UPND national chairperson Mutale Nalumango says it is shocking how people are demanding that Hakainde Hichilema accounts for his wealth when those serving in government have refused to undergo a lifestyle audit.

And Nalumango says FDD leader Edith Nawakwi should think of how she will justify herself in court if she is sued for calling Hichilema a thief.

In an interview, Nalumango argued that critics questioning Hichilema’s source of wealth were wasting their time because the opposition leader had a clear track record of working hard.

“How is it that the same people, who are calling for Hakainde to account for his wealth, are the same ones who have refused to undergo a lifestyle audit? And for them, they have become richer within five years from the streets! Some of them have become so rich! Why ask Hakainde to account for his wealth? What of the Republican President (Edgar Lungu), who declared K2 million in 2015 as he entered the State House and the following year, he declared K23 million! I go for the Head of State because it is declared and I don’t know how his worth is today. And people can spend time asking a person of many years ago with a track record and clearly paid for the work done. It is sad,” Nalumango said.

And she wondered how Nawakwi would justify her claims against Hichilema if the matter was to be taken to court.

“For us, Mr Hakainde is a visionary person, who rose from the village and he was so visionary that he started building a house in Kalingalinga, while he was still at school. A man, who has worked so hard to get what he has today. How is Nawakwi going to justify that if she was to be taken to the courts of law? Today, he is being called a thief for purchasing a house, which was on public tender. Just on that particular house in Kabulonga, how will Nawakwi explain?” she asked.

She said that Nawakwi abated crime by going into an alliance with a thief and keeping quiet for many years.

“And Nawakwi went into an alliance with a thief! It means that she abated crime. If she knew that there was a crime, why did she keep quiet for this long? Is it that she fell out along the way or is it that she is cooking up a story for political expediency? That is my little sister, Nawakwi. This is extremely disappointing,” Nalumango said.

“For us, as a party under president Hakainde, we declare to offer service to the people given an opportunity. For us, it is not about the corruption that we have seen in PF. It is good that the debate about privatisation is on, but we know it is political. Edith Nawakwi as former finance minister also knows that Hakainde has explained his role in the privatisation. He has even been put in the privatisation where he had completely no role. The only role he played was to recover money on behalf of the Zambian people. And I don’t think this is the time to play around and try to destroy the character of an individual whom God has given strength to work hard and get some kind of wealth.”

Nalumango insisted that Hichilema had worked hard to earn an income and build his wealth.

“When you are selling, as a State, you don’t just look at one issue, you look at the development plan. If the people, who were in Cabinet at that time did not explain the rationale that was used to give the bidder, and why Hakainde anyway? Is he the only one who bought the Zambian privatised companies? And if you talk of Intercontinental [Hotel] Livingstone (now Southern Sun), this is one entity that has prospered and continues to generate income to the Zambian individuals and to the State compared to many that were purchased by many people that have collapsed. You can’t call this man who is a hard worker a thief. What did he steal? By buying? And was it him as an individual? They have accused him of selling the mines. Have they found him guilty? A company does not belong to only one person. And if any money was made, it could have been shared within the administration and to individuals, who were probably shareholders. This man is a hard worker who started in Kalingalinga building a house on his own,” said Nalumango.