SUMMARY OF NEW DAWN’S PERFORMANCE TO DATE
By Sean Tembo – PeP President
1. Agriculture Sector – farming inputs not yet delivered as at 6th November despite heavy rains in progress. FISP beneficiaries reduced from more than 3 million to less than 1 million. More than 60 percent of farmers who sold their crops to Government in the last farming season have still not been paid up to now. Farming inputs under FISP will not be delivered to cooperatives but will instead be dropped at the nearest boma. FISP beneficiaries will then have to arrange their own transport for distances as far as 50 kilometers.
2. Mining Sector – Government still has not made a decision on whether to continue the transaction of buying Mopani from Glencore or not. Similarly, Government has still not made a decision of whether to continue with the liquidation of KCM or not. This indecision is costing productivity and jobs in the mining sector. Additionally, Government has decided to engage an international firm called Rothschild at an estimated cost of more than $50 million to provide it with advice on how to proceed with Mopani. Government has further engaged another international firm called Rand Merchant Bank, at an estimated cost of more than $30 million to provide financial advisory services in the search of an equity partner in KCM. Suffice to mention that these advisory services jobs can easily be done by many Zambian firms, all of which were sidelined in preference for foreign firms. You may wish to remember that the FTJ Government entrusted local Zambians including a then young man called Hakainde Hichilema to assist with the privatisation process. If FTJ had not given Hakainde and opportunity to participate in the nation’s privatisation process, more likely than not, Hakainde would have still been living in Kalingalinga compound today. But you fast-forward to this day, and the empowered Hakainde is now President, but instead of empowering other Zambians the way he himself was empowered by FTJ, he prefers to give simple financial advisory services work to Rothschild and Rand Merchant Bank. Indeed, how selfish and unpatriotic of President Hakainde Hichilema. And yet, the tax holidays to the mines continue.
3. Health Sector – still no medicines or consumables. Since this countries independence in 1964, we have always struggled with our health Sector, especially with regard to having medicines consistently. However, the kind of drug shortages we are witnessing today is unprecedented. Unlike previous drug shortages which have been in selected parts of the country at any given time, the current drug shortages are across the entire country, even in military hospitals. And unlike previous drug shortages where it was only the sophisticated drugs that were not in supply, today’s drug shortages are such that even Panadol is not there. Even gloves and syringes are not there. And the worst part of it all is that there does not appear to be any solution in sight. On 24th March 2022, President Hakainde Hichilema stormed the Ministry of Health to express his disappointment over continued drug shortages, and after a meeting and a photoshoot with Health Minister Silvia Masebo, the President promised the Zambian people that going forward, drug shortages will be a thing of the past. Eight months later, drug shortages are even worse and yet just a few days ago, the President was praising Silvia Masebo as a very hardworking Minister at an event at State House. The question is who is fooling who?
4. Education Sector – more than three months since additional teachers were recruited, more than 50 percent of them have not been paid a single salary, and yet they have been deployed. In the first month the Treasury gave the excuse that these other teachers had not provided accurate bank details. But three months down the line, it appears that the Treasury has run out of excuses. These teachers are afraid to speak out publicly for fear of victimization, so they just die inside. The question which the Zambian people must ask is how many times has President Hakainde Hichilema and his Ministers and Permanent Secretaries missed getting paid their monthly salaries? The answer is none. They always get their salaries and travelling allowances on time. So why should they then punish teachers by not paying them for three months? Isn’t that a standard definition of selfishness?
5. Law and Order – The Zambian people largely voted for Hakainde Hichilema and his UPND because they were fed up with the political violence and and lawlessness that prevailed under the PF regime. However, despite President Hakainde Hichilema’s empty verbal assurances, there is increasing political violence perpetrated by UPND, with no action by Lemmy Kajoba and his officers. While visiting NDC leader; Saboi Imboela at Kabwata Police a few days ago, Mr. Jackson Silavwe a leader of a political party called Golden Party of Zambia (GPZ) was attacked by UPND cadres who had travelled all the way from Monze to come and camp at Kabwata Police Station for the sole purpose of attacking anyone who would come to give solidarity to Ms. Saboi Imboela. A day after this incident, Mr. Lovemore Phiri, a journalist at Passme Radio in Petauke was attacked and assaulted by UPND cadres who stormed the radio station because the journalist was taking phone calls from surrounding farmers who were complaining about lack of delivery of farming inputs. This is unprecedented even during the PF regime. And yet the UPND leader who is also Republican President; Mr. Hakainde Hichilema has not condemned these acts of violence among many. Similarly, the Zambia Police who have now become an extension of the UPND Party, have not made any arrests in these assault cases.
6. Indeed, there is no doubt in my mind that President Hakainde Hichilema is a wanna-be dictator. Whether he succeeds to become a fully fledged tinpot dictator or not will be dependent on the ability of the good citizens of this Republic to stand up to his dictatorial ambitions. And like all wannabe dictators, he only cares about his self interests and does not care about the plight of the wider citizenry. That is why Hakainde does not care about leaving out more than 2 million citizens from FISP, or telling those beneficiaries who are fortunate enough to remain on FISP to go and collect their fertilizer more than 50 kilometers away. It is Hakainde’s selfishness that makes him to give $3.2 billion in tax holidays while borrowing $1.4 billion from the IMF, as well as give multimillion dollar advisory services contracts for Mopani and KCM to Rothschild and Rand Merchant Bank while ignoring capable and competent local advisory firms, when he himself was empowered by FTJ and liberated from Kalingalinga compound by allowing him to participate in the privatisation process. If FTJ had contracted Rothschild and RMB to assist with the privatisation process, Hakainde Hichilema would still have been living in Kalingalinga compound today, probably running a chain chibuku outlets, given his alleged entrepreneurial prowess. But despite being empowered himself, he is averse to empowering others. Indeed country men and women, it is our collective duty as bonafide citizens of this Republic to stand up to this selfish bully that we call our Republican President. If he wins and manages to become a fully fledged dictator, then we are all doomed. If the people win, then democracy, rule of law, selflessness and competence may be restored in the management of national affairs. The choice is ours to make.