t know what else they will not blame me for. When they fail to deliver, it is HH. You cannot shift responsibility to someone who has no instruments, who has no apparatus of the state. I think at some point, we must call this bluff, it must come to an end and they must take responsibility. And we can help or advise, we have been advising. It is up to them to take that advise and save the country from where it is going. The country is hurting; we all know that. Does any citizen need HH to remind them that there are no jobs? Who said that there would be jobs? Who said that there would be lower taxes? It is them but look at the tax burden now.”
Asked if he felt like he was running the country given that he was blamed for everything that went wrong, Hichilema said; “What would you feel if you were in my shoes? Right now the rains are late, I will not be surprised if they say that the rains are delayed because of HH.”