National Restoration Party (NAREP) president Steven Nyirenda says joining politics will not damage his businesses because they were already destroyed by bad decision making.
And Nyirenda says his passion for Muvi Television has increased because he still remains the only person in Zambia who understands TV.
In an interview, Nyirenda said even government was failing to pay people.
“In fact, the businesses are already damaged because of wrong decision making. Even the government themselves are not able to pay people because they have failed to. So what we want to do by joining [politics] is to make things get better. I can’t lose [my passion for running an independent television house]. I am 60 years now. It’s not that I am losing passion. I have got even much more passion and I tell people that I am the only person in this country who knows TV like anything else. I have discussed that with the President (Edgar Lungu) but they don’t want to follow. They think a Chinese is a better man [but] we will see who is a better man. I haven’t lost my passion. My passion is being translated to the young people,” Nyirenda said.
“I am joining the leadership [and] not politics. I want to provide leadership so that we can do things properly. We have failed to govern ourselves [and] that is why we have problems. If we governed ourselves properly, we would have enough wealth. This country has got everything that it needs. As we are talking right now, the dollar is hitting around K16. It just shows that we don’t have any leadership. I am joining the leadership wagon. I want to provide leadership to the youths.”
Asked why he decided to join NAREP instead of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) or other opposition political parties, Nyirenda said he couldn’t be part of defunct parties.
“I have worked with the government [and] I have worked with the opposition. The other day, I was asking my friend in the opposition to say ‘have you asked yourself why I haven’t joined you?’ I went to see president [Rupiah] Banda the other day to tell him that I will take this wagon because I don’t believe in what these people are doing. I have spent a lot of time giving them pieces of advice and they are not using it. So even if I joined it, they wouldn’t have used it. Look at the digital migration, that project should have cost us between US $30 to us $40 million but what did they do? And this thing I went to discuss with President Lungu but he just said ‘ok’. What did we see next? A Chinese comes with US $273 million and with that money, you can shoot your own satellite up. That money could have built schools or saved children’s lives. And that is why I can’t join where I see that this is already defunct,” he said.
And asked if it was true that he bought NAREP, Nyirenda said the party was not a profit-making organization.
“NAREP is not a profit-making organisation. You [only] sell something that makes a profit. You don’t sell something where you have to look for money [to run it]. How do you sell a political party? And from who to who? Yesterday, I spent the whole day with my friend Elias Chipimo and he was telling me the same that they are asking this question and we laughed over it. You can’t sell a political party [because] a political party is a huge expense. It needs money and it’s a non-profit. If it was making a profit I was going to say ‘yes, I bought it and I am going to make more money,” Nyirenda said.
Meanwhile when asked how he managed to ascend to the top position, surpassing old founding members of NAREP, Nyirenda said he was already running a political party called “Muntu party” which had been in an alliance with NAREP.
“I had my own party which is perhaps five or six years and I did not want to activate this party in the past years because I thought I can work with the people that are running already. So I worked with the ruling party president and most of you know very well that I worked closely with president Banda. I worked with President Lungu, I have worked with the opposition and I have worked with Elias Chipimo when he was running [NAREP]. I have worked with HH in bringing things that I think would help this country,” Nyirenda said.
“So, when I saw that these things are not working, then I started reviving. All these guys I worked with, I looked at their core values, I didn’t like what was going on. Then I chose to work with NAREP not knowing that perhaps a few weeks later my friend will resign. And when we joined hands, the NEC of NAREP said ‘Mr Nyirenda you can stand on this position’ which I find better because NAREP had more structures than our party. And that is where we are. My party was called The Heir or Muntu Party. That’s why when you look at NAREP now, it says ‘muntu ni mtima.’ We will raise money in here, with these guys. The same little moneis will build the party.”
He expressed confidence that he would win the presidency in 2021.