Citizens, go for the cat that catches the mice – HH

Lungu HH

Citizens, go for the cat that catches the mice – HH

By Margaret Malenga

IT is not a black cat that you want in a house if you have mice, you want a cat that catches the mice, says President Hakainde Hichilema.

“Whether it is black or it’s white or yellow, whether it is orange, that’s the cat you want,” he says stressing that “the cat that was there couldn’t catch the mice. It was green.”

Addressing a press conference at State House on Thursday, President Hichilema said he was working hard to achieve debt restructuring. He noted that it “is a difficult thing”, but that his government was equal to the task.

“That’s not rhetoric. NAPSA [partial withdraw] is not rhetoric. Social Cash Transfer is not rhetoric. The maize price increase is not rhetoric, and I have explained the effect we want. Today I decided to run through specifics so that I could pre-empty the question of rhetoric because I knew it was coming. My sixth sense told me it was coming, so I said let me address it before it comes,” he said.

President Hichilema disagreed with sentiment that “nothing is going on in the country” and that the country is worse than before the 2021 elections.

He said that the chart, which was presented at the conference on economic trajectory portrays otherwise arguing that “numbers don’t lie”.

“That GDP growth you are seeing I think 4.8 from minus 2.8, 2020 went down to -2.8 maybe that is where the rhetoric was. See where the growth was in 2011, check where the growth was in 2011, 2010. It is above six per cent. Then the rhetoric comes and the people writing rhetoric are the ones who took the economy down. They are the ones!” he said.

President Hichilema said if what was being done is rhetoric, the curve would have not gone up.

“Within one year eight months in office, it is actually dramatic,” he boasted. “If you look at where we found the economy, what we have done in one year eight months, is dramatic. But I am the first one to say we can do more and we should do more.”

President Hichilema said he was simply trying to reconstruct the economy together with the new dawn government and the people of Zambia.

“Sometimes colleagues and citizens, we must be fair to each other. We may not like some people, like myself, I am aware I am the most … individual in this country. I was called a monster – that when I come ‘nkashitishe icalo. Mwimu votela, eka shitisha icalo uyu Kainde uyu’. And I used to say ‘where will I sale your country and my country?’ I haven’t sold the country. What I am trying to do together with my team, we the new dawn together with yourselves, is to work together to reconstruct the economy. It’s here. It’s not speculations, it’s here! There is no rhetoric there,” he said.

President Hichilema said getting the IMF programme is not rhetoric, but that it comes from hard work, “ingenious work and deliberate work”.

“Getting the IMF programme, IMF to support us in our request as a member, IMF is our institution. The colleagues that were there by 2019 they realised they were losing things. They were doing wrong things. They went to IMF two, three times. IMF said ‘no, you have no capacity to manage a programme’. We come six months down the road, we met all the benchmarks. That’s not rhetoric! It doesn’t come from rhetoric,” he said.

He said there was tantameni (lining up for handouts) during the PF government.

He said the tantameni money destroyed the economy and that it was money given to contractors who never delivered.

“They never delivered the roads. And that’s why we cancelled the Lusaka-Ndola road, because it was going to lead into a further dip in the economy as the FTJ University contract did. As the many road contractors did. This is the restructuring I was talking about. Please fellow citizens, go for the cat that catches the mice. That’s what you need. You may not like its colour, but that’s what you need. Pragmatism means just that and nothing else,” said President Hichilema.

“Today I did it deliberately so there is no confusion in analysing what this press conference is all about and we will give you handouts, they are here. You analyse yourselves, go to your experts and consult, even the opposition. We have laid it bare. Consult the opposition and ask them how much investment did they raise in 10 years? If they raised investments enough in 10 years plus the money they borrowed, the balance sheet would have been showing assets. Assets you see it in a GDP growth. But now look, there is nothing there. It was consumption throughout. It doesn’t matter whether one is your relative, your cousin, your nephew, they have damaged the economy. That’s why our GDP dropped from [US $] 28 billion to 20, 19 billion.”


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