UPND deputy secretary general Gertrude Imenda has advised officials in the Patriotic Front (PF) administration to stop badmouthing opposition parties and focus on fixing the country’s economy “which has broken down”.
Responding to Eastern Province Minister Makebi Zulu’s remarks that those frustrated with the way PF was governing the country had no alternative as all existing opposition parties in Zambia were uninspiring in an interview, Imenda said such claims could only come from a frustrated government that had failed to run the country.
“PF has sleepless nights over the UPND and Hakainde Hichilema. That’s why they’ve got their propaganda machinery everyday attacking UPND in the papers. They are scared because they’ve seen that we are offering an alternative, they’ve seen that people have turned to UPND. I don’t know the context in which Makebi Zulu wants to judge that people who are frustrated with PF cannot go to UPND, but the truth is that people right now, people are turning to UPND because they see that as the viable alternative. People are frustrated, they have given up on PF. PF told them lies, they campaigned on lies and they have not fulfilled what they campaigned. But where we have reached now, the economy is bad, it’s down to the lowest level, even in the region where small countries that we were beating have now come on top and we are now at the lowest level under the PF government,” Imenda said.
“You can see how people are frustrated, there are no jobs, there are no businesses to talk about… there is literally no boost in the economy, the economy has gone down. All we are seeing is corruption and stealing of money. The Treasury is ransacked and the PF itself has told us that from the Bank of Zambia, they’ve used the money, the three months import cover that we are supposed to have. They’ve taken the money, that’s the one they went to pay the previous installments of debt payment to the international community. So they are left with one month import cover. Now, if people want to import things, where are they going to get the foreign exchange? Then look at what has happened; civil servants are not being paid their salaries, those at the University of Zambia had to go on a go-slow and then the Copperbelt University also and the local government workers and the whole country who depend on money from the government are not being paid because there is no money. As if that is not enough, to enable themselves make the next debt repayment, they have printed money. But you don’t do things like that, you can’t just print money which is not backed by developmental things and economic fundamentals, you can’t just print paper money. You know what that will do? You are causing hyper inflation which is going to make our currency go the Zimbabwean way.”
Imenda said PF had embarked on a smear campaign against the opposition due to the realization that people were frustrated with the ruling party.
“PF are aware that people are frustrated. So what do they do? They have to go and do propaganda against UPND because they have seen that people are now turning to UPND to say ‘now you are our saviour’. Me I talk to people who work in government. They have come to tell me to say ‘madam, right now we only look to UPND and HH as our saviour’. People want change because they are frustrated, they have nowhere to go. They can’t even run to South Africa because there is xenophobia there also. But because PF is very much aware of that what do they do? They have to use the State media to spread propaganda. So what Makebi is saying, those are just last kicks of a dying horse, those are things that a frustrated person or frustrated a government does. But who are they to talk about UPND? Let them talk about their corruption, let them correct the economy and stop talking about us,” Imenda said.
Imenda charged that UPND had no capacity to fix the economy because it had no economists in its government.
“They don’t even have economists in their government. That’s why things have become very bad. Who is the economist in their government? Nobody! They got Felix Mutati to be Minister of Finance but he’s not an economist. Even Margaret Mwanakatwe the current Minister of Finance is not an economist. But us we have got economists and we are going to revamp the economy of this country when we come into power so that Zambia can regain its glory again. Not where we are right now, we’ve really become a shame to the whole Southern region and to the whole Africa. In any case, in stead of going to print money, they should sale that Plane which Lungu bought so that they can pay the civil servants and pay meal allowances to students, pay council workers and lecturers at the UNZA and CBU. That plane can be sold at USD $68 million, that can go a long way,” said Imenda.