PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema says his mind is not on a salary but the people.

And President Hichilema says he and his wife have forbidden their children from working for government because they are privileged and those jobs should be taken by other Zambians.

Addressing the media shortly after cleaning some roads in Lusaka Central Business District in commemoration of Kenneth Kaunda Day, Thursday, President Hichilema said he had not taken a salary since he took office because his mind was on people’s welfare.

“We inherited a very difficult economy. Run down, no jobs, everything was down. Now we are reconstructing it. The good news is that we know where the problems came from and we are fixing them, and then you will see the benefits. Those benefits are not for me. As you know, I’ve not taken a salary since I’ve taken office, my mind is not there, my mind is where these people are. How are they sleeping, how are they eating, what is the environment; do they have water. That is where my mind is,” he said.

“We are working on something, we want to find beneficiaries. When we have decided and then those beneficiaries that have been identified and a proper structure to manage that little fund, I want to use that little fund to ask friends in the country; business friends, farmers to contribute. I’m leading by example. Then I want to ask friends in the international community to also include and add something, then we can grow that fund and more beneficiaries will come out of there.”

And President Hichilema vowed that his children would never work for the government.

“I started working for myself when I was 27-years-old. That’s good isn’t it? My children, my biological children have been stopped by me and my wife from working for the government. None of them will work for the government. Why? It’s to give space for your children, yourself to work for the government because HH’s children are privileged. Now that they are privileged, they must allow others to also have access to income. I am funded by myself,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Hichilema said there was a need to emulate first president Dr Kenneth Kaunda in a holistic way.

“KK was a great man, he represented humanity, true semblance of humanity and we should basically emulate him. I am a product of KK’s free education system. Are you surprised that once we took office, one of our first steps was to install free education. You shouldn’t be surprised. We who benefitted from KK now that we are in the office where he sat, imagine for 27 years, I’m sitting there. I must emulate and how do I emulate? Free education. More than that, Constituency Development Fund. Remember I was talking about localizing priorities for development but also hygiene and sanitation. It’s part of the Kaunda vision and we carry on with that,” he said.

“So let us emulate KK in a holistic way. But the issue of humanism week, we must be humanists everyday. Today is KK Day. I come out, dirty. Garbage should not be collected because the President is here, it should be daily. Our humane behaviour; love towards each other, kindness towards each other, supporting each other. Inclusion, not exclusion, unity not divisions. If we treat each other that way with respect, the way we want to be respected, humanism won’t be in a week, in a year. I wish it would be everyday, I want it to be everyday. Many people thought I was joking in opposition. We said free education; it’s here, we said more CDF, it’s here. This is only the beginning.”

He said it was unfortunate that people were losing their humane feelings, as evidenced by a spike in crime cases.

“Crime, crime, when you see increasing crime, it means we are losing our moral and humane feelings. How do you rape a 13-year-old child, a girl child. How do you do that? Which home were you brought up in? Really. So our humanism feeling is daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. It’s everyday,” he said.

The Head of State said only economic revival could provide solutions to problems like street vending.

“The solution to the issue of vendors and street kids is for our country to revive the economy. We revive the economy which was destroyed. We are on the road to restructure the debt, to release money to put into the economy. I was having a meeting with public officers at the State House and I used two examples; that when we spend money recklessly, we are Mr Expenditure. But Mr Expenditure, we don’t want him, we want a lady called Ms Revenue. That’s the one we want to promote. That’s why we are fighting corruption: we release money from corruption, we put it in the community and create more markets,” he said.

“We also provide some funding called ‘Chilimba’. We are working towards providing Chilimba so that even street kids once we give them a skill, we take care of them, then they have sustainability to trade in a decent place. Because if they trade in the streets everyday, one day they will be hit by a car and we will lose our own citizens and that’s not good. These are the measures we are putting in place. HH is part of this community, I’m part of the street vending, I came from them, I was raised by a village woman, I’m one of them. I’m them, they are me. I cannot succeed when they are not succeeding. Together we should succeed. I love them, we love them.”

President Hichilema highlighted the importance of having a clean environment.

“We must, I repeat, we must clean our surroundings, we must be orderly, not just look like, we must be orderly then we can reduce the disease burden, then we can raise our children in clean environment and then when they grow up they will understand that ifiko, dirt is not good. The issue of cleanness should not be left to the council alone. Who cleans our homes? It is us, isn’t it? With our own children,” he said.

“We have garbage bins, we dispose of these bins somewhere but my direction is that let’s localise the issue of hygiene and cleanliness. In the wards, communities, we know each other. Let’s refrain from dumping garbage anyhow and expect someone to come and collect it. Once we localise the cleanness, then the council work will be easy. But on the part of the council, it is their duty to make sure that locations are clean. That’s why they work for the authority. It takes two to tangle.”

President Hichilema also said his government had been very organised from the time it took office, as could be seen from council workers who had no salary arrears.

“This government has been very organised. Since we came into office, we know that council workers’ salaries, some of them were behind by 15 months and now they are current. But if there is a day, one or a day, it’s unfortunate. I understand finances would have lagged somewhere but this is the orderliness we are talking about; paying the council workers on time and if there is a flip-flop, we must correct it. But also as citizens, we must be patient because this system is different from the previous system,” said President Hichilema.