UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says President Edgar Lungu’s remarks that although the opposition leader is richer than him, the UPND president cannot even build a toilet for the people of Katuba are immature.

And Hichilema says citizens expect an exceptional and mature conversation on matters affecting their lives than subjecting them to worthless debates.

In a statement shared on his Facebook page, Tuesday, Hichilema condemned President Lungu’s statement.

“We have taken note of the remarks attributed to Mr Edgar Lungu, as quoted in the ‘News Diggers while campaigning in Katuba constituency parliamentary by-election. To say we should have been building toilets for the residents of Katuba and other places where we have our MPs, is not only unfortunate but also immature and belittling, not only to the people of that constituency but to all Zambian citizens. For us in the UPND politics is a noble and sacred service which we respectfully hold, and we think this is not the kind of discourse our citizens should be subjected to from all of us in political leadership in our country. Citizens expect an exceptional and mature conversation on matters affecting their lives than this kind of worthless debate. Surely Mr Edgar Lungu can do better than this. We believe even in taverns, shebeens and bars there is some level of decent conversation than this kind of talk by Mr Lungu,” Hichilema stated.

“How can he inspire a generation of young people who are looking for role models from their leaders, with such frivolous behaviour and immature talk, when our citizens are urgently seeking for solutions on matters affecting their day to day struggles such as lack of jobs, affordable healthcare, school fees for their children and food on their tables, among many other things. Jobs are being lost in the mining sector such as Mopani which is cancelling contracts for Zambian contractors on the Copperbelt under Mr Lungu’s watch, and all he can talk about is toilets instead of addressing this and other pressing national issues such as escalating prices of mealie-meal. UPND members throughout the country including us politicians pay taxes to the national treasury which is currently being plundered by Mr Lungu and his friends through corruption and outright theft of public resources.”

Hichilema stated that his party was trying its level best, with limited resources, to support communities in various parts of the country by sinking boreholes, building schools and clinics among other things.

“Therefore like other citizens, UPND members equally expect development in their areas regardless of their political choices which is their democratic right. Is Mr Lungu in any way suggesting that there should be a one-party dictatorship, where all citizens will be forced to belong to the PF in order for them to receive development? It is this kind of bigotry that is fuelling social divisions in the country, at the expense of addressing pressing national issues. As a matter of fact, we are trying our level best in our own small way to support communities in various parts of the country, by sinking boreholes, building schools and clinics, constructing cattle dip tanks, supporting children in schools and other vulnerable communities among many other activities,” he stated.

And Hichilema charged that businesses were being squeezed by the PF regime to economically disadvantage them.

“This is despite the shrinking economic space in our businesses that are forever being squeezed by the PF regime in order to economically disadvantage us and weaken our resolve, but we will not give in to these tactics. When UPND is elected into office in 2021, we will redefine development as a fundamental human right which must be freely extended to all citizens regardless of political affiliations and regional or religious background. We will not withhold development from regions that did not vote for us or selectively carry out an economic agenda, to punish those that hold dissenting views from us. This is our solemn promise to the Zambian people and our cooperating partners,” stated Hicilema.

“These are the values on which the UPND was founded upon, this is the character and standards with which the founding fathers and mothers of our Republic set, and will endeavour to follow them to the latter. For now, we request our dear citizens to reject low-level politics of divisiveness, name-calling, and other such bad vices, but embrace the UPND politics of seeking for solutions to the problems affecting our people.”