Edgar Lungu will be the most disrespected former Republican President if he does not learn to respect Zambians now, United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema has charged.

And Hichilema says the rampant corruption and economic sabotage reported in the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC)’s 2018 Trends Report shows how arrogantly committed the PF government is to continue looting fortunes of the country.

In a statement released, Tuesday, Hichilema expressed concern that even if citizens desired to respect President Lungu after his tenure, it would be difficult given the treatment he was giving Zambians now.

“We want to believe that President Lungu means well when he says he is committed to fighting corruption. And if he does, we want to challenge him to inform the nation what he has done to those who were cited in 2017 (Trends) Report for milking K4.5 billion off the country through corruption. How many successful prosecutions did Zambia record on his watch? Is Mr Lungu letting these people go scot-free and yet still expect us to believe that he is fighting corruption? Mr President, we are still waiting for your Executive action on the 2017 Trends Report, and we demand that those cited be compelled to bring back the K4.5 billion that they stole in 2017. For 2018, the law enforcement agencies have again received 80 reports of suspected money laundering. We demand to know how many of these cases have been acted on. We demand that the K6.1 billion be forensically traced and brought back to the government coffers this year,” Hichilema demanded.

“This is not PF government money; it is the money for the Zambian people, which was entrusted to your government. And on your watch, it was lost. We demand it back! If you are not willing to head this crusade, one day, the Zambian people will head an anti-corruption crusade against you. As UPND, we will stand, as we always have, with the people to demand Zambia’s money back. If you think you will shield these culprits until 2021, there is life after 2021. The Bembas say ‘umulandu taubola.’ The Zambian people will one day demand what rightly belongs to them. I am sure the Zambian people would want to one day respect you as a former president, but to earn this respect, we urge you to also respect them today by securing their resources and, therefore, their future.”

Hichilema further insisted that President Lungu was well aware of the financial statuses of all his ministers before they joined government, but who had since amassed enormous wealth.

“You know that a few years ago, your Minister [Bowman] Lusambo was just a parker at Cash Crusaders. But today, Mr Lusambo has become such a wealthy businessman that he can donate goods worth millions to his constituency! If not through corrupt dealings and pillaging of public resources, where do you think Mr Lusambo might have gotten the money from when you know his salary as a provincial Minister? You know Mr Chitotela was just a police constable before joining the PF. Then he becoming a Minister and today Mr Chitotela has amassed massive amounts of wealth! When ACC arrests him, you tell us that he is innocent and will continue as Minister until proven guilty. Where is the integrity and morality in keeping an allegedly corrupt person on your administration?” asked Hichilema.

“Yes, the law may provide for that, but why did you not apply the same principle when Emerine Kabanshi was embroiled in the Zampost Social Cash Transfer saga if your motive is not to aid and abet corruption? Same game and different rules, these are signs of your weak Presidency, Mr Lungu. As leaders, we shall continue to fight for accountability, good governance, the rule of law and justice. On behalf of the Zambian people, we demand that you take Executive actions that will compel law enforcement agencies to move swiftly in prosecuting those cited for corruption, theft, money laundering and so on and that you institute a credible and transparent process for bringing our money back!”