And Hichilema has asked President Edgar Lungu’s government to “remove PF thugs” from bus stations and other public places and replace them with local authorities to restore order.
In a statement, Monday, Hichilema stated that the party noted with dismay the PF government’s failure to pay council employees and other public sector workers their salaries for a long period of time.
He said the government must release equalization funds and other grants meant to help run local authorities and other public sector institutions without any further delay.
“The current situation indicates that council workers have gone for over three months without pay and yet the PF have funds to bribe voters in unnecessary by-elections. We have noted with dismay the PF regime’s failure to pay council employees and other public sector workers their salaries, allowances and benefits for long periods of time. This is uncalled for and a great injustice to families that are already struggling under the economic hardships brought about by the corrupt and failed PF, Mr Edgar Lungu and his friends,” Hichilema stated.
“We direct Mr Edgar Lungu’s PF administration to: Immediately release the equalization funds and other grants meant to help run the local authorities and other public sector institutions without any further delay. It is absurd for the PF to keep using council, government and other public sector workers without paying them but funding their PF thugs during election campaigns. A salary is a human right which must be received on time. In view of the above, the PF administration should immediately pay outstanding salaries and allowances to all council and other public sector workers who have not been paid.”
And the opposition leader has asked the government to ensure bus stations and other public places are run by local authorities and not ruling party members.
“Remove PF thugs from bus stations, markets, taxi ranks and several other public places and replace them with local authorities so as to restore order. This will save the public from the PF thugs’ harassment and being overcharged for using public facilities. Further, this will enable local authorities to properly manage these facilities and collect fair revenue that will facilitate their smooth operations, especially as the rainy season draws near,” Hichilema stated.
“Currently, the PF thugs are collecting high and illegal levies from members of the public in the above stated areas and sharing among themselves at the expense of the councils and the public. This lawlessness and violence with impunity must end now. The councils must, without further delay, reclaim their mandate to properly manage these public facilities and collect fair levies on behalf of our people. As UPND, we would like a situation where ordinary citizens are able to freely use these public facilities without fear of being overcharged, harassed, robbed, beaten or killed by these unruly gun trotting PF thugs.”
He also stated that retirees worked hard for many years and should be given their money instead of diverting funga to “militias that are killing citizens”.
Hichilema promised that once voted into power, he would ensure that retirees were given their benefits on time.
“The corrupt PF administration should pay retirees their benefits immediately. Retirees worked for these benefits, in some cases, for many years and the PF must not be diverting these monies to reward their militias that are harassing, maiming and killing citizens with unbelievable impunity,” stated Hichilema. “We would like to assure council, government and other public sector workers that are not receiving their dues and other benefits from the PF that when in government, the UPND undertakes that your salaries and all other benefits, including those relating to retirement, will be paid on time. Not only will you be paid promptly, but your conditions of service will be improved in line with our party policy of ensuring motivation of all workers. In addition, the UPND in government will ensure that funding (grants, equalization funds and others) will be paid on time to allow for smooth operations.”