FORMER Finance minister Ng’andu Magande says he is happy that the Patriotic Front is no longer in charge of the country’s destiny.

And Magande says some of the mistakes which President Edgar Lungu made during his leadership were because of his advisers.

In an interview, Magande said he was excited that UPND had taken charge of the country.

“I am happy that PF is not in control of our country’s destiny, now it is UPND. I feel so extremely excited! I am sure Mr (Anderson) Mazoka where he is, if there is need, he must be smiling that one of the originators of his ideas, together with people, has taken over the stewardship of the party and now he is being given an opportunity to steward the country. In PF recently, there was this stewardship of saying ‘we are the founder members, why is this one here?’ In UPND it won’t happen because Mr Hichilema is one of the founder members and the people he is going to work with are the younger generation,” Magande said.

And Magande said President Lungu’s advisors misled him.

“Those jobs are very complicated because you end up getting many advisers and some of the mistakes that were made were because of some advisers. And then somebody advised him to deal with loans for teachers two days before the elections. One of the things he must realize is that he has to make a personal decision, how he wants to live his life from now onwards. If there are people who are going to him and saying ‘you did not fight, you were Commander-in-Chief and you did not use the army.’ He should feel comfortable that it is not good to put your soldiers with AK47 to start killing their own brothers and sisters who have not done anything. At the end of the day, any job that one does, you pick the positives that you were able to achieve and then don’t keep your head occupied with what you failed to do,” he said.

Magande commended President Lungu for accepting to handover power peacefully.

“It was magnanimous of him to handover and send a congratulatory message to his young brother, Hichilema. I want to encourage him to stay in Zambia. If people ask you how you ended up with so much property, you explain and perhaps the best words you can say is that ‘I am starting an orphanage or building a hospital’ and everybody will appreciate that you did not take the money to Switzerland,” he said.

“I want to encourage him that you have done something that we did not expect because in most African countries, some of the Heads of State start cancelling elections and end up in problems. What he has done now gives respectability. He will live like old man Rupiah Banda. He is my neighbour and I have never heard somebody going to demonstrate to say ‘when you were president, I was not paid my pension.’ I think he has realised the way he was using Bill 10 and also trying for a third term. There were wrong people who were advising him. Now that he can identify them and they have left, he is making the right decisions.”

And Magande said once the debt issue was dealt with, the country would be better in the next five years.

“The President-elect mentioned that he is aware of the national debt, part of it was wrongly acquired and so on the loan issue, I am sure he is aware of it. And since he has been dealing with international financial institutions, he knows about that. Something that is going to delay a bit is the US$12 billion debt, but once we go over that, I am sure Zambia in the next five years will look completely different,” said Magande.

“I think from the way you young people voted, you are telling those who have been preaching about other tribes that ‘this is not time for you’. Many of you don’t know your villages, you are just told that your father came from this place. So it is going to be easy for him to unite the nation so that we become stronger without considering where people are born and what their surnames are. People that voted are looking for something to do. The President-elect has to start thinking of how to engage the young people so that they can come up with their own programmes of how they will be employed and how they are going to employ other people so that they start producing things that are simple to produce. We can easily produce clothing, shoes in this country.”