MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) vice-president Leonard Hikaumba says load shedding is not the only problem that has affected the country, adding that there are other complaints that people have.

Commenting on FDD president Edith Nawakwi’s remarks that she doesn’t know what strategy the opposition would use to campaign against the PF when load shedding had come to an end, Hikaumba said load shedding was not the only complaint that people had.

“Load shedding is not the only complaint that people have. There are so many complaints that people have. What everyone is crying about is the economy. The economy is not doing well. There are excuses that the economy is not doing well because of COVID-19, that is correct, but for our economy it started going down even before this COVID-19 came in. So we cannot attribute the downturn of our economy on COVID-19. Our colleagues do not have a reliable and sustainable plan to resuscitate the economy, that is the reason people would like to make a change. When you look at many sectors of the economy, they are really not doing well. We also have the external debt, unless they are saying the external debt has been cleared,” he said.

“This external debt had been created by the PF amidst advice that you shouldn’t over borrow, amidst advice that when you borrow, it should be under circumstances that are absolutely unavoidable. When such borrowing is done, it should be done in such a manner that you have a plan to pay back. We still don’t have answers on how PF is going to pay back these loans. They have been failing to pay these loans. So, it is not only about load shedding. The external debt is there. It is a huge problem which needs to be solved. If you go into our hospitals, we are still having a lot of challenges. I go to hospitals and most of the time we are just given prescriptions. There has been this NHIMA which has been created, it is not solving the problem because the beneficiaries who are supposed to benefit from that are still paying for medicines.”

He added there was a ‘mountain’ of issues that had remained unresolved under the PF government.

“You still recall that people complained about the purchase of those fire tenders, people complained about those ambulances that were expensive, people complained about so many scandals which have gone unexplained. City market was gutted, we were told that there was no clue who did it, up to now it is still quiet.We were told that it was going to be rebuilt within a certain period of time. I am sure you will also witness whether the structures have been completed. If you go into the rural areas problems have not been tackled,” Hikaumba said.

“We are seeing money that is being spent on infrastructure that is not of economic benefit. More jobs have been lost because the economy has not been well managed. Young people will be asking about the jobs that they were promised, which have not been created. So it is not just about load shedding. We are seeing a lot of money being spent by cadres while retirees have not been paid. There are [all] these complaints. There is a mountain of issues that have remained unresolved which the PF have failed.”

He further said the PF had failed to unite the country.

“Look at the social structure, there is insecurity in the country. People are not free! You cannot freely talk. Personally as a former trade unionist, sometimes I would want to meet my former colleagues, who are still in service because they are my friends. But they are scared because I have joined politics and they are scared to associate with their friend. If they are seen with me, they will be victimized. Those are the complaints we are talking about. It is not about load shedding. Let those freedoms come back. We are seeing people being victimized because they don’t belong to the ruling party, their businesses have been squeezed, because they belong to the opposition. People should be free to associate. The country is polarized, they have failed to unite the country. There are so many government workers who have been victimised because of suspicion of belonging to the opposition,” said Hikaumba.