UPND spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa says President Hakainde Hichilema will not use the Presidential Jet when travelling to the USA to attend the United Nations General Assembly but will instead travel commercially.
And Mweetwa says President Hichilema has not negated his promise to sell the Presidential Jet.
Speaking during a press briefing, Tuesday, Mweetwa said President Hichilema was not interested in a luxurious life.
“There is one point which I needed to bring to the attention of the media, this is extremely crucial in respect to the Gulf Stream. As the nation has already been informed by State House, his Excellency the President of Zambia Mr Hakainde Hichilema will be traveling to attend the UN General Assembly. We as a party are reliably informed that as a demonstration that the President is a man of action, who is not interested in luxurious life of comfort and in line with election campaign promises on the treatment of the Presidential Jet, his Excellency the President Mr Hakainde Hichilema will not be using this Presidential Jet going to attend the UN General Assembly,” Mweetwa said.
“He is travelling using the normal commercial flights like any other citizen. So that is a demonstration of prudence of ensuring departure of extravagant utilisation or abuse of public resources. His Excellency has also indicated that he will be traveling to New York with a very small team. His Excellency has committed to keep his word that he will walk the talk, very lean team. You will see the number of people he will be traveling with, he will be traveling with ordinary routine planes and not hiring a jet to attend that function. I thought I needed to make this clear.”
And Mweetwa said President Hichilema had not negated his promise to sell the Presidential Jet.
“Let me therefore on behalf of the UPND place on record that his Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema, in line and in keeping with his election promises on the treatment of the Presidential Jet otherwise called the Gulf Stream, his position and the new dawn administration, remains as was given as an election promise that once voted into office, [the] Presidential Jet will be a subject of and consideration for sell or auction because there could be better priorities. That is what his Excellency, then as presidential candidate, did indicate to the people of Zambia,” he said.
“We have seen that social media has gone awash to state that His Excellency the President is about to begin to negate on the election promises particularly to do with this Gulf Stream. I am here on behalf of the UPND to reiterate the position of his Excellency that it has not changed not even an inch. There is no shift of goalposts. What the President then as presidential candidate promised the people of this country remains to be what it is today, that the Presidential jet will be of consideration and subject of sale as such.
Mweetwa said the matter regarding the Presidential Jet would now be a subject of Cabinet and not the party.
“Going forward, the new dawn administration is reliably informed as a party that they are now putting together all relevant information to do with the procurement of that Presidential Jet. All the relevant documents are now being assembled, because at the time then some of the information we may not have had it. Now we are in a disposition to get all the relevant information in respect to that particular transaction as a government. Therefore, that matter will be subject of government decision at governmental level, not party level. We would like to extricate the party from the government. So, the issue going forward will be subject of Cabinet consultations and the nation will accordingly be informed going forward,” said Mweetwa, who insisted that government needed to fix the economy before making good on other promises like free education for the underprivileged.