HAKAINDE Hichilema says if anything happens to him, President Edgar Lungu should be answerable since he has now come out on the open to declare that he plans to go after the UPND leader.

And Hichilema says if President Lungu does understand how the MMD privatisation programme was done, he, then, does not qualify to be called a lawyer.

Meanwhile, Hichilema says ba mwankole in PF have shamelessly gone back to beg for support from voters when not long ago, they were arrogantly addressing citizens with remarks such as “do you know me, do you know who I am?”.

Last month, sources told News Diggers that the Patriotic Front was using FDD leader Edith Nawakwi to cloth Hichilema with a criminal tag, after realising that the tribalism issue had been defeated.

The sources explained that the PF government had planned to arrest Hichilema using Nawakwi’s privatisation allegations.

This was followed by a statement from Chief Government spokesperson Dora Siliya, who said government was following the privatisation debate very closely and would decide on the action to be taken against Hichilema if he was found wanting for failure to declare interest.

Sources told News Diggers that, acting on instructions from State House, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) spent time conducting a search at the PACRA to find privatised companies in which Hichilema had shares, but did not succeed, thereby subsiding the debate.

But on Monday, President Lungu resurrected the topic, saying Hichilema was desperate to rule the country so that he could sell more assets.

The President told voters in Mbereshi during a by-election campaign that the number of assets which Hichilema had sold during privatisation were too many and that if unlucky, he would be arrested for his involvement in the sale of state assets.

However, in an interview, Hichilema said it was good that President Lungu had come out of hiding to declare his intentions without using his surrogates like Nawakwi.

“As News Diggers, there was a time when you reported that government plans to arrest me, and people thought you were malicious but the revelations by Lungu at the Mwansabombwe rally vindicates the management of News Diggers. It is from the master of oppression himself that God has brought him on the surface because he was hiding behind individuals like Nawakwi. Now, we need to tell the people of Zambia that if HH dies ahead of these elections, it will be Mr Lungu who would have killed him. Because as Commander-In-Chief, when you issue such a statement, it becomes a call to action and someone will take that as an instruction to kill HH,” Hichilema complained.

“I have been watching his gentleman threatening me, abusing me. What have I done wrong? How many more times does he want to arrest me? How many more times does he want to eliminate me? He has failed to run the economy, but he is blaming it on HH, he has failed to manage the Coronavirus, it is HH, load shedding, it is HH. Now privatisation is HH too. Was HH a minister in the MMD government? Was HH responsible for managing the assets? He wasn’t! Everything is HH, why don’t you let HH run this country then so that you can see his ability to deliver? Imwe ba Lungu, finshi amichita HH? (President Lungu, what has HH ever done to you?) What crime has HH committed? The only crime I have committed is working for the people of Zambia. He should have been talking about the water situation in Mwansabombwe, the electricity which he promised the people. But he goes to Luapula to talk about arresting HH. Kale wayamba arresting HH. I am not a criminal who is seeking public office. What development did he talk about at that rally?”

He wondered what sort of lawyer President Lungu was who did not understand the MMD privatisation programme.

“It is clear that it is President Lungu who has been sending his surrogates to harass HH, to harass the UPND members, to harass the so-called disgruntled youths. It is him who has been behind all those parroting privatisation and making a lot of accusations on me. Mr Edgar Lungu, as he calls himself a lawyer, should be able to understand what the privatisation program was. Clearly, this shows he doesn’t understand. This is what happens when somebody pays attention to nothing in life but just playing around and brutalising citizens,” Hichilema said. “The privatisation program was an MMD government policy program. In fact, it started in the UNIP days. As a lawyer, I expect him to know that any decent lawyer should know that. if he doesn’t understand, then he doesn’t qualify to be called a decent lawyer. He ought to know that the privatisation act was passed and promulgated by the government of the day, the MMD. He should never use public office to threaten innocent citizens. I am aware of plans to eliminate me for crimes I have not committed,” Hichilema said.

He called on the founders of the PF to open their eyes and see how President Lungu had destroyed Michael Sata’s legacy with incompetent leadership.

“When change is coming, it is coming. It is written on the walls that he can’t stop change. He is pretentious. Even people in PF other than the small number of hired guns are hurting and I invite those people, those genuine supporters of the late Michael Sata, to open their eyes and see what has happened to the PF and the late Sata’s vision. It is being destroyed by incompetent leadership. Incompetency is written all over, you can see it. People are hurting, that is what we should be talking about. I invite him to the table so that we can discuss how we can solve the problems of people, not wanting to eliminate HH. There were leaders before him who thought they could stop change,” Hichilema said.

He challenged President Lungu to face the people and explain why the economy was in recession and why the kwacha had continued to depreciate.

“We will revive the economy. The stealing going on is too much. Chinese are reporting huge profits of sales from Mukula here, they are recording only a small number. Chinese report that they have imported so much timber from Zambia, here ba Mwankole abale chusha abantu are reporting lesser figures. You must explain to the people of Mwansabombwe and Lukashya why the economy has collapsed. Explain to the people why you have damaged the kwacha from K5 to K20, that is failure of leadership. That is the way you measure the failure of leadership, it is through these processes. That is the way we test whether a leader is providing leadership, not threatening HH every day. Finshi nachita? (What have I done to you)? What pleasure does he derive in drawing me in cells. What sort of human being are you? How did you grow up? Why hate so much other people who mean well for the country? Why use state power to suppress citizens?” Hichilema wondered.

He said President Lungu had no idea that running a country was going to be a complicated task, and he had now run out of ideas.

“Are you not satisfied with how many people have already been killed under PF? They orchestrated the gassing and over 50 people died. That blood of the people who died during gassing is on the head of Mr Lungu. Ba mudala ngamwa filwa mwikalipa iyo, ichalo chaliba (If you have failed don’t be mad. This world is) complicated to run, it needs visionary minds and that is what the UPND will offer. God is using Mr Lungu to show that there can be bad leadership and through that, we will emerge with good leadership. We will never threaten citizens, including him. He will be a free man. I know what he is scared of. Sir, you have failed to run this country’s economy, you have destroyed the economy. You have failed, it is you, not anybody else. Don’t hide behind the advisors. It is you who is making people suffer. Retirees are not paid, blame him and his corrupt leadership. Now, you see them going to beg for votes, but not long ago, they were arrogant. When people complained, the answer was ‘you, do you know me? Do you know who I am?’ Ba Mwankole! This is their habit. We are saying that threatening HH does not solve economic problems. What we need is leadership and that is what we will offer to this country,” Hichilema said.

Meanwhile, Hichilema said he has nothing against Chitimukulu, the paramount chief of the Bemba speaking people of Northern Province, adding that he had supported him when the government harassed him.

“I have nothing against Chitimukulu, I have nothing against the Bembas. I have never done anything against Chitimukulu, I have never written anything against him. But it is clear when he needed help, we were there for him. We were there for our brothers and sisters when it was not fashionable to support him, when he was being demonised by the PF government. HH was there for him and HH will be there for him in future,” said Hichilema.