NEW Heritage Party president Chishala Kateka says UPND’s governance has been confusing because it seems the party was not ready to take up leadership.

In an interview, Kateka said there was some disappointment among citizens as they expected to start seeing things happen right from the beginning.

“It’s been confusing because our expectations were extremely, extremely high. However, you know how it is when they tell you ‘this person is so good, they are fantastic, and the moment they get in things will begin to happen’ and that’s what we saw. I think that there was some disappointment in that we expected to start seeing things happen right from the beginning. So we were shocked or surprised,” she said.

“Even with the appointments as you can see, it’s like it takes forever. First of all, it starts with the Cabinet, then it goes with the PSs. Even now some PSs are not in place. It’s like the level of readiness that we thought was there, was not there. For me, it’s that lack of readiness in terms of who you put in positions because you have been in the opposition for many years not months. So you expected the UPND to be ready.”

Kateka said some of President Hakainde Hichilema’s pronouncements did not reflect what was happening on the ground.

“The President keeps making these pronouncements which have not been reflected on the ground, like the issue of cadres where he says something, somebody else says something and then the cadres are still in there because there was no plan made for them. You know that the reason they become cadres is because they think it’s a means of livelihood. So the UPND needed to identify that these people needed to have been attended to by having a solution for them,” she said.

On the 2022 national budget, the opposition leader expressed worry that the growth aspect of the budget was inadequate.

“You see, the budget points you in the direction which they are going to take the country. This is their inaugural budget, so it’s fundamental, or if you can say [it is] foundational and points where you are going. They have indicated that they are going to borrow, that includes the debt that we already have and they said this new debt will take 30 years to pay back. They won’t even be there right? They are leaving it for posterity to come and sort out. My main worry with this budget is [that] the growth aspect of the budget is inadequate. It is worrying because a lot of the money we are borrowing is not going to go into growing something so that from what you grow, it is what you use to pay off that debt,” said Kateka.

“It was the very problem that the PF did, they didn’t really have a plan on how they were going to pay that debt and that’s why we are struggling under this debt burden. When you look at the allocations, what should grow the economy is not the government, what grows the economy is you and me, the people on the streets. So you have the two sectors that you really need to pay attention to, agriculture as well as SMEs. What has been allocated to SMEs is 350 million which is inadequate to make an impact on our economy. When you look at agriculture, FISP is a good idea but it is way inadequate.”