UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says the challenges affecting the mining sector on the Copperbelt which has resulted in the loss of jobs, cannot be solved by the PF as they do not have the capacity.
And Hichilema says people have proved that the PF has no capacity to deliver on their promises because they have no vision.
Speaking at a press briefing in Ndola, Monday, Hichilema said expecting the PF to solve the challenges in the mining sector is like expecting to get milk from a stone, pledging that only the UPND can manage to solve the problems.
“The mining sector on the Copperbelt has been destroyed completely; the mines we knew in the 2000s are not the same we know today. Let’s look at KCM, around the 2000s, KCM used to employ around 20, 000 people, but today the mine can only employ just about 3000 people. Where have the 17,000 jobs gone? The people have been dumped in the street; they have been left in the cold with their families. The saddest thing that we see in the mining companies is that when Zambians are dumped in the cold, we see foreigners replacing them, we will not tolerate that. Worse still, when the workers are terminated, they have their money paid in piece meals, how cruel can a company be?” wondered Hichilema.
“But I can tell you that the one who is more cruel is the PF because the mines are being supervised by the PF led government. If the mine owner is not meeting their obligations to the workers, government must come in but they are not coming in because they have no interest, they are happy to enjoy luxury lives, they are buying planes. Sure, why should one person buy an expensive plane so that he can stretch his two small legs when 34 million legs cannot be stretched because people have no energy even to stretch them? That is why we are saying the first priority as UPND when we come in, we will sale that plane and channel the money to social sectors for the benefit of the people. All these problems have solutions, they have no capacity, they have no management skills. Asking PF to solve these problems is like asking for milk from a stone, a stone will never give you milk, only from a cow. In this case, PF is the stone, UPND is the cow,” Hichilema said.
He said the PF were failures who could not deliver on their promises which made them win the 2016 elections.
“Today, I want to confirm to you ‘abena Kopala’, PF has failed to govern this country, we can see it, we can feel it and we can read the writings on the wall because PF has failed to achieve the promises that they made to ‘abena Kopala’; that they used to pursued the people of the Copperbelt to vote for them. PF said they will create more jobs, we have lost more jobs, tremendously, more jobs have been lost. We were told that there will be more money in our pockets, today there is no money in our pockets, people are suffering, they can’t even afford 3 meals per day because PF have failed to live up to their promises,” Hichilema said.
He said the PF poor leadership has led to the depreciation of the Kwacha.
“Look at the Kwacha, when PF took over government, the Kwacha was literary K4 to $1. Today, the Kwacha has lost so much value and we have to buy $1 at K13. Now, if we were arguing that PF was going to deliver, that’s not delivering, that’s failure. Now a trader from Ndola or Kalulushi will have to pay more to buy the same quantity of products that were bought at a more cheaper price and they will fail to sale their products because they will be very expensive for the majority people who don’t have money, they don’t work, businesses have collapsed. That’s why I am saying that we must settle this argument that PF is going to deliver, they cannot deliver, they have not been able to deliver, they have no vision. Even the bible is very clear that where there is no vision, people perish and I even today we are perishing because of visionless leadership of the PF. So it is ironic that some people can still say ‘pabwato’ when they are hungry, when they are unemployed, when their children cannot go to school,” Hichilema said.
“The boat has submerged, what is the boat for? Please ‘mwebena Kopala’ let’s save this country from total collapse. The debt of the PF is too much, today we are talking about colossal debt that PF has borrowed to construct an expensive road; the Lusaka-Ndola dual carriage way that would normally cost US$400 million but it is costing $1.2billion. Why shouldn’t a contract be given at US$400 million? It is because of corruption, it is because of greed. The PF has failed completely, everywhere you look you will see scars on peoples’ faces, marriages are breaking down because of challenges. The source of conflicts in the home is the PF poor leadership, so if we are not happy in our marriages, why should we be happy with the PF?”