HAKAINDE Hichilema is telling lies to the international community that Zambia has exported all the maize and is now importing the same grain at a much higher price than was sold out, Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda has charged.
Mr Hichilema told BBC Focus on Africa on Friday that Zambia had exported all the maize at US$200 and was now importing the grain at US$500 per metric ton, a statement Mr Lubinda said was alarming the nation and meant to cause panic in the maize market.
Mr Lubinda said Zambia was not importing maize and would not be importing the grain this year because the country has enough maize to last up to August this year contrary to lies that the country had ran out of the grain.
He said as a matter of fact, Zambia was food-secure and that Mr Hichilema was alarming the nation that there was a food crisis in the country.
Mr Lubinda has given Mr Hichilema a seven-day ultimatum in which to tell the nation about millers who could have imported maize and state the quantities at the alleged price of US$500 per metric ton, failure to which, the opposition leader would be considered a politically habitual liar.
Mr Lubinda said Zambia had 227, 000 metric tons of maize available for export and that about 594.000 metric tons was available for consumption up to August this year.
“The levels of desperation by Mr Hichilema and the UPND are worrying. It looks like Mr Hichilema and the UPND have run out of democratic ideas to sell to the electorate and have resorted to telling lies. Mr Hichilema has lost shame and morality and is now willing to parade himself before foreign media houses to tell lies about his own country.
He is alarming the country by lying that Zambia is importing maize at US$500 after selling the grain at US$200. We are not importing maize and we are not going to import the grain this year,” Mr Lubinda said.
Mr Lubinda said on Thursday, he informed the nation that Zambia had allowed the exportation of maize and that 227,000 tons of the grain was available for export.
He said Mr Hichilema was not importing maize bran for his livestock and was getting such animal feed from farmers within Zambia.
“Even newspapers that hate the PF with a passion reported this. Even Mr Hichilema’s favourite newspaper carried the story but it is not surprising because Mr Hichilema has become so desperate that he cannot be stopped by morality in his lies. Let Mr Hichilema state within seven days who in Zambia is importing maize and in what quantities,” Mr Lunbinda said.
Mr Lubinda said Mr Hichilema’s sense of anxiety of taking up the country’s presidency had become alarming adding that there was no country in the world that was selling maize at US$500.