Hope for our troubled economy

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We have a vision, a great vision, an ambitious vision, and we are not ashamed of our aims, because they are just and noble.

This is the vision of the UPND – to be united in national development – so that we can fulfil that noble promise to the next generation: To leave the world a better place than we found it.

Let us face it, our economic problems were not visited on this country by some cruel act of God or forced onto us by nature. These are man-made problems created by the PF. They were created by the mistakes of human beings — the PF leadership. The government of the day has forsaken the people of Zambia. It has forsaken its mandate to govern and improve the lives of people. Instead, it has gone astray, and made our lives worse off than we were before. This is a government that prioritises the lavish lifestyle of its leaders at the expense of Zambians.

Just a few weeks ago, President Edgar Lungu chartered a private Jet from Lusaka to the USA at a colossal sum of $300,000 or ZMW4.2 million! How ridiculous and un-empathetic can one be that they get to such extents of abusing tax payers’ money? Yet, at the same time, this is the same leadership that goes to the international community begging for money and borrowing at high interest rates, sentencing our future generations to huge debts and permanent economic misery! These are the kind of leaders we have, heartless! Visionless! Careless!

Let us make this right! Let us claim a better life for all. Let us claim the constitution which we have all been longing for.

The PF government has borrowed and continues to borrow too much money, at exorbitantly high costs. Borrowing too much is the cause of Zambia’s problems, not the solution. And these problems will affect our future generations. We surely do not wish to get back to the days of HIPC-Highly Indebted and Poor Country. That will be a disgrace. But alas, the IMF is in town, they are here already – because the PF has been reckless and did not listen. What then lies ahead for our country and its people?

The PF government think you can borrow without regard to ability to pay, and spend carelessly on by-elections and luxury private jets, sipping champagne without regard for the serious needs of the country, and all this done on the premise that more money will be made from ‘somewhere’, without telling you, my brothers and sisters, that it is you to pay for all this when they are long gone.

The PF will leave our beloved Zambia with the worst debt crisis in our history. And all this has been done in a space of less than three years. Already our currency, the Kwacha, has become the most worthless currency on the face of the earth in just a few years of PF’s being in power.

What a catastrophic mistake the PF is! Let us make sure it never happens, again. Let us guard against carelessness in governance, especially financial governance.

We have huge challenges facing this country that clearly the PF has neither the understanding nor strong leadership to address. We are faced with a poorly performing Kwacha which keeps depreciating each day, a clear reflection of the PF’s lack of grasp on prudent economic management. We have huge and rising debts, to which the PF have no plan on how to manage. These challenges require a serious economic management team and leadership which is currently lacking in the PF. They are presiding over a country who investors have no confidence in due to the inconsistent policies by the PF.

We in the UPND are here to provide this leadership that can confidently address the nation’s current problems.

For us as the UPND, getting the long-term unemployed youths of Zambia to new, real and proper jobs is top on our agenda. We want to invest in alternative energy to urgently address the current power shortage that have crippled the mining and other productive sectors leading to job losses. We want to create wealth for our people, to allow business to flourish and encourage entrepreneurship among our ambitious youths. And while we do this, we want to cut the huge deficit that the PF has created by broadening the tax base without constricting the over taxed employees.

Make no mistake: it is this Party, the UPND that has the energy and ideas to take our country go forward and I want to encourage everyone to join and support this party for the greater good of our nation.

When we come into office in 2016, we acknowledge that we will be faced with a clear and daunting task: to turn our country around. With a poorly performing Kwacha, a huge deficit, increased poverty and poor economic management, it will not be easy, but it will also be not impossible.

Together – we should all begin to prepare to clean up the mess that the PF is creating.

Many people today question our approach to governance, saying the energy crisis cannot be fixed. People say the Kwacha cannot be fixed. The PF are constantly refusing to take responsibility for their poor grasp of the economy, they keep saying “can’t be done”, they keep saying “It is a Global issue”– we in the UPND say “we will do it!” Nothing can come the way of a properly managed and organised party with a clear vision such as ours.

Let us ask ourselves:

Who presided over the firing of nurses at UTH which left patients without care for a long time? – PF.
Who is presiding over the worst performing currency in Africa? – PF.
Who is borrowing heavily indebting this country? – PF.
Who is sentencing our population to permanent ill health and death by under-staffing our hospitals without any medicines? – PF.
Who has been flying on private jets to the USA at colossal amounts of Zambian tax payers – PF leaders.
Today, we are a country that cannot pay its service personnel on time. We are a country that cannot recruit sufficient security service personnel, a country that cannot recruit sufficient teachers and medical personnel. We are a country that does not pay its retirees on time – our retirees die without receiving their benefits, and yet, we have a president, Edgar Lungu, who imagines that he has unlimited resources to travel around the world flying in private jets at a cost of US$300,000 to Zambians!

As the UPND, on our part, our commitment is to bring about change in the way we live and provide sustainable economic opportunities for every Zambian. Our nation is too rich to have poverty at 60% of the population. And we are too poor to afford and sustain the gluttony and luxury of the PF’s leaders. Our goal is to ensure a decent existence for all Zambians. And, by the Grace of God, and by your granting us governance in 2016, that is what we will do—we will remain true to our commitment and we will remain resolved and undeterred in achieving our goal of a better Zambia.

Together, We Can

Hakainde Hichilema
UPND President

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