UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says his party has agreed that it will not support the three Bills that were proposed at the National Dialogue Forum (NDF).
Meanwhile, Hichilema says it ironic that the entire PF government machinery can present a huge economic proposal like the Sales Tax in the 2019 national budget before consultation.
Speaking when he featured on “Add Your Voice” programme on United Voice Radio, Wednesday, Hichilema said the NDF was illegal and that his party would not support the resolutions.
“They created clause 17 for the MPs and their intention was to divide the UPND so that we could split and they take advantage. We saw through that and we said to our MPs: ‘take your decision, but the party position is that we are not going.’ A few went there, they exercised their conscience and it is clear, we have drawn the line that no one will be victimized for attending the NDF. There is no punishment. But when the Bills come to Parliament, we have agreed that we will reject it on behalf of the people and the UPND MPs are solid on that position,” Hichilema said.
“There was an opportunity for us to dialogue face to face [but] the PF refused to dialogue. They decided to go to Parliament and abuse Parliament and created an illegal law called NDF Act, which was against the Constitution/Bill of Rights because you can’t force people to assemble. So, they missed that opportunity and they decided to use force through NDF Act. You don’t get views from each other through force and that’s why that thing must be rejected! It must not even be allowed to succeed in Parliament. Imagine, they want to increase Cabinet to 80 ministers, yet they are not even paying salaries on time,” he said.
And Hichilema alleged that government wanted to handover KCM to the Chinese.
“The Bible is clear [that] where there is no vision, where there is no leadership, the people perish! We would never allow people to perish in the mining sector. And in this case of KCM, Government is an investor and it’s the government that puts KCM in liquidation. It’s a shame. Do they understand the difference between liquidation and management? And if they do, then they are doing it for personal gain because we hear now that they want to give the mine to the Chinese. That’s incorrect,” Hichilema said.
“This PF government doesn’t want to dialogue. We had an opportunity to dialogue through the Church Mother Bodies dialogue, [but] PF slapped the Church in the face and Mr Lungu is now calling the church names. You can’t ridicule the Church. I would never do that. Young boys like Sunday Chanda, Antonio write stuff to insult us every day, but we don’t care. To be honest, I don’t even pay attention to how many insults they utter on me because it’s unnecessary. If they had taken our advice to put KCM under administrative management, you wouldn’t be risking jobs the way we are risking. Already there are assets stripping there, the assets are deteriorating to a point that we may even fail to find the buyer other than another corrupt buyer who will be a conduit of corruption.”
Meanwhile, reacting to remarks by Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe that Sales Tax may not come into effect by next Monday, July 1, as earlier targeted, Hichilema advised government to stick to Value Added Tax (VAT).
“It is being reported that the PF regime has again deferred the implementation of the General Sales Tax (GST) from Value Added Tax (VAT) because the systems are not ready. We genuinely love our country when we offer alternative solutions to our colleagues on managing the affairs of this great nation. It is, therefore, ironic that the entire PF government machinery can present such a huge economic proposal to the country in their budget, and later embark on a countrywide consultative process like they are currently doing, and then make a sudden twist. How do our colleagues in the PF regime now balance the budget because some of the revenue collection in the 2019 budget are projections from collections of Sales Tax? Like they say, ‘If It’s Not Broken, Do Not Mend it’. Our advice once more, can you stick to VAT, just broaden the tax base and reduce the VAT rate,” advised Hichilema in a statement.