UPND secretary general Charles Kakoma says while the PF has failed to deal with the current economic challenges, his party can easily do so as it has individuals with a superior calibre and skillset.

In an interview, Kakoma said the UPND would never have ministers of Bowman Lusambo’s caliber because public officials in a UPND administration will be appointed based on merit.

“One of the major problems that we have that is contributing to the economic trouble the country is experiencing is poor leadership. From the Head of State himself to the rest of his Cabinet, it’s full of poor leadership. And it is our desire that the UPND government will be appointed on the basis of merit. People must have the necessary qualifications and experience needed to do the job. In the UPND, we are generally more superior in terms of skills compared to the PF. We can assure Zambians that we are going to be better economic managers; we will be better governance managers. The skill that we will bring to the table will be able to resolve many of these problems that the PF are struggling with. Someone wants to lie that they ‘inherited an indebted economy…’ it’s a lie! It’s poor managers that have destroyed the economy,” Kakoma said.

“I don’t know what criteria Edgar Lungu was using to appoint some of these ministers. Ministers, such as Bowman Lusambo, who even at the time of appointment people were shocked! People like him can find themselves as ministers. I think for him, the criteria he used was based on thuggery and bootlicking. Lungu wanted someone, who from history, has been exhibiting thuggery behaviour.”

He blamed the poor calibre of government officials for the country’s economic malaise.

“Even when he was in MMD, he wanted Lusambo as Minister on the Copperbelt to perpetuate that thuggery behaviour first and then he was assigned to Lusaka just for that purpose. Nothing else, but for thuggery, that is why we are where we are today. But we don’t want thuggery or political violence in this era, what we want are economic solutions. But throughout their stay in office, we have not seen any contribution towards economic management or recovery,” Kakoma said.

“Even in the case of Bowman Lusambo, how has he contributed to the economic recovery of the country? When he was brought to Lusaka, the only thing we have seen him do is beating people! In constant confrontation with people, especially on the onset of the Coronavirus. We saw him personally going to beat up people and we also saw him in his weird way of fighting corruption to man roadblocks as a Minister. So, that calibre of leadership is what has brought our country in economic problems and now the economy is on its knees.”

Meanwhile, Kakoma said that police were finally granting the UPND chance to mobilise because they had run out of excuses.

“It is still a hassle to deal with the police, but I think now they are running out of reasons to give when denying us a permit. They have seen now that the PF are busy mobilising, and they have completely no excuse to continue denying us a permit to meet people. Obviously, some of them are still scared of losing their jobs if they give us permits, but at least the situation is improving. In Southern Province in three, four districts, they allowed our rallies,” said Kakoma.