THE PF government is trying to fool Zambians and divert their attention from real issues affecting the nation by using hired youths to champion the privatisation debate, says Jack Kalala.

And Kalala says the intention to constitute a commission of inquiry into privatisation is a scheme by President Edgar Lungu to arrest UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema before the 2021 general elections.

In a statement, Kalala, who served as president Levy Mwanawasa’s special assistant for policy & project implementation, accused the PF of trying to fool Zambians.

He also argued that the privatisation process was a success story as it helped to rejuvenate some ailing parastatal companies.

“President Lungu and his Ministers want to fool the Zambian people and divert their attention from the real issues affecting the nation and the many hardships citizens are facing as a result of the PF economic mismanagement and failures. They do not want to take responsibility how they have bankrupted the Zambian economy, hence looking for a scapegoat by blaming a successful businessman like HH simply because he is challenging them and they fear that he will defeat them in the forthcoming general election, if at all they will be free and fair. That is why President Lungu and the PF surrogates are panicking and coming up with all sorts of dubious schemes to manipulate the forthcoming general election. That is why they want, through ECZ, to mutilate the current voter’s register,” Kalala stated.

He stated that the PF should start by investigating themselves on the rampant theft and corruption recorded under their regime.

“They need to investigate themselves, first and foremost, for the rampant theft and corruption prevalent in our country today leaving government coffers empty and subjecting innocent Zambians to unprecedented high levels of poverty and suffering! All these crimes are happening under President Lungu’s watch and there is no doubt that he is himself involved, hence his failure to take action against the corruption suspects. Why not deal with the current crimes first? Instead, he chooses to resuscitate a dead issue that happened decades ago. Shame upon him! The PF leaders are just exhausting the citizenry of Zambia with so much crap, day in, day out! They do not go to offices to work for mother Zambia; they are just preoccupied with how to fix one HH. How this is going to help the more than 90 per cent Zambians they have so much impoverished? After the change of government next year, they should be investigated and prosecuted for economic sabotage! President Lungu should stop the rot to abuse the youth; he is destroying the nation,” Kalala complained.

“Parading innocent youths by this failed PF regime is a foolish scheme of desperation sponsored by President Lungu himself with the help of his surrogates and stooges. The scheme is meant to arrest Hakainde Hichilema (HH) who seems to give Lungu sleepless nights! Lungu plans to arrest HH just before next year’s elections because he knows, for sure, that if HH contests in a free and fair election next year, HH will defeat him hands down! Privatisation was a government programme undertaken by president FTJ Chiluba’s (MHSRIP) government. HH was just one of the many consultants engaged by government and he was only involved in the valuation of one or two assets. And HH did not steal anything at all, but Coopers & Lybrand, the firm he worked for, was paid fees just like many other consultants and lawyers, who were drafting contracts of sale of companies during the privatisation process. President Lungu, who was then-working for Masiye & Co. law firm, was one of the lawyers who had been contracted.”

He insisted that the privatisation process was a success story as some companies like the Zambian Breweries Plc and Zambia Sugar were rejuvenated.

“Privatisation in itself was not a failed undertaking because it helped rejuvenate some entities, such as Zambian Breweries and Zambia Sugar Company, including our mines, which had collapsed under the One Party State rule of UNIP. The liberalisation of the economy by the MMD government entailed allowing free market forces in the running of the economy of Zambia. It entailed doing away with a government-socialist command economy. It entailed allowing the private sector to assume capital and take the lead in running business enterprises that where hitherto run by government. Most government-run industries had collapsed because government anywhere in the world is not good at running businesses. Government’s role is to create an enabling environment for the private sector to invest and thrive, hence the need for privatisation. If an economy has to prosper, it is important to encourage the private sector, both local and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to flourish, create employment and wealth out of which a huge tax regime would emerge to boost government coffers of the revenues needed to provide social services, including healthcare, education, infrastructure development, instead of borrowed money, and uplift the living standards of citizens,” Kalala stated.

And Kalala wondered what the PF’s interest in the privatisation process was when other successive governments never saw anything wrong with it.

“Why did not subsequent administrations of president Chiluba himself, president Mwanawasa, president Rupiah Banda, and even president Sata, the founder of PF, bring HH and others to book if at all they had committed any crime during the privatisation process? How can a large government programme of privatisation that even involved world organizations, namely the World Bank and IMF, could be blamed on one individual, HH, who never even served in government, for the failure of some of the companies, which were sold, and entails the current government to set up a commission of inquiry? This is nonsensical! And why is it suddenly such an issue now? If any companies had collapsed following their privatisation, such as ROP, Zambia Clay Industries and many others, why not blame the ones who bought those companies and mismanaged them? Some of these people are currently in PF! At least Mosi o’ Tunya Hotel, to which HH is linked, is a big success story. Today, the hotel is a catalyst in attracting both local and foreign tourists to Livingstone and the surrounding areas and more jobs were created for the Zambian people, including suppliers of goods and services,” stated Kalala.