UPND Secretary General Batuke Imenda says President Hakainde Hichilema will only serve for two terms and, thereafter, hand over the mantle to someone else.
Commenting on Constitutional lawyer John Sangwa’s fears that President Hichilema would become a de facto life president, Batuke said the Head of State believed in the tenets of democracy.
“One would say that President Hakainde Hichilema, much as it will go to an extent where Zambians would love him more, and would like to have him serve longer, he is one man who believes strongly in the tenets of democracy. Our Constitution is very clear, it stipulates that every president, no matter how popular, will only serve for two terms. And President Hichilema I am sure will stand by that. He has said it over and over. Maybe what would happen is that he is going to groom someone who is going to perpetuate his dream so that he can maybe be what the Americans or the British call a backseat driver, be able to stand aside and help whoever is going to take over from him. The (Paul) Kagame arrangement is quite different. But the way I know the President, I would say he would serve his ten years and then hand over the mantle to someone else,” Imenda said.
“The man is very focused, he has a vision that will mesmerize not only Zambians but the world at large. His focus and love for Zambia is overwhelming such that he would like to bring Zambia on the scale to a level where we will have a middle economy. An economy that is able to employ as many people as possible with his focus on the youths and women. He really wants to see manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and copper as the mainstream of the country, of the economy. The man really knows what he intends to achieve. His focus is such that we will soon find things going down, the price of essential commodities will soon be available. Based on that, maybe it is from that account that Counsel John Sangwa is coming out with that opinion.”
Imenda said his party could be in power longer than people expected based on its performance.
“Performance is the most important thing in determining how long a party can be in power. It is not what I used to hear in the past where someone can say ‘MMD will be in power in the next 50 years, PF will be in power in the next 50 years’ and then on the ground you are doing nothing. The UPND can be in power longer than people expect based on what the Zambians will think, in terms of how we will perform as a party. We will perform to the expectation of Zambians to the extent that the Zambians will appreciate our performance and we stay longer based on our performance, based on our response to the needs of the Zambian people. And with that, we definitely see that the stay in power will be longer as per perception of Counsel John Sangwa,” he said.
Meanwhile, Imenda said some parts of the constitution may be changed but that the changes would reflect the will of the Zambians.
“We may change certain parts of the Constitution where we find some lacunas. With a lot of consultations, the parts that are going to be changed will be in a manner of expressing the wish in the will of Zambians. We will not bully the Zambians into giving them what they don’t want. We will try to avoid as much as possible what was happening in the circumstances of Bill 10 where people were bullied into accepting what they did not want. The indications were clear from the parliamentarians, the indications were clear from the people of Zambia, the civil society that they did not want the content of Bill 10 but the PF government bullied their way until when it failed. That is not our wish. Our wish is that whatever we are doing will be done in the interests of Zambians. The changes will not be at will but on the need based on the felt needs,” said Imenda.