FORMER labour minister Austin Liato says the UPND government should be given more time to implement their campaign promises.
At a press briefing, Monday, Liato said it was impossible for development to be achieved within the two months which UPND had been in government.
“Let me start by emphasizing that the President was elected and sworn in on the 24th of August 2021. So, you realise that between that time and now it is a period of two months. It is a very short time. I do know that within this short time there are other people who have come out so strongly either condemning the President or indicating that he has already failed in terms of performance in his office and going out of their way to discredit the leadership of the newly elected President and its government. I want to say that from the perspective of leadership, I have been in this political office before, it is not possible and practical to think that you can achieve anything within a period that has been covered so far,” Liato said.
“In the space of one month is not a kind of time frame where one can achieve anything in running affairs of the nation. Moving forward, let not our people be swayed by people who just want to condemn our newly elected President because they are political opponents of the President. Let us just not condemn because you have just come out of office and so they will do their best to discredit the leadership which is just new.”
He called on Zambians to reject politicians who had continued to accuse the UPND of failing to turn around the economy.
“We should not forget that we came from a situation where we were all harassed at bus stations because other people wanted money. Let’s not forget that there was violence that was unleashed and people retreated into silence. Let us not forget that we were almost being torn into ethnic divisions. I understand that there is need for urgency in resolving our problems as a people. Even if we run out of patience because of the difficulties that we have experienced in the last 10 years, we must all have the strength to appreciate and understand that it cannot be achieved within one month or two months. These things will always cost time,” Liato said.
“We will not achieve what we want to achieve if we are going to be inpatient. We must accept that the current government must do the needful, let them do their budgeting, let them do their implementation of the programmes that must be carried on. Let us see how the social services are delivered to our people. So those critics who want to tell Zambians that you can change the economy of this country, I am telling [them] they are doing it out of hatred, out of failure, or wanting to mislead many Zambians. Zambians must reject this kind of thing of people who are simply hungry for power. Zambians don’t allow people who just yesterday created an environment where you were so hungry, they created an environment where you were frustrated. These things can be created now but they cannot be created within a month. No one should tell you that President Hakainde has failed.”
Liato said the UPND’s victory in the 2021 election was a revolution for Zambians.
“I have heard people in one month or less already saying President Hakainde Hichilema has failed to implement free education promises. This revolution is for people in the school as well because we have to carry this message in our hearts and not to be swayed by people who want to be moved by personal agenda. The majority of Zambians who elected President Hichilema and the youths, this election and its results showed nothing else but a revolution. This is a revolution that we must acknowledge. It is a revolution not for one or two individuals but for Zambians themselves. This is a revolution that has come to fulfill the people’s aspirations,” he said.
“So, it is clear that you cannot do activities in a hurry, you cannot achieve anything in one month. You cannot have production of your food in one month and a half. We have to accept that it takes a period to produce results. This revolution is also for doctors, it is a revolution for teachers, it is a revolution for those in the education sector.”
He said there was a complete breakdown of law and order under the PF government.
“Don’t forget that there was suffering at the market where people were being abused because other people were holding political offices and there was no one to manage the process of running the business environment. We saw our people suffering at bus stations. These are problems that our people were going through. You were seeing difficulties in various areas of life where violence became the order of the day. There was no authority anymore, the police were powerless, there was a complete breakdown of law and order in the way things were managed. The rule of law was completely thrown away in the winds. These are real situations our people experienced,” said Liato.