UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says people who are claiming that the UPND manifesto is plagiarised are just jealous of the party.

And Hichilema says the protests by the Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) contractors on Monday are as a result of the destruction of the economy by the PF.

Speaking when he featured on Hot FM’s Red Hot Breakfast Show, Friday, Hichilema said some people were envying the opposition party hence alleging that it had a plagiarised manifesto.

“Those who are criticising, about plagiarism are just jealous of the UPND. Are you aware there is a test you can do if you write a document? you invoke a particular process, it will tell you whether there is plagiarism or not. Jealousy, pettiness, failure of leadership, then you start attacking an opposition party that offers hope for the people of Zambia. We have what we call a regional manifesto that we will talk about. In Eastern Province for example, how we shall revive agriculture, how we will lower the cost of fertilizer by removing corruption in the purchase of fertilizer procurement,” he said.

“PF is giving contracts to buy fertilizer to their friends and they steal money through corruption. We will lower the cost of production of maize, cotton and groundnuts. Once we lower the cost of production, we will lower the cost of mealie meal and people can afford three decent meals in a day. The manifesto is clearly talking about how we shall keep our children in school, even orphans. Including jobs, paying retirees on time and making sure that there are medicines in the hospitals, not expired medicines.”

And in an interview, Hichilema promised that under his government, contractors’ working conditions would be improved.

“(The protests) are part of the chaos going on in the country, the dilapidation and destruction of the economy by a greedy small number of people in the PF. The contractors are suffering, they need to be paid. Under the UPND, they will be paid on time, they will be given contracts. That will be the order of the day. They will be encouraged to grow their businesses so that they can employ more people. That is what is in for them. They need to support the UPND and support the change agenda,” he said.

When asked if he was affected by the defections of his senior party officials to the ruling party, Hichilema said it was their Constitutional right.

“The party is a voluntary process in membership, the party is a freedom struggle. Some people fall by the wayside when they are weakened or for whatever circumstances, others are determined and continue with the struggle. It is a constitutional right. My focus, our focus is to end this violence. We need a change of government, to end this hooliganism,” said Hichilema.