We wish to deal with untruths and sheer propaganda contained in the response to our castigation by Mr. Charles Kakoma on behalf of United Party for National Development (UPND) and his leader Mr. Hakainde Hichilema. We wish to restate the fact that when His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu fell ill, he chose to be admitted at Maina Soko Hospital until the medical personal recommended for specialized treatment.
If UPND was sincere enough, they would agree that evacuation of citizens is not and has never been a preserve of the PF but has been availed to Zambians from different walks of life, including those outside Government. We do not however consider it a worthy cause to catalogue those Zambians who have been evacuated before and who are not PF members because we respect their privacy and do not take pleasure in other people’s health challenges as the case may be. It is in this spirit that PF sends its earnest prayers to newly appointed Secretary General Hon. Stephen Katuka and wish him the quickest recovery. As a matter of principle, PF will not drag Hon. Katuka’s misfortune as a subject for politicking in the manner Mr. Kakoma wishes to do.
PF in Opposition recognized the country’s general infrastructure deficit as it relates to key areas, including the health sector. Upon forming Government, PF has aggressively moved to invest in the country’s infrastructure, including roads, schools and hospitals. It seems only yesterday that the UPND leader castigated PF by insisting that citizens would not eat roads. Today we are proud to report that with the work done so far, citizens can move on good roads, and this includes Mr. Hichilema’s political program, including his investments which are also benefiting from these good roads, a fact they will never acknowledge.
To highlight a few, infrastructure development in the health sector over the past three (3) years has seen the construction of Health facilities in all of Zambia’s ten (10) Provinces, including construction of the new and refurbished Filter Clinic at UTH, which had remained in a deplorable state for years. PF is also on course with the Cancer Hospital and determined to ensure phase two (2) is completed so that phase three (3) can start which will see the Construction of Cancer Hospitals in Provinces. PF in Government will continue to make increased investment in healthcare, such as the construction of 650 health centres across the country.
PF in Government has been implementing the National Health Strategic Plan, 2011-2015, a broader vision about how the public and private sector can work together; a greater emphasis on providing and funding primary-care services; and strategies to ensure that all citizens, including the most impoverished, have reliable and accessible healthcare. PF has been candid enough to acknowledge that there are obstacles on the way and these must be overcome. The investments into the country’s health sector such as the procurement of CT Scans at Livingstone, Ndola and Kitwe Central Hospitals, the cart laboratory at UTH valued at K6.3 million kwacha for diagnosis of patients with heart problems to decongest the waiting list that would have over 400 heart cases at UTH, among others, is sufficient proof of PF’s rethinking and restructuring of Zambia’s healthcare systems so that they are fit for purpose, making care available to a majority of their citizens, and improving health outcomes.
President Lungu and his PF administration understand that good health is both factor on the demand and supply side of development economics. This is because healthy individuals live longer lives and are more productive and contribute to national income, job creation, and economic development and growth.
With this understanding comes hard political choices, as well as an acceptance by government that healthcare represents a critical investment in the country’s population and good for the nation.
Lastly, during The Assignment Programme on Muvi TV, where UPND’s “who is who” ganged up in vain against one President Lungu, Mr. Hichilema asked for 5 years to be able to do what he envisages to be Zambia’s development. We therefore wonder why Mr. Hichilema expects President Lungu to deliver in six (6) months what he wishes to do in 5 years. During the Assignment Programme on Muvi TV, Mr. Hichilema told the nation that he had a dummy budget starched somewhere under lock and key in some briefcase. Apparently this hidden treasure is supposed to be the miracle budget for Zambia.
It is this dummy budget they seek to implement if voted into office next year. The country has heard this before with late Chama Chakomboka who told Zambians that he knew where precious stones, including oil and gold where but kept it as a secret and sadly went with the concealed knowledge to his grave. Zambians also recall that UPND’s original tradition under the late Anderson Kambela Mazoka is to provide alternative and not dummy national budgets. Mr. Mazoka and team had the intellectual depth to provide alternative budgets to those of late President Levy Mwanawasa’s government.
Interestingly, UPND has now migrated from the era of alternative budgets under late Mazoka to that of dummy budgets under Mr. Hichilema. Zambians would have to be wary of what tax this dummy budget promises to do for mining houses reportedly financing UPND campaigns. This is considering that Zambia’s mining sector has been auctioned before for a song and under very reckless and selfish circumstances.
We also called on Mr. Hichilema’s philanthropic initiatives to become more visible as could have been expected by the patients he visited at UTH. Zambians could have also noted that it is in the best interest of UPND to kill the privatization story around its leader Mr. Hichilema. Zambians would be glad to put the matter to its finality if the UPND leader could answer the questions he intelligently avoided during the SABC interview and in making this demanding, we are not asking for too much.
If Mr. Kakoma believes his leader did justice to the matter, we challenge UPND with its financial muscle to air the SABC interview on both ZNBC and Muvi TV for Zambians to judge on their own. If they are not ready, the PF Media and Publicity Committee will be more than glad to air Mr. Hichilema’s interview for the benefit of Zambians.
Issued By: Sunday Chanda, Vice Chairperson, PF Media and Publicity Committee