As MMD youths, just like other interested Zambians, we took particular interest in the news conference by Mr Hakainde Hichilema, the leader of the UPND and the subsequent special interview on Hot FM on Monday, September 7th 2015.
We keenly followed the two events because they were heavily promoted as the occasion where Mr Hichilema was expected to clearly lay down his blue print for the recovery of the Zambian economy.
We were however left disappointed by Mr Hichilema’s delivery as he failed to address himself to the critical questions of how to turn round the Zambian economy.
Regrettably, what we received was the same rhetoric that has been associated with Mr Hichilema since he entered the political field over a decade ago.
It was even more disappointing especially that Mr Hichilema is supposed to be an Economist of some repute.
When squeezed by Moderator Zachariah Chavula about how he would have handled the depreciation of the Kwacha if he was in State House, Mr Hichilema waffled is way out of the question leaving us even more disappointed.
We have mow concluded that Mr Hichilema is not the Messiah that he prophesises to be. He is short on key tangible solutions for the Zambian economy and Zambians will be wasting time listening to his rhetoric.
It is also laughable that Mr Hichilema now wants to reduce the running of this great nation to that of a private enterprise.
Listening to the interview left us with an impression that he wants to run Zambia using the same principles he uses to run his ranching business.
Well, we may not have studied Economics in Birmingham, UK like Mr Hichilema but we do understand that the variables used in running a nation and enterprises are totally different.
A leader of a nation sometimes has to make non-economic decisions purely based on social and geopolitical convictions while a Businessman like Mr Hichilema is purely driven by profit motives.
Listening to him also made us realise that he has been running for the republican presidency a record four times because he is motivated by the need to expand his business empire and not about serving Zambians.
On the radio programme, Mr Hichilema shamelessly kept on asking the Food Reserve Agency to buy more Maize in the current crop marketing season beyond the 500,000 MT allocated for.
He almost alarmed the nation by claiming that Maize exports will result in starvation in Zambia and called for an export ban on Maize.
We expected Mr Hichilema to understand that Zambia already has sufficient Maize stocks from the 2013/2014 season and carry over stock from the previous two other seasons.
That should be more than enough Maize to meet the country’s food requirements for at least three seasons in an event of a full blown drought.
By asking the FRA to over purchase, Mr Hichilema is simply asking government to exercise final imprudence which might again result in budget deficit.
What we expected Mr Hichilema is to encourage increased private sector players in Maize marketing as long as the FRA does play its role of guaranteeing strategic food reserves.
By doing so, the financial burden for Maize purchases is significantly reduced and Zambia can then earn more forex from exports.
When we say Mr Hichilema is willing to preach rhetoric for cheap political scores, tis is what we exactly refer to.
For now, the man who a mandate to steer the ship forward is Edgar Lungu and we should all rally together and support his administration.
To portray a picture as if President Lungu is reckless, clueless and indecisive is being economical with the truth.
We know that just a few months ago, Mr Lungu prevailed over Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda to reverse the mining tax regime which was choking the mining industry and threatening jobs.
President Lungu also instructed the Treasury to resolve the impasse over VAT Rule 18 and averted massive job losses.
Our advice to Mr Hichilema is that he should never think Zambians have forgotten about the source of his wealth.
The current problems facing the mining sector can be traced back to te manner in which Mr Hichilema and his cohorts at the Zambia Privatisation Agency mishandled the privatisation exercise.
It will not do for him to continue positioning himself as the Messiah for the Zambian people when he has no clue on how to fix the economy.