Acting President Edgar Lungu has revoked the ban on Maize exports Agriculture and Livestock Minister Bob Sichinga announced last week.
Mr. Lungu said that he had decided to revoke the ban in order to allow government to work out modalities to facilitate the orderly and regulated exports of Maize and maize products.
But UPND vice president Richard Kapita said that the Patriotic Front (PF) leadership must stop playing politics on the current maize crisis the country was experiencing.
Mr. Lungu said that suspending exports would be a recipe for disaster as countries like Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zimbabwe were looking to Zambia for maize.
He said that it was only prudent for the Ministry responsible to consult stakeholders in order to address the current problems.
But in an interview Mr. Kapita said that the PF party must grow up and realize that they were in government to provide quality leadership and not to behave like an opposition political party.
He said that the inconsistencies by the PF Cabinet on the many issues of national interest were worrying and a source of concern to many Zambians as PF has proved to be a failed government in the last 1 year 6 months it has been in power.
“It is my appeal to the PF leadership to tell the nation the actual maize situation in the country rather than continuing to feed the people of Zambia with bungled positions. They keep on contradicting themselves. It is shameful that leaders in the PF who seem to be wise have proved irrelevant to the governance of the country,” he said.
Mr. Kapita said that the recent announcement by the PF government to suspend the maize exports was done without consultation and shows lack of seriousness on the part of the PF government.
He said that it was shameful that ministers in the PF administration had exhibited high levels of unpreparedness in the manner they were handling issues of maize marketing .
“I am now told that Edgar Lungu who is acting president has reversed the decision by Mr. Bob Sichinga to suspend exports of maize and maize products. Just yesterday the Millers Association of Zambia indicated that the country has enough maize grain. The Grain Association of Zambia has also indicated that the nation has enough stocks. This government must tell the nation what is happening with respect to the maize situation in the country?” he said.
Mr. Kapita said that putting sanctions on traders smuggling the commodity into the neighboring countries would not help the PF government to resolve the current maize and mealie meal shortages the country was facing.
He reminded the PF leadership that African governments lost favour of its people because of allowing an environment that forced staple food and essential commodities increase in prices.
“I am sure that President Sata and other leaders in the PF still remember that Dr. Kaunda became unpopular with the people because he became careless on issues of food. And that is exactly what this government is doing. It is where this government is going. It is the route it has taken. Firstly they have started price controls which were one of the UNIP and Kaunda characteristics,” he warned.
Mr. Kapita has since appealed to the PF government to come up with a plan on how to run the affairs of the nation in a more proactive way rather than driving the country to its economic demise.
He said that lack of food security in the nation would cause problems, adding that the sporadic fights over mealie meal would spread to the level where the PF government would fail to contain it if they don’t address the matter now.
“We have heard people fighting in Kalulushi, Lusaka, Solwezi and Kitwe over mealie meal shortages. It is not our wish that the situation should degenerate to those standards. Let the PF plan how to handle the mealie meal situation and the maize crisis. Let them not cheat the people of Zambia that we have enough maize, the PF government sold everything they found which the MMD harvested.” He said