By Marvin Chanda Mberi
Initially, one and only five time losing Presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema who is also the recently selected leader the 23 year old opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) launched his wild hallucinations to sell off strategic national assets including the Presidential Jet, we gave him a benefit of doubt.
We opted to give Mr Hichilema suffient and fair opportunity to reflect on his intended direction hoping he will reconsider this careless ambition.
Later, in what appeared to be a rare public comment on politically charged debate from security wings, the Zambia Airforce (ZAF) reactively came out in open to correct HH’s arrogance of ignorance on matters of aviation security for the sitting President.
Of course ZAF was just compelled to respond in order to save the greater majority who would have innocently been misled by the apparent “Mr know it all” opposition leader.
The advice was plainly stated in uncertain terms that his premeditated and overzealous idea to sell the Jet was on national security grounds not tenable.
This unsolicited advice was stubbornly rejected and fell on Mr Hichilema’s deaf ear.
Rationally speaking, with the cogency attested from the detailed explanation given by ZAF, Mr Hichilema was expected to honorably concede and bring the security sensitive debate of selling the national asset to rest.
It is suprising that Mr Hichilema has reignited the futile promise of turning State House into a haven of ama sampo and the selling of the jet will be executed on the first day of his inauguration.
We would like to remind UPND and Mr Hichilema that he should exercise utmost humility and heed to the advice that would have given by ZAF, a sole institution with close to 57 years experience of providing aviation security to 6 Presidents who have ruled Zambia.
Mr Hichilema should weigh between his unrepentant history and the interest of the state.
While HH brag that he is a self proclaimed messiah that can eradicate all Zambian problems upon his appending of his signature on being inaugurated as Republican President, we find this claim unrealistic and plain lies.
There are glaring inconsistencies in his hallucinations on matters of national interest.
For instance, Mr Hichilema from uninformed point of view claims he will end Zambian debt crisis.
On the other hand he confesses that he will go for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package.
This is not the thinking of a President or an aspiring who is opposed to the contraction of debts.
On another front, Mr Hichilema as uniformed as he is, HH claims that he will channel the proceeds of privatizing the Presidential Jet towards the procurement of drugs in the hospital and in the Agriculture sector.
But how will he sustain his imaginary Government through selling of assets in order to mobilize financial resources to be used for delivery of public services?
As regards, selling assets as a means of raising public finance, here are our two observations.
Firstly, Mr Hichilema does not appreciate the reforms which have taken place at the Ministry of Health in 2021 especially the realignment of the functionaries is so far veering fruits to uphold public and donor confidence in the health sector.
Just this past week alone, about 58 million Euros was pledged by the cooperating partners to be injected in the procurement of necessities in the health sector.
This on it’s own provides for sufficient and reliable ways of mobilizing resources needed to mobilizes resources to buy medicines without risking national security to sell the Presidential Jet to aliens who are Zambia’s potential rivals.
We have not forgotten that Mr Hichilema promises to reduce or even waive the tax obligations of citizens while at the same time increasing the salaries of civil servants.
We wonder if this argument is coordinated.
On his other claim that he will channel proceeds of selling Presidential Jet toward the agriculture sector, again this is laughable.
Mr Hichilema has allowed politics to blind him and ignores the ongoing reforms that have taken place in the Agriculture sector.
Some of these includes aquaculture funds to boost the fishing sector, the livestock programs, reforming Fertilizer Input Support program among others.
As regards his claim that he will sell the Government vehicles in exchange for small loans for marketers, we wonder which country does HH live in.
As a nation is fully aware, there are several empowerment opportunities for marketers and the President has taken it upon himself to mobilize money to empower marketeers with start up capital.
The number of marketers who have directly benefit exceeds 30, 000.
To mention but a few, the Presidential Empowerment Initiative which was led by the now Kabwata PF aspiring candidate Clement Tembo, the Edgar Chagwa Lungu Multipurpose Cooperative Society all have the marketeers as primary and principal beneficiaries of President Lungu’s desire to empower them.
We challenge Mr Hichilema to visit any market in Lusaka and get facts from himself to appreciate how marketers are already having a fair share of President Lungu’s efforts to empower them.
We are also shocked that he has admitted that the congress which selected him as President was a sham and achieved only 29 % if the expectations, and it will single handedly be corrected by him using what he terms as “necessary provisions in the UPND Constitution.”
Now our concern is that how can Mr Hichilema or his controlled National Management Committee (NMC) “correct” what the general membership at the convention decided?
It is not proper for the NMC to interfere with the popular will of the people by adding in the 71% of what they deem as the inadequacies of the convention.
Anyway, we will carry on with this discussion on another day.