PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu will be wasting time by attempting to constitute a commission of inquiry into the privatisation process because it remains a non-issue among Zambians, says Democratic Party leader Harry Kalaba.

And Kalaba says the PF should just get in the battleground and campaign ahead of the 2021 elections instead of using ill methods to disqualify others from contesting the coming general elections.

Last week, President Edgar Lungu said it was only a matter of time before he constituted a commission of inquiry into the controversial privatisation process after students petitioned him at State House to do so.

In an interview, Kalaba, however, said President Lungu was wasting time by attempting to constitute a commission of inquiry into the privatisation process because it remained a non-issue as most Zambians were not concerned about it in view of the escalating cost of living that government had failed to address.

“The President is wasting our time. People want mealie meal prices to go down. Electricity tariffs are high; when you buy K100 worth of units, they finish before you know it. Those are the problems that people want to be sorted out. Why isn’t he talking about opening Mulungushi Textiles, which has been abandoned? Why isn’t he talking about paying retirees? Why isn’t he taking interest in Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia, which is not performing to full capacity? What kind of leadership is this? We are in politics, let us go and meet in the battleground. We don’t want ill methods of trying to disqualify others for no apparent reason. Let us all mobilise ourselves and talk to the people. If you have worked, why do you want to use ill methods anyway? So, if there is an issue of privatisation, it is in court, let the court deal with it and then we will know,” said Kalaba.

“We don’t condone illegality, we don’t condone criminality, but I think the person who wants to push the agenda is ill-suited to push this agenda. Yes, something might have gone wrong in the privatisation, something might have not been done right. But is the person pushing it the right reason? You have to come to equity with clean hands. Yes, even now, people have died as a result of buying a jet, instead of getting that money to pay retirees. Even then, people might have died but it is a process that can be looked at. But right now, what is so urgent is that we should have the electoral process put right. We need to ensure that this sham of voter’s registration is dealt with.”

Speaking when he received a petition from students at State House, President Lungu announced that he would soon constitute a commission of inquiry to delve into the privatisation process, adding that the matter needed to be put to rest and that those found wanting would be answerable to the law.

“This matter has been on people’s minds and discussions have been held in various places. I have also had people pushing me on the subject matter. But like I said, the will of the people reigns supreme. Section 2 of the Inquiries Act allows me to set up a commission of inquiry and I am not obliged to consult anybody. But having heard the voices…across the country, north, east, south and west, throughout the country, I will take time to reflect on this matter. And I will make a few consultations. What you have given me is a petition of signatures without giving terms of reference so I will have to sit with those who are versed with the matter of privatisation, historically, and those who are versed with the law to tell me what would be the terms of reference for the commission. Then, we move in accordance with what the law provides,” said President Lungu.