UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says government is lying that National Dialogue Forum delegates are not getting any allowances.

And Hichilema says PF is using police to persecute Obvious Mwaliteta so that he can break and re-join the ruling party.

Speaking at a press briefing, Friday, Hichilema said NDF delegates were getting allowances, contrary to Minister of Justice Given Lubinda’s assertion.

“I am saying to them ‘stop wasting money at that useless sham dialogue forum’. If you had wisdom and a vision, you could have stopped that sham process yesterday. It’s breaking, you have seen what’s happening there, but they are extending it. And they are lying that there are no allowances; they are getting allowances. Parliament is paying allowances to MPs, the ones from government offices, government is paying,” Hichilema said.

“They are now fighting amongst themselves, didn’t we tell them? We did, but because they don’t have a vision, they couldn’t listen. And someone wakes up and start bragging that ‘I am leader’ which leader? Where are you leading people to? Instead of saving money, you are creating more costs by re-introducing deputy ministers and allowing ministers to remain in office after dissolution of parliament so that they can use state resources to campaign. They have run down the economy, we know what to do to get this economy back on track, and they know that I know, that’s why at that dialogue forum, they are saying ‘we don’t want to see Hakainde’s face on the ballot paper in 2021.’ Is this your country? Is this their country alone? They are afraid of the shame, when we take over, we will overturn the economy of this country. And we wish them long life so that they see how we are going to run this country properly.”

And Hichilema said PF was persecuting Mwaliteta in order to force him to re-join the party.

“Yesterday, most you heard what happened, our provincial chairman Obvious Mwaliteta [appeared in court] over allegations made against him during the Kafue chairmanship by-election, he was arrested on the voting day. So that was the matter he was attending to in court and I will leave that side of the matter because I don’t want the mischief from the PF that we are contemptuous against court proceedings, no we are not, we are talking about what happened yesterday at court. Upon leaving court, he was arrested by police on instructions from the PF and Mr [Edgar] Lungu, because he knows, because when you are commander in chief there is no way you can fail to know what your officers are doing, it would mean that you are not a commander in chief, so he knows. They arrested Mwaliteta, bundled him in the vehicle and drove away towards Kafue, they effected an arrest without even saying a charge. Arresting somebody brutally like that has become a norm in PF,” Hichilema said.

“His brutal arrest in front of his family, in front of his daughters, is to give him a charge which is unbailable, is to charge him with armed robbery. On the voting day, they said he committed an armed robbery offence. This has now become a way of silencing anyone who does not agree with their failed leadership. Our understanding here is that because Mwaliteta is resisting to rejoin PF under the new style that if you were PF you must return to PF because you belong there, even when PF is failing. If you say ‘no’, they will find some reason to force you and break you down. In this case the plan is to arrest Mwaliteta and charge him with armed robbery which in their fixation he committed on voting day. The way they did when they arrested him after 2016 elections, kept him in jail for one year and was discharged by the courts of law, they now want to force him to abandon the party whose cause is to serve the people of Zambia. But this is a way of a dictator, this was the way of Omar Al Bashir of Sudan, these are the tools they use to oppress citizens while they amass cash mountains, because that’s what the PF are doing; amassing cash mountains which they won’t even use. Because you know when you don’t work for money you don’t even know what to do with it, you start building casinos. But all dictators end up very bad.”

Meanwhile, Hichilema said the PF was rotten to its core.

“I am a business man, I have been talking to my fellow business men, I started talking to them a long time ago, I say; ‘guys, I am going to help to turn the country around, it can only happen with good leadership.’ Most of my friends said ‘HH, we are business men, let’s stay in business’ that was some 10-11 years ago, but today, they are the ones phoning me every day that ‘HH you were right.’ I told them that when a leadership is rotten, the way PF is, ‘vonse vinahola mukati muja’ (everything in PF is rotten), it’s not just one person, it’s everyone. When a leadership is rotten, when a leadership has got no vision, you can’t run a business because when the economy is bad, no one will buy your goods,” said Hichilema.

“UPND will focus on ending poverty and hunger, even now the country is experiencing a hunger situation, I can recommend today that this rotted PF government should declare this hunger problem a national disaster, Lungu and your friends, declare this hunger situation as a national disaster so that we can attract some support in form of contributions for the affected people. Because on your own you have no capacity. We told you, you lifted the ban on Maize export when the reserves were depleting and now you have seen mealie meal prices skyrocketing. People will die in homes, when you see funerals in your homes you must blame PF because food itself is medicine. So when you go to bury people, you should say ‘this is because of PF and Lungu because they are the ones who have brought hunger.”