UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma says the PF government should invite his party to discuss debt restructuring with the same spirit in which they consulted NDC president Chishimba Kambwili on the mines.

In an interview, Kakoma recalled that UPND president Hakainde Hichilema had in the past offered free consultancy to government on debt restructuring, but lamented that the PF had ignored his repeated requests for a meeting.

“As UPND, we have offered advice to the PF government several times in the past. We have also said we are available to help them out on many issues affecting this country. Recently, if you recall president Hakainde Hichilema was available to offer them free consultancy over debt restructuring; we have a huge foreign debt and they don’t know what to do. HH said he was available to help them. They have ignored it; they have not even contacted him, they have just ignored it. We believe that even on these mining issues, they are dead scared of getting advice from the UPND, we don’t know why they are dead scared,” Kakoma said.

“They have not even come up to say why they can’t take that opportunity to get help from UPND. They probably think UPND would get the credit. For us, it is not the question of getting the credit; it’s a genuine offer. We just want to help our country because a lot of people are suffering as result of this chocking debt. So, yes, we believe now that we are still open to give advice; it’s up to them to accept advice from anybody, including UPND. If they refuse, that is up to them. So, they should come on the table like they did with Kambwili and discuss the debt; we are available.”

And Kakoma said there were a lot of issues that were negatively affecting Zambia, hence the need for government to listen to various stakeholders.

“So, we want this country to have breathing space, economically, the debt should not continue to choke us. We are not after getting credit, we are just after helping. But they think that UPND will get the credit and use it as a campaign tool, that will not happen. We have always offered advice if the PF were taking up those solutions, things could have been different from what is happening now. So, the solutions are there, it is just for them to open up and take advice from every Zambian who can help them. If they believe that they have the monopoly of wisdom, they will continue to have headaches, they will continue to mess up, they will not manage to find the solutions. Solutions lie with every Zambian to help out,” he said.

“There are a lot of issues affecting this country, but we are not being utilized by the government as an opposition that should provide not only the alternative solutions, but also to appreciate our checks and balances. When we provide checks and balanced, you will think that we are undermining them, no! Checks and balances are the accepted form of governance throughout the whole word. So, they should accept that we are existing as the UPND. In fact, we are considering ourselves to be the biggest political party, not just the biggest opposition political party, but the biggest political party as of now. So, they should get advice from us; if they get scared, things will get worse for them! They will even lose more popularity and lose the next election by a huge margin!”

Meanwhile, Kakoma wished Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya a quick recovery.

“We sympathize with Dora’s situation; it is not nice to contract any disease, let alone COVID. We do not wish any Zambian to contract it that is why, as UPND, we are putting in our best to fight this COVID. For Dora, we wish her a quick recovery so that she can continue contributing to the well-being of this country. What has happened to Dora is unfortunate,” said Kakoma.