THE high levels of poverty and under-development in Zambia are a result of poor leadership the country has had in the last 50 years of independence, says National Restoration Party president Elias Chipimo Junior
And FDD leader Edith Nawakwi has attributed high levels of unemployment, poverty and lack of respect to the rule of law and bad governance to lack of a people-driven constitution.
Featuring on the Muvi Television and Hot FM organised presidential debate dubbed “Zambia Decide” at Mulungushi International Conference Centre on Thursday evening, Mr. Chipimo said Zambia needed a focused leader whose preoccupation would be to address the high levels of poverty which has been a critical challenge for the past 50 years.
Mr. Chipimo said his party had put in place a plan on how to tackle poverty, underdevelopment and other serious problems the nation was facing.
“That is why we have come out in the open to the people of Zambia to make ourselves available in addressing these problems of poverty. I have to state that it is poor leadership which has caused all these problems the country is facing,” said Mr. Chipimo.
He said if elected into government next week his government’s main task would be addressing the inequalities between the rich and the poor by ensuring that decent jobs were created and open more opportunities for new investments.
Mr. Chipimo said he would put the available abundant natural resources to good use by ensuring that that there was a boost in sectors such as agriculture through the promotion of diversification.
Mr. Chipimo also said he would reduce his cabinet from the current 21 ministers to 12.
In the same debate Ms Nawakwi said Zambia did not need a good president but a people-driven Constitution which would reduce the powers of the president..
Ms. Nawakwi said there was no way any government could fight poverty, corruption and unemployment if the Constitution did not support such action.
She said if elected president next week she would review the school curricular and incorporate technical skills in order to solve the problem of unemployment.
Ms. Nawakwi pledged to promote a system where farmers would have total control over their farm produce and be able to maximize profits accordingly in order to boost the agriculture sector.
MMD president Dr. Nevers Mumba said for a country to be governed in a befitting manner God should be put first, adding that he would bring morality to the governance of the nation.
Dr Mumba said that high levels of poverty, underdevelopment and corruption could only be dealt with if there was morality among its leaders.
He also said the people of Zambia did not need a good Constitution but good leaders, a statement which was challenged by Ms. Nawakwi who said a good Constitution was the key to stop leaders from abusing power.
UPND president Hakainde Hichilema blamed the PF for failing to make life meaningful in the last three years it has been in Government.
Mr. Hichilema said the people of Zambia have seen misery, experienced difficulties under the PF because its leadership had no agenda for national development.
Green Party president Peter Sinkamba said his focus in the reduction of poverty would be by promoting the harvesting of marijuana whose proceeds would be used to finance other economic activities.
Mr. Sinkamba said Zambia was today faced with difficulties because its leaders were not ready to change ways of thinking and doing things.