Minister of Infrastructure Development Ronald Chitotela on Wednesday diverted from departing the labour ministry’s budget to taking jabs at UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, whom he accused of attacking the Chinese during the day but working with them at night.
And Chitotela says the opposition has resorted to inciting citizens because they know that their chances of going to State House are diminishing.
In his debate, Chitotela started by bragging that without PF taking over power in 2011, workers wouldn’t have been enjoying before pointing his arsenals towards Hichilema.
“Today, without the PF taking over the reins of power, what the workers are enjoying wouldn’t have been enjoyed because it never existed before we took over. It is under the leadership of PF that we came up with the minimum wage on the workers that are not protected. And Zambians out there are listening, some of the opposition members that are speaking loudly, they joined together with the union and took PF to court to fight that Zambian workers were not entitled to what you had given them. This government will not allow Zambian workers to suffer, we will protect their interest,” Chitotela said.
“I want to assure the Zambian people that we, in PF, we don’t believe in selling State assets, we believe in keeping them for the future generation. Some people before privatisation were nothing, literally nothing! They took advantage of privatisation and they enriched themselves! Today, they are aspiring to come and take over leadership so that they call companies and enrich themselves. We know them, during the day they are attacking Chinese, [but] in the night, they are writing letters to the Chinese and telling them: ‘I want to come and work with you when I come into power.’ They are thinking, what they want to come and do is what we are doing, no!”
He charged that some big political leaders were failing to take care of their farm workers.
“When I was deputy Minister of Labour, there are big political leaders that are running farms who were paying their workers K300! If you can fail to keep your workers at your farm, you want to come and take care of the country? You can come and promise Zambians that you will give them K5 million when you are failing to take care of the workers at your farm?…I know that some have been dealing with AVIC during the night and then they attack them during the day. I want to caution the Zambian people that we know them; you know them that their interest is to come and auction this country. We tested them, we gave them more responsibilities to participate in privatisation and they enriched themselves and disadvantaged majority Zambian people. He went to the Copperbelt and misled the people.” charged Chitotela, before he was guided by the First Deputy Speaker Catherine Namugala to focus on debating the budget as the route he was taking was unhelpful.
And speaking on Hot Fm’s Hot Seat yesterday, Chitotela said the opposition had resorted to inciting citizens because they know that their chances of going to State House are diminishing.
“If President Lungu was not performing, you think people could have been talking? But because he’s performing, those who think their opportunities of going to State House are diminishing, they have resorted to everything possible to frustrate and to incite citizens. Now what we need to do is to tell Zambian people the truth that ‘this is how much it (toll plazas) cost and this what your government is doing’. So clearly, our friends [in the opposition] have intentions of inciting people to rise against government, which in itself is not a good thing. They (opposition) are using corruption to hoodwink Zambians into believing them because they know that in terms of deliverables, we will not be questioned,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chitotela said government had so far constructed 30 tolling points out of the 40 Toll Plazas earmarked to be put up countrywide.
“We did state that we will be able to construct a total number of 40 toll plazas across the country with different structural designs. So far a number of 30 toll plazas are under construction and they are at different levels of completion. We have what we call ‘the next generation’ which is the highest in terms of the toll plaza. We have what we are calling ‘booth and boom’ and of course we have what we are calling ‘simplified toll plazas’. These come with different cost profiles and specifications and different structural designs. So I can confirm that yes we have the Chongwe toll plaza which is among the first category of the next generation. What informs the type and quality of the toll plaza is the traffic volume on the road,” said Chitotela.