ALLIANCE for Community Action (ACA) executive director Laura Miti says ZNBC should give UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema the same platform which it gave FDD president Edith Nawakwi so that he can give his side of the story on the issue of privatization.
In a tweet, Monday, Miti stated that it would be important for the public broadcaster to give the accused party space to also give his side of the story on the matter.
“When is HH facing Gravazio Zulu, the best Zambian interviewer on his day (Sunday)? If ZNBC is to try to be even minimally professional, they have no choice but to bring the opposition leader on to Sunday Interview since they had Ms Edith [Edith] Nawakwi on the one side of this privatization discussion,” Miti tweeted.
In response to Miti’s tweet, one follower using a handle @tnzone wondered why this is when people were bringing up issues of privatisation.
“As far as I am concerned, the privatization thing was a legitimate business transaction and therefore there’s nothing to discuss. They had 30 plus years to resolve any discrepancies, so why now?” tn zone stated.
And another follower using a handle “Theoryapplied” replied: “True, Hon Nawakwi gave a very detailed account of the privatization process and how Hichilema was involved. Fairness dictates that Hichilema be given a similar platform to tell his side of the story. And who better do handle that than Gravazio?”
On Sunday, Nawakwi featured on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview where she insisted that Hichilema lured government into selecting a bidder to buy Intercontinental Hotel, which is now Southern Sun.
“There has been a lot said. And as far as the Southern Sun is concerned, I asked him a pertinent question. When the bids were opened, I took a deliberate step to call Hakainde aside and said to him ‘musa (my friend), is this the best bid? The value is US $26 million, why didn’t you take the one for US $20 million, why didn’t you take the one for US $9.5 million?’ There were a number of offers there. His answer was very specific and even a dull person could have understood it. His argument was that; ‘minister, these other people just want the keys for Intercontinental Hotel, they walk in there, clean it up and change the carpets, change the pots and start operating it as is. However, this bid which I am giving to you, lower as it is, is the best bid. We are going to get 250 rooms and there is a consequential investment of US $15 million,” said Nawakwi.
“Now, at the time, the economy of Livingstone was dead, if you sell Intercontinental and someone takes the keys and walks in and cleans the pots and starts to run it as Intercontinental, who would you rather take? You will take the one who is going to create some employment and build 250 rooms, to bring in US $50 million, and furnish it. The other issue that I put across I said ‘colleagues, I want you to create a trust for the people around Livingstone.’ I never said that these shares be put in individual names. Now, to find that the chairperson of the negotiations becomes also the shareholder is what has brought us to this stage. He hasn’t been open enough to say that some of the shareholders in the transaction were residing at Plot 14/ 3A Sable Road but who was residing there? It’s himself. The price was low but the investment attached to it was what convinced the government to say that we were on the right path. If he had declared interest, then ZPPA would have put another negotiator there. Normally in Zambia we think that politicians are the most endemically corrupt people but I think that governance should extend to the private sector.”