UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says it is time for youths to put the PF government ‘ku wire’ come August 12.

And Hichilema says it is an insult for President Edgar Lungu to claim that people are living well when citizens are barely getting by due to the high cost of basic needs.

Speaking when he featured on Hot FM’s Hot Seat programme, Thursday, Hichilema said the August elections were not about UPND versus PF but about PF versus the Zambian people whom they had put ‘ku wire’ for the past 10 years.

(‘Ku wire’ is a recently crafted social media term to describe situations where someone has either been ignored, neglected or abandoned by someone they care about).

“This election, 12th August, is not an election for HH, for UPND or UPND against PF, no. It is the people of Zambia on one side who have suffered, who have endured, who have been put ku wire for the last 10 years, Zambian youth have been put ku wire, it’s their time now to put those in government ku wire on the 12th of August 2021,” Hichilema said.

And Hichilema said President Lungu’s remarks that people are living well is a mockery to the Zambian people.

“How many people agree with this headline? Millions of people agree that this headline is wrong…The majority of the people are on the right side of history against those in the PF and the people will win. The surveys we have done, 70 per cent of the people who were surveyed by independent surveyors want change, they understand that the cost of living is too high, things are expensive. Every week, mitengo yavintu ichinja (prices are changing), every week, manje ma salary yama chinja (they change) every week? No, salaries are constant for a year. If you are lucky, once in a year you will have an increment but prices are going up every day, how can people survive, how can they take care of their families, marriages are breaking down. This (referring to a newspaper headline), is mocking people. This is annoying people, living well, who is living well? PF ministers? A few cadres throwing cash around, stolen money? Printing money, no economic support of that cash printed…that’s how you destroy the economy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hichilema said the fact that he is not a professional politician makes him the right person to lead the country.

“I am not a professional politician, and you rightly identified that in the beginning, I don’t want to be a professional politician, you are seeking politics, public office to address these problems of food, of education and jobs and businesses, of being beaten, that is not acceptable. That is why we are seeking public office to dismantle debt, US$27 bilion now they are saying, and an economy of the same size. So it means we have no economy, it’s all in debt, that’s why we are assuming public office. And that intention is clear and the number you keep repeating, six times, and five times, it means nothing. How many times did President [Michael] Sata try? Over 50 years to become a President, MHSRIP, how many did he try? He made it at the fifth time. Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest Presidents of America, how many times did he try to be President? It’s just a number, it’s just in one’s mind, what matters is what you want to do when you are in office,” he said.

“Even your earlier comment that people are saying we are vague, we are not a typical President, that’s why we are the right team now. The typical politician has been cheating Zambians over the years, we are not typical politicians…the normal leading of the typical politicians have led us to these problems, so we need someone who is not a typical politician, we are the ones…yes we are different, deserve a new approach, remember people are saying HH has never been a councillor, HH has never been an MP. We don’t want the experience of the MPs of corruption, of ministers that are serving now of corruption. They are getting richer, citizens are poor.”

He said he had learnt a lot from his losses.

“A lot of lessons must be learnt by any normal human being. So we have learnt lessons on how one needs to prepare for elections, including preparing for manipulation of the election. Sometimes we have not paid particular attention to that on the assumption that the referee in the election will allow for a free and fair election, it hasn’t happened in the past. So I think this time we are preparing: one, to mobilise very strongly, two, to ask citizens to turn out in large numbers, three, to protect their vote. All of us, not HH to protect the vote alone, 14,000 polling stations, it’s not possible, not humanly possible. And obviously protecting of the vote means that until we are sworn in, that’s the definition of protecting the vote having won an election, we have won an election before, we have not been sworn in. Even what you are describing as losses, we believe we won an election and it’s very important that also, I don’t hide behind circumstances myself,” said Hichilema.

“First you must know, very circumstantial, maybe it was God’s way, I came through at a time when, have you ever heard Presidents die in this country? How many Presidents have died in office in this country? One died after office, President Chiluba MHSRIP. Two presidents died in office within my political activism, very rare. God’s, decision, why he did it like that, so that’s why you have so many by elections: circumstantial. 2006 I went to the election, after our predecessor president died, 50 days into election, I am settling down, 2008, President Mwanawasa passes on, very rare situation. I am settling down for 2011, obviously limited time. We now say after 2011, we are getting ground, we understand the issues that are going on in the election, election day, after elections, President Sata died, so only God knows why he did that. So the number you are calling, you are shouting, that number is circumstantial but no excuse about it, two, it’s Gods work, it’s just a number, it doesn’t mean anything.”