President Hichilema’s End-Of-Year Press Conference Was a Missed Opportunity for Leadership
By Daimone Siulapwa
In his end of year press conference, President Hakainde Hichilema demonstrated a lack of insight into the pressing issues the people of Zambia are facing on a daily basis.
The address, which should have been a platform for addressing critical concerns affecting citizens, turned into a self-indulgent lecture that did little to inspire confidence in his leadership.
President Hichilema’s propensity for verbosity was evident throughout the press conference, reflecting a leadership style that borders on the arrogance, president HH indeed loves to talk too much.
His inclination to portray himself as the omniscient leader, unwilling to listen or adapt, is a weakness that disconnects him from the realities on the ground.
This rigidity impedes effective governance and perpetuates the cycle of unfulfilled promises and unaddressed challenges.
The president’s preoccupation with the 2026 elections, as evident in his remarks, raises concerns about his priorities.
While acknowledging the political landscape is vital, the pressing issues affecting Zambians should be at the forefront.
The high cost of living, challenges with the new loan facility for farmers, and the plight of those excluded from the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) demand immediate attention.
President Hichilema’s focus on political rivals rather than the citizens facing these hardships reflects a misplaced sense of urgency.
The tense atmosphere during the press briefing, with even his own supporters appearing uneasy, suggests a lack of confidence in the administration’s ability to address the country’s challenges.
The president’s fixation on perceived detractors and past government failures instead of presenting concrete solutions only adds to the growing disillusionment among the populace.
A glaring omission from the president’s address was the failure to address Key issues affecting citizens in the past six months.
The skyrocketing cost of living, the Kwacha’s poor performance, and the plight of street vendors were ignored, leaving citizens without reassurance or tangible solutions.
Furthermore, the president missed an opportunity to update the nation on critical matters such as the cholera outbreak, the Seseli mine tragedy, and the recovery of bodies trapped in the mine.
Unity and reconciliation were also neglected, with the president failing to address the ethnic divisions threatening national unity.
A leader should not only identify problems but also propose solutions.
President Hichilema missed a chance to reassure the nation and provide a roadmap for addressing these divisions.
A notable absence in the president’s statement was a clear short and medium-term plan. Focusing solely on long-term goals is insufficient, as observed by experts like Trevor Simumba.
The president’s reliance on long-term promises without immediate relief measures exacerbates the economic challenges faced by ordinary Zambians.
As Keynes put it “we are all dead in the long run”. ‘The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again.’
Furthermore, the president did not also inspire citizens to create and enjoy their hard earned wealth with his demeaning reference on why “a normal person should drive a Rolls-Royce car?” Does the present expect all Zambian not to eat pork because he is SDA and does not eat pork? His remark reveal a concerning mindset for a president.
Such statements contribute to the ACC’s controversial targeting of citizens for constructing a simple three bedroomed house or for eating three meals a day; highlighting a potential endorsement of intrusive measures by the president.
The attempt by the president during his press conference to stifle journalists by dictating the questions they should ask undermines the principles of democracy and freedom of the press.
*Journalists have a duty to ask any questions related to the governance of the country, as enshrined in the constitution and the media bill signed into law by the president himself today.
All in all, President Hichilema’s end-of-year press statement fell short of expectations, emphasizing his detachment from the immediate concerns of the people.
A leader’s role is not merely to lecture but to inspire confidence through decisive action and effective communication.
The president must redirect his focus toward addressing pressing issues, fostering unity, and providing tangible solutions for the well-being of Zambian citizens.
22/12/23 – 15hrs.
Daimone Siulapwa is a political analyst, an advocate for tribal unity and Citizen Economic Empowerment. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org