UPND Alliance chairperson Charles Milupi says the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is an official member of the Alliance, despite its internal wrangles.
And Milupi has bemoaned the regional bias still being seen in President Edgar Lungu’s appointments to his administration.
Meanwhile, Milupi, who is also Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) party president, has insisted that Bank of Zambia (BoZ) governor Christopher Mvunga must explain the sudden rise in the volumes of cash being splashed by PF members, a situation he argues is negatively impacting the annual rate of inflation.
Speaking when he featured on United Voice Radio, Wednesday, Milupi expressed hope that Chishimba Kambwili and the members of the NDC would reflect and come up with a unified position.
“Officially, NDC have signed, NDC is part of the Alliance. However, we are cognisant of the fact that they have some internal issues that they have to deal with and we think that all of them: Mr Kambwili, the vice-president (Joseph Akafumba) and so many other people, they are mature enough to reflect and will eventually come up with a position. All we are asking is this alliance where we have gone, the Zambian people have so much hope in it,” Milupi said.
He, however, wondered why Kambwili, who said, “99.9 per cent of the issues in the Alliance were resolved,” would fail to compromise on the 0.1 per cent left when other parties had done so.
Milupi stressed that prior to considering Kambwili as a possible Alliance running mate, there were various issues that needed to be considered before it would be decided on.
“We think we have done a good job. What worries me is that the person who himself said, ‘we are 99.9 per cent…’ He cannot compromise on the 0.1 per cent that was remaining, especially as the others have compromised. So, we see sometimes that there are certain difficulties and you keep pushing about president Kambwili being running mate. There’s certain issues that need to be considered. For example, right now, he is under sentence, found guilty of some case. Whether that is genuine or not is immaterial. We supported him, but the truth of the matter is that he is under sentence of two years, he is out on bail; he is appealing to the High Court, that has not been processed. So, you cannot shackle down someone when all these matters are still there to be resolved,” he explained.
Milupi, however, wondered why Kambwili would call him a “one-man party” when he had asked him to be NDC vice-president at inception.
“They say that in politics there is no permanent enemy or permanent friend. Now, a little bit of history, when Mr Kambwili was in PF, especially in government, there are a number of issues that he did. The issues of The Post being shut down, it was during the time when he was minister of information and there are many things that he said. In terms of speeches of tribal connotations, there are a lot of things that he said…So, when they formed NDC, I have heard statements where he has said, ‘Milupi is one person and only his family, how can you have an alliance with that?’ I can reveal to you, Patrick (show host) that just when they were forming NDC, both himself and his then-secretary general Mr Mwenya Musenge…they came to my house, ‘we want you to be the vice-president of this new party.’ Now, today he is saying, ‘I am a one-man show?’ I said I am already president of a party, why don’t you come and join me if you want,” he said.
And Milupi bemoaned the regional bias still being seen in presidential appointments.
“Even in terms of the share of natural resources, there is a wide schism, there is a wide division. Look at how many people have lost their jobs in national interest or in the public interest. Analyse the names, you will find they are from, predominantly from a certain section. Look at the people getting contracts in government; they are from another region; look at the people getting appointments? Recently, there was four permanent secretaries appointed by the President (Edgar Lungu) and this raised an outcry because they were from the same region. And then there was a list that went into Parliament for judges to be appointed, again, when people rise, they say, ‘no, we are not appointing on regional basis, we are appointing on merit.’ What makes you think that merit only resides in one part of the country? There is merit all over,” he added.
Meanwhile, Milupi urged Mvunga to explain why huge sums of cash was being splashed around by PF members when the vice was not common during his predecessor’s tenure.
“They are in charge of Monetary Policy; they are in charge of money supply. Now, we had a very good governor of the Bank of Zambia, Dr Denny Kalyalya, this administration removed him, they put one of their own as governor. When Denny Kalyalya was there, were you seeing people with bundles of kwacha on social media? No. All of a sudden, we are seeing this, some with dollars and so on. In a situation where you have unbalanced budgets; in a situation where you are failing to pay interest on the loans that you have got on your Eurobonds; in a situation where retirees are not getting paid…But this money now finds itself among the cadres dishing out and so on. That is not how a country should run,” he said.
“This means that the systems have broken, the institutions have broken down. The governor of the Bank of Zambia is the one; Hakainde has made a statement which I have read yesterday (Tuesday) at his press conference. He (Mvunga) is in charge of the money supply, he needs to explain where these bundles of money is coming from and because I have already explained as to how inadequate our budget is, it’s not in the budget and they have no excess in the budget, it means they are printing money, that’s what Hakainde is saying, that’s what I am saying, that’s what many people are saying. They are printing money and because they printing money, the exchange rate is suffering, inflation is also going up and the impact you see, we, the Zambian people, we must recognise that when we allow those in government to do wrong things, especially the corruption that we see, the printing of money, the dishing out of money, that has to be paid for by somebody; somebody has to pay all these costs, there is no free lunch! Who are the people paying? It’s the ordinary citizens, the fact that people now are going to bed without eating.”
He further added that people in leadership seem to have more money than the Treasury.
“We have a situation in our country, today, where people in leadership of this government appear to have more money than the Treasury! What have they done? They have now made themselves donors, people that were sleeping in townships, driving very small cars. Today, if some gets ill, I will sponsor; no problem, but sponsor people from your own efforts. Now under the circumstances where money is going out, people are sleeping on money; we are seeing it on social media. Where is the money coming from? We need to ensure that the institutions of this country function the way they should be functioning,” said Milupi, who added that the fact that UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was more consultative compared to 2006 when he entered politics was a sign that he had evolved and will ably lead the Alliance.