UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says he is a successful man because he has denied himself unnecessary consumption like purchasing expensive cars, which is why can promise a better Zambia once elected as Head of State.
Meanwhile, Hichilema says he will have a balanced Cabinet with representation from all 10 provinces.
Hichilema was speaking on Camnet TV’s National Matters programme which was hosted by Pastor Moses Chiluba.
During the interview, Pastor Chiluba asked Hichilema how he became wealthy, recalling that when the UPND leader was asked a similar question during an SABC interview, he failed to explain clearly while Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, clearly explained his wealth on Aljazeera.
In response, Hichilema attributed his wealth to the opportunities which he utilised and the education he received saying it enabled him to start a business in corporate investments.
“I am not in Aliko Dangote’s league. I have met Dangote before and we had a conversation, totally different paths. If you listened to that recording, Dangote talked about opportunity, I talked about opportunity with my interview with first commonality. Second commonality when his father died at age eight, he talked about his uncle educating him, education, I talked about education to the young people and Aliko Dangote talked about the same. The third issue, Dangote talked about was a loan from his uncle. I didn’t get a loan from any uncle. No uncle would give a loan, what did I do? I started working and quickly when an opportunity arose, the very opportunity Dangote talked about trade and he talked the manufacturing sector, an opportunity arose for me to start an investment at a very young age 26, 27 years old because I couldn’t get a loan, I was from the village,” Hichilema said.
“So, my best and first investment was education. So you can see this coming in opportunity, education, investments. So he (Dangote) went into trade and I went into corporate business. I don’t have to articulate everything he articulated. We had our small way of opportunity and at a young age we started corporate investment not too long we partnered with others. Some of those businesses stand today, 35 years later, those businesses stand today and they employ people and they actually pay salaries and create opportunities for other young children.”
And Hichilema said he denied himself unnecessary consumption for him to be successful.
“We also went into agriculture very early on. One of my first farms in Chisamba, I started with six cattle. Today there are thousands of cattle in that farm through hard work, a lot of hard work, it is not easy. We moved on to a different ranch, hard work. When I was in prison for treason, which I didn’t commit, I made a decision when I was in prison that when I come out, I will start a new investment and within two years, it will pay back. I have just done that. I have only been out of prison two years running to three years, it is possible but you need willingness and opportunity to work hard,” Hichilema said.
“You need to deny yourself consumption! If you look at the cars I drive, a lot of pastors drive more expensive cars than me. I have made a decision that there is no value in driving a car worth $300,000, I would rather buy Steers worth $300,000 and after three years, I can buy the car most people in government are driving from the returns that I have earned. That is a culture we want to bring into public office. I am not Dangote, different routes, education made a difference. Let me emphasize I had an opportunity to leave the village, government bursary. There is no corruption, there is no sale of a mine, I have never sold a mine. When we form government, no corruption focus on education, job opportunities for the youth, hard work, work and more work. You will see after five years of our time in office, a different Zambia, I promise you.”
And Hichilema said he would form a balanced Cabinet with representation from all 10 provinces.
“If you are stronger in Southern Province and UPND, some people want to call it tribalism. When PF is stronger in Luapula, some people call it stronghold, that is distortionary and we should not allow that in our country. That is the beginning of the problem because theRE will be strongholds in a democracy in one region and the other, but what we shouldn’t do is to anchor those strongholds based on tribes or regionalism, it must be based on policies, it must be based on the appeal that you make. We need to reunite this country, it is one of my personal agendas. I am basically cajoling my colleagues in the UPND that one of our agendas as UPND should be to reunite this divided country. So that the cabinet of the UPND, and I want to remember today’s conversation, will be a cabinet which is represented from all the regions of Zambia,” Hichilema said.
“It doesn’t matter how the election results will come out because the Constitution allows us as UPND, like it allows the PF to nominate members from all parts of Zambia. Eight are enough, I wish it was 10 or 15 but to start with, eight are enough to be able to assure that on the UPND Cabinet table, there will be members from each of the 10 provinces because they are equally competent, they are all skilled, they are all Zambians, it is not the case today. It will be the case under the UPND.”
He said the UPND was going to manage the economy differently from the PF regime.
“We are in the process of seeking public office in order to manage the country’s resources in a most efficient way, in a most prudent way and not to be wasteful. Obviously, it is our duty when we take office, God’s will, acknowledge things that need to be done and done better, that is the duty of leadership. The reason you change leadership, pastor, is not to do the things that do not improve the lives of the people of Zambia,” said Hichilema.
“So we are not in the blame game. What we are confident about is that we can run the country differently but better and you will see it through stabilization of the Kwacha, because the monetary policies are measures that we will put in place so that when we come in office, we will need to stabilize interests. This will lead to stable exchange rates, that is where the Kwacha issue is affecting, because it does affect the cost of food and the cost of doing business. The policies we’ll put in place will lead to currency supply, money supply that will ensure that it releases liquidity in the market.”