THE suffering of the people of the Copperbelt over the past three years under the Patriotic Front (PF) should be the reason for rejecting the ruling party from continuing to preside over the governance of the country, UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has said.
In his message thanking the people of Kitwe, Ndola, Chililabombwe and other parts of the Copperbelt for turning out in large numbers for his campaigns, Mr Hichilema said Zambia needed competent economic managers to reverse the negative economic trends the country was experiencing under the PF.
Mr Hichilema, who addressed mass rallies in a number of Copperbelt towns, said each time he visited Zambia’s mining region, he was saddened and struck by the fact that despite the region being wealthy, many people were struggling to survive because of the economic hardships they were subjected to by the PF Government.
He said it was excruciating that many youths on the Copperbelt who were promised more jobs and more money in their pockets could not have access to training and employment opportunities.
He said many former miners were living under abhorrent conditions because they did not have sufficient means to support themselves and their families in their old age.
Mr Hichilema said sanitation and safe drinking water had remained a vexing challenge in many Copperbelt towns such as Wusakile and Mindolo and pledged that his government would seriously pursue initiatives meant at addressing such challenges.
“We need to get serious about the economy if we want to have money to improve sanitation, build more roads and invest in health care and education at the same time. We need a government that understands how to manage the lives of the people. It does not make sense that there is so much Government waste yet millions of Zambians lack basic services such as sanitation and safe and clean drinking water,” Mr Hichilema said.
He said the best way to stop the waste and extravagance of the PF was to find an alternative government in the UPND and pledged that he was going to cut the bloated Cabinet.
Mr Hichilema said his Cabinet would be lean but inclusive as it would be represented in all the 10 provinces, adding that appointments in his government would be purely on merit and not based on relationship or tribe.
He said the UPND in government would make sure that Zambians received enough in return for the minerals that were being extracted by ensuring that quality jobs were created on the Copperbelt. Mr Hichilema said the UPND in Government would use the revenues collected from the mines to invest in areas that would improve the general living standards of the people in the region.
Mr Hichilema wondered why the PF Government was making the same promises it had broken in the last three years, adding that current leadership had shown no commitment in delivering on any of the pledges it had made.
“The PF is in Government and they are making the same promises they have failed to honour. They had three years to create jobs and put more money in the people’s pockets. They had three years to enact a people-driven Constitution but failed. They verbally abused the fired nurses and they are reinstating them because they want votes from them. How can such a Government be allowed to continue? Their time is up and Zambians much show them the door,’’ Mr Hichilema said.