Chishimba Kambwili, a former cabinet minister in the PF government and once upon a time opposition ally of the UPND has asked Zambians to ignore politicians who are equating the economy to ´magic.´
The vociferous politician with a wide following among the grass roots said politics and economic governance are about tenacity and prudent planning and not bluster.
Mr Kambwili was speaking on the PF live interactive programme that aired for the first time on the state broadcaster ZNBC on Wednesday in an apparent reference to Hakainde Hichilema, the leader of UPND.
In a recent political advert, Mr Hichilema promised Zambians that he would “fix” the rate of the kwacha to the US dollar within hours if elected President on 12th August, a promise Mr Kambwili said was not only impossible to keep but was laughable.
“Once sworn in at 10 hours, I will improve the kwacha by 14hrs,” Hichilema confidently said in ana advert circulated online and on TV stations.
But Kambwili said Hichilema was merely being rhetorical and playing to the gallery because economic management is not “magic where you simply say adacadabra adacadabra and something happens.”
Kambwili also said while it is sad the prices of essential commodities have risen in Zambia; the situation was worse in other countries on the continent.
He gave comparison figures of commodity prices in Africa´s second largest economy South Africa which appears to be fairing quite badly too during the widely followed programme.
Mr Kambwili said, “the United Nations has declared that food world over, isonde lyonse, nafinina (the world over prices have gone up) by two or three times more because of draught, and the pandemic…Global food has extended to the highest in almost in a decade, this is not me, not Lungu but the UN who is stating.”
He added that, “Mealie Meal today in South Africa is at R230 – K380 for 25kg bag of mealie meal and in this country [Zambia] a 25kg is costing at K140, a kg of meat is R73- K120 in South Africa… and in Zambia meat is ranging between K70 to K90 kg, lets come to cooking oil 2.5ltrs in South Africa is costing R79 – K130.”
He noted that even the pump prices in South Africa are much higher as compared to Zambia.
“When we come to petrol I have heard people hallucinate that petrol is expensive in Zambia and cheaper in South Africa, where are you getting the statistics from? Petrol in South Africa is R16.91 per litre which translates to K28 per litre, how much are we paying in Zambia, K17,” he queried.
“Ba puti, ba mundye mundye mwe bena Zambia, bela mi bepa.”
Dr Kambwili observed that it was a pure fallacy and selfish act to state that the Patriotic Front Government had failed.
“You go to the poor people in the compound and you want to mislead them to remove a legitimately elected government, a government that has done so much in ten years, a government that has brought dignity in terms of roads, hospitals, and schools and saying they are a failed government because of the price of commodities. And prices are better in other countries,” he said.
Until recently, Mr Kambwili was a harsh critic of the PF and President Lungu but he has made amends and returned to the party he helped found under the late Michael Sata.
Mr Kambwili said Hichilema whom he recently worked with had no chance of winning the 12th of August poll after losing five times in the past.
“HH in Kalusa…taka imwene again,“ said Kambwili.