UPND secretary general Batuke Imenda says there are so many employment opportunities and the party will not forget the youths who were present at an hour of need.
But Imenda says his party did not sign any contracts with anyone assuring them employment once UPND formed government.
In an interview, Imenda said the UPND government had a well calculated plan aimed at empowering the youths, but without discrimination.
“The UPND is trying to correct mistakes which were created in the last 10 years. The most important thing is that the UPND has been in power for barely five months and we have a well calculated plan which is aimed at empowering the youths. Our biggest challenge is not to provide for the youth, not only those that fought in the struggle but the youth of Zambia. When we talk about 30,000 teachers and 11,000 health workers, part of them are the youths. Beyond that, we have a well calculated plan and a huge budget which will look at the interest specifically for the youths,” Imenda said.
“By the end of this year, ask me that question, you will have nothing to talk about. Our budget started only last month and we are now gradually getting releases from the treasury. So you cannot in one month of releasing money, employ everyone. We must be very careful in realising that making the youths self employed is also employment. In fact for me, I would rather be self-employed than be an employee. So we are giving a choice to the youths. Some will be empowered in that line and others will be employed by government or other institutions. They will all be catered for.”
But Imenda said the party did not sign any contract assuring employment to anyone once the party formed office.
“When we were in the struggle, all we did as a party was to declare that we are going to change the government and create employment. But sometimes people have their own agendas. When we say we are going to create employment, we did not sit down with anyone and write a contract to say when we form government this one will be a lecturer at the University of Zambia or take over markets,” Imenda said.
“We did not sign a contract with anyone in that line. What we knew is like any other government in the world. You first win government then you indicate to the people that this is what you will offer. We will actually empower youths accordingly without discrimination. Let them hold on and let them give us a chance to settle. The time is too short for them to think we have forgotten about them. They are closer to our hearts.”
Imenda, however, said the party would not forget the UPND youths that were present at an hour of need, but added that all the youths would be catered for.
“We were vying to take over government for their sake and to do so we do not want to do something in a hurry that we will regret having done. Let them sit down and we will systematically carter for them in line with their attributes. We are saying we are catering for all the youths. When you say 30,000 teachers, not every UPND member was trained as a teacher. So why should they complain that it is only the UPND youths that are going to benefit?” he said.
“It is not every 11,000 health workers [who] will come from the UPND. So it is going to be a massive employment that will make sure that the freedom fighters and those others that just merely voted will all benefit. There are so many doors so we will make sure that we will not forget those that were there for us at an hour of need, those are closer to our hearts. But again, we are not only for our members but for all Zambians.”
Meanwhile, Imenda said the PF should be good losers and accept the Kabwata by-election outcome because in an election “you win some and you lose some”.
“You have to be a good loser. When they won in Kaumbwe and Lusangazi in Eastern Province, we had evidence that they had youths to vote but we accepted the loss. We just came to a conclusion that come next time, we will take precautions. So here you saw them running away with fake papers and they were locked up by the police. I do not want to make reference to the dirty tactics that they wanted to apply, those same tactics they were applying while in government,” said Imenda.
“So basically, they are entitled to their opinions. If they do not accept the results, it is up to them. Our man is in Parliament because he won and the people of Kabwata have spoken. That is how it works. We are aware that there was a lot of vote buying which was going on. I saw it with my own eyes at Kamwala Secondary school, a former Minister buying people. So basically, they can say whatever they want. I would say we beat them in Milenge, Senanga and Lusaka, we beat them clean. So in an election, you win some and you lose some.”