UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma has appealed to the PF government to listen to voices of reason.
In a statement yesterday, Kakoma stated that his party noted with concern, over time, the Patriotic Front government’s tendency of disregarding sound advice on national matters when it comes from the opposition, especially UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
He further noted the PF views whatever Hichilema says through political lenses.
Kakoma recalled that before the coronavirus hit Zambia, the UPND leader advised the government to impose restrictions on people coming from coronavirus affected countries like China but they did not listen.
He stated that Hichilema further advised the government to go for a lockdown of the country to stop the spread of the virus but they ignored him.
“The nation will remember that Mr Hichilema some time last year asked government to declare hunger a national disaster to elicit international help but the PF refused saying there was no hunger in the country. This was despite that some people had resorted to eating roots to survive in some parts of the country. It is sad that Edgar Lungu was forced to fly to Northern Province to view the extent of the damage by floods in Chilubi but left without solving the problem,” Kakoma said.
He lamented that while other governments in the region were working with the opposition and listening to their advice, the PF government has refused to listen even in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis that needs concerted effort from all stakeholders, including the opposition.
He stated that it is not too late for President Lungu’s government to heed advice and declare hunger a disaster so that affected citizens could get the much needed help.
“It is not a secret that this government is broke and does not have money to feed the hungry, clothe and shelter those displaced by floods. Declaring the floods and hunger disasters may be the only way to ensure those affected get relief,” Kakoma stated.
He added that President Lungu should not pretend to be working by flying to Northern Province and addressing the locals for two minutes.
He further appealed to President Lungu and the PF to stop using disasters to gain political mileage and for once to sit down and dialogue with the opposition on the best way forward.
“We urge Mr Lungu and the PF, for once, to stop thinking about Bill 10 and spending too much energy and money on it. Bill 10 or no Bill 10, the country’s most pressing problems need to be addressed. We urge the PF to channel the energy they are spending on Bill 10 to improve the lives of the people. Mr Lungu and his cohorts need to focus on issues that will help the nation,” Kakoma stated.
He stated that as a leader, it was President Lungu’s duty to gather ideas from all corners of the country.
“We also urge Mr Lungu to be his own man and not depend too much on his handlers as some of them may not mean well for him. We also urge him to engage the UPND as Mr Hichilema has indicated that the party is ready to work with the government to address the country’s problems including how to deal with the country’s health crisis and mounting debt,” he stated.
Kakoma insisted that there was no need for government to look for foreign advisors on debt restructuring when the UPND had expertise to do so and was willing to do it at no cost.