DEMOCRATIC Party president Harry Kalaba says President Hakainde Hichilema is having a difficult time delivering most of his promises because he was saying things he didn’t know as someone who had never been in government.
Speaking when he featured on Pan African Radio, Monday, Kalaba said President Hichilema needed to settle down and understand how government operates.
“UPND promised a lot of things and it is difficult to correct lies when they have already been uttered. They said a lot of things that are not true. And because they said a lot of things that are not true, it is difficult to undo that. UPND has never been in government. President Hichilema has never worked in government and this is his first time. I understand and accept the situation that he is in. He is a good man but the truth remains that he is a new man on the job. He was saying things he did not know. It is not easy to talk about how governance should be without realising that government operates differently. It has become a difficult thing now. He has to learn to settle down and understand how government operates,” Kalaba said.
“Once that is done, then probably Mr Hichilema will understand how governance works. So he might have said a lot of things he did not understand and now he is right in the middle of [the] thick of things. He is beginning to understand how things are and alas he has got challenges before him. The decision of voting for anybody lies with Zambians. If the Zambian people want to continue with costly experiments, so be it. I said it last year and they never believed and voted for our President. Truth be told, he has brought some sanity but most of the things that he wanted to do have not happened because he was never in government. Some of the things he said, I would never say them because I have been in government for eight years and I know how government operates.”
Kalaba said Zambians need solid solutions to help them come out of the current situation.
“Even as you are President, there are so many things you cannot do. Government has got its own laws and operates within a certain umbrella. Just because you are President does not mean you can do this and that. He is restricted. All eyes are on him and in fact he becomes weaker because [everyone] is looking at every move that he makes. So it is very difficult. For me I was hesitant even when he was talking about [how] mealie meal prices will calm down and the Dollar will depreciate by 14:00 hours. He was speaking things from a wishful book. Zambians are at a time when you need solid solutions to help them come out of the current quagmire they are in to the next level,” he said.
“We have made several proposals. What is required is to begin looking inwardly. We should take advantage of our potential. What we require is to look at our advantages. The new dawn government should have been having delegations going into South Korea on the issue of Zambia and the cobalt we have. Why can’t we start making batteries? Once we do that, we will be creating industries and most of the youths will take advantage of the market. If only we were aggressive, we would not even need the deal from the IMF.”
And Kalaba said President Hichilema just wanted to create jobs for his colleagues by giving them positions like Permanent Secretary for Special Duties.
“Mucheleka lost elections in Lubasenshi and they have appointed him as Permanent Secretary for Special Duties. What I have seen is that Permanent Secretaries always had individual portfolios. Where will those special duties come from? It is the Minister who has special duties and not a civil servant. In PF, there was one who was removed from the Ministry of Land to cabinet office waiting to be redeployed. You only have that position when you are waiting to be redeployed. You cannot be sworn in as permanent secretary for special duties because what job are they doing? That is an anomaly. That is what we call job on training,” he said.
“In the civil service, there is no portfolio saying you will be a civil servant for special duties. There is a job description for every civil servant. That is why it cannot be a permanent portfolio. You are just there waiting to be told. PS special duties just have a driver and it ends there. They are now like junior PSs at the cabinet office because they do not have portfolios. They just did not know how to not give them jobs so they gave them that special duties position. He did not have what to give them and he is under pressure. In the mind of President Hichilema and his colleagues, they thought the government has many jobs.”
Meanwhile, Kalaba said the recently held youth indaba was just a sham.
“They had a youth indaba and only the older ones were speaking. The youths were just listening so what was the purpose of that indaba? It does not work that way. Indabas must be held in various provincial capitals and not two days because it is a mammoth task. The youths were only called to give a vote of thanks. You have to be strategic and know the depth of what you intend to do. Government missed an opportunity to extrapolate stuff from the youths who came,” he said.
“They should have invited all youths from all political parties. We never got an invitation and the only ones who confirmed receiving are the PF who were called to attend the opening ceremony. But do you just attend the opening ceremony at the indaba? That indaba should have taken 10 days. It is just politics. It was a sham because it was a workshop. It did not take proposals from the youths.”