UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says removing President Edgar Lungu is the only way to revive Zambia’s economy because he has been a disaster.

And Hichilema says Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya’s acquittal is a sign that the PF has continued mocking and intimidating the judiciary and law enforcement agencies.

Commenting on President Lungu’s remarks that he would now take charge of the economy because it was shutting down in some sectors, Hichilema argued that removing the latter would be the first step to reviving the economy.

“Now he has eight months to go, what economy can he run in eight months? He has been a disaster to this country’s leadership, hence the collapse to the country’s economy. He has no capacity to run an economy, he knows that. Am I the one who is accusing him? No, who has said that? Himself. So, let us all agree that there is failure under his leadership, disaster under his leadership; corruption has gone up, debt has gone up, nothing is working,” Hichilema said.

“So, as Zambians, let us pack that debate because we have been debating whether PF will run the economy better or will improve the economy. The next issue is which party is the alternative? It is the UPND. We must settle the debate, no more arguments, including him where Lungu sits, he knows that UPND is a superior alternative to him in terms of running the country. Now is another time for us to work together to help this country, to retrieve this country by the confession of Mr Lungu from the total collapse where it is now.”

Hichilema questioned how President Lungu could fix an economy he had failed to run from the time he took over office.

“His comment to start with is a clear indication that he accepts that the economy is in a bad shape, that the economy has deteriorated so much. So, there is no argument about that. I think before, the PF were claiming the economy was doing well, there is no economy that is doing well, everything is down, growth is down. When he inherited this economy, he found it growing at six percent by 2019, it was down to 1.9 percent. Year end, we are going to be in a serious recession, the first in over 20 years, the growth will be negative. So he acknowledges that, that is good news,” Hichilema said.

“The question is that he is saying he is now going to take charge of the economy, so the second acknowledgement from that statement is that he was never running the economy from the day he took over. So what has he been doing for these seven years? What has he been doing? He has been playing around, his government has been engaging in corruption; buying expensive fire tenders, buying himself a $65 million jet which is only driven by extremely rich people. He has been spending taxpayer money at the expense of keeping children in school, at the expense of creating jobs for the youths.”

And Hichilema said Dr Chilufya’s acquittal was no surprise.

“On Chitalu Chilufya’s acquittal, everybody knew it was coming, that he was going to be acquitted. He never respected the courts, he went with a horde of youths and took over the Magistrates’ Court Complex. A Minister in the UPND government, can he do a thing like that? No! But in the PF, under Mr Lungu, yes you can do that because birds of the same feathers flock together,” Hichilema said.

“So abuse of the judicial system, what else did they do, we expected him to have resigned during the process of prosecution to give a fair adjudication, to allow the judiciary, the Judge the Magistrate and the Judicial system there to operate independently, that did not happen. So there was actually an intimidatory behavior that was exhibited which took away the freedom of the court to adjudicate in a fair manner. If he shouldn’t have resigned, he should have been removed, he should have been at least suspended and that will be happening in the UPND government.nYou are going through a court process after investigations, not before you have to take leave of absence from office if you don’t, you will be suspended to allow that fair adjudication.”

He said President Lungu threatened the Judiciary when accused investigative wings of being after him.

“Mr Lungu himself sent a message to both oversight institutions and indirectly to the Judiciary by threatening them when he announced on the Copperbelt that he is aware that the ACC was against him, they were going for him, they were prosecuting his people selectively including Chilufya Chitalu. What message did that send to the Judiciary and the Anti-Corruption Commission? He sent a message that stop what you are doing, stop prosecuting my people, because I don’t want you to prosecute me, is he above the law? No, why did he do that? Birds of the same feathers flock together,” he said.

Hichilema said PF had mocked and destroyed the Judiciary with their continued intimidation.

“So they have destroyed the Judiciary. They are making a mockery over the Judiciary, they have destroyed it! We will have to rebuild it when we come into office, God’s will courtesy of the people of Zambia. So everything is broken under PF. There is no rule of law. So, it is a farce, now nolle prosequi, if not intimidation to the Judiciary, physical as you saw when Chilufya was there or a veiled threat by Mr Lungu himself,” said Hichilema.

“I pity the Anti-Corruption Commission, I pity the police, I pity the Financial Intelligence Center as you know when they produce their reports, the one who should have received the report with both arms calls it nfwiti nfwiti (witchcraft). So, there is no political will to fight corruption, we are on our own, that is the problem, that is the challenge we have and that too can be dealt with through a change of government, to replace the defunct PF, the absentee landlords PF team with the UPND responsible leadership. A leadership that will respect the rule of law. Zambians keep your hopes high, help is on the way, order is coming.”