UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema yesterday visited NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili and resolved to mobilise other opposition political parties to demonstrate against “illegal” salary increments for ministers, among other things.
And Kambwili says President Edgar Lungu only qualifies to contest the 2021 elections in Jupiter.
Hichilema, who visited Kambwili at his Kabulonga house with his vice Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba and Sylvia Masebo, said it was time for the opposition to unite, for the sake of the people.
“We have agreed that this illegal increment for the ministers, we will not leave it lying. We will take it forward, together with other aspects that have been left unattended for too long. Amongst these, is the issue where post 2016 dissolution of Parliament, some individuals continued serving in Cabinet and earned salaries and allowances and all other costs illegally. We took the matter to court as UPND, LAZ then joined us and we won the matter on behalf of the people of Zambia. To date, the PF has abused the judicial system and this is the third time they are going to the Constitutional Court over the same matter. The ConCourt must examine themselves, are they serving the people? Or they are not? So we are saying we, who believe are genuine opposition, and agree that we must work together, that we are each others’ keeper, we will start on these two matters. Our joint teams will notify the police that we want to express our freedom of expression by having a peaceful demonstration,” Hichilema said.
“We will do that jointly on behalf of the people of Zambia and I believe police will respond positively. That money should be available for medicines in hospitals. Not a minister who is already well paid, not money to travel luxuriously, that money is needed for people in school. How brutal can a regime be to spend US$68 million on a gulf stream jet? What’s going on? That money, in our basic calculations can educated 38,000 students from year one to year four in a college or university but this jet will be benefiting mainly one person. I think citizens must begin to say ‘we cannot live like this’. We will reach out to other opposition political parties, in the next few days, we will mobilise our colleagues and we will be ready to demonstrate peacefully because the constitution provides for that. Otherwise, going forward, we need to continue working together.”
Hichilema encouraged Kambwili to continue being strong in the face of police brutality.
“Thank you my brother for being strong, it’s good to know that you have not been broken and please continue being strong. On the issue of unity, the people of Zambia must understand that we have always succeeded when we have worked together. This is another time that we need to work together. Absolutely necessary that all well meaning Zambians work together and not say ‘this is honourable Kambwili’s matter, I am not affected’, no. What happens to CK, what happens to someone else today, it is a matter of time, it will happen to you, so we must be each others’ keeper. And we must not buy this story that the north cannot work with the south, that’s so untrue. That the east cannot work with the south, that’s so untrue. We, north, east, west, south have always worked together,” said Hichilema.
And Kambwili said it was evil for ministers to grant themselves 100 per cent increments when civil servants were poorly paid.
“One of the issues that we have discussed is the issue of the K32,000 that the ministers have given themselves, way above the nine per cent that was given to all civil servants. You remember that a month or two ago, there was an uproar on government and the President increasing their salaries. They increased by nine per cent which was given to all civil servants, but again, they have given themselves another K32,000 plus another K9,000 in allowances for domestic servants, electricity and all that. So in total, they have added to their salaries K41,000 and I want to make this very clear that this K41,000 they have given themselves is outside the Presidential and Parliamentary Emoluments Act because this act, once they increase the salaries, they have to come to Parliament for approval and they have to be budgeted for. But this money they have given themselves is outside the budget, outside the law, it is illegal and they must pay back,” Kambwili said.
Meanwhile, Kambwili said as far as the opposition was concerned, President Lungu does not qualify to contest the 2021 elections.
“We have had opinions from lawyers who matter in this country and you know that judges are appointed from among the lawyers. They have said he is not illegible, so how is he going to be eligible? Unless it is out of this world, unless it is on Jupiter or Mars. But if it is in Zambia, the truth of the matter is that the man does not qualify. And I was just surprised, you know I am becoming suspicious [because] yesterday Amos had a change of heart that ‘the President is ready, whatever outcome’, we are not ready ourselves. Us we are only ready for the fact that the man does not qualify, that’s our position,” said Kambwili.