UPND CAN LOSE LAMENTABLY…if elections were held today, warns Musenge
By Oliver Chisenga
WHETHER UPND has performed or not, change was desirable as the PF had lost focus on governance, says former Copperbelt minister Mwenya Musenge.
But he warns that due to high unemployment and poverty levels “the truth of the matter, if general elections were held today UPND could lose lamentably”.
Reflecting on the UPND government’s performance since it assumed power almost a year ago, Musenge commended President Hakainde Hichilema for bringing “normality and respect due to all institutions” in the country.
“Within the next few days, the new dawn government led by His Excellency Hakainde Hichilema will be clocking a year on 12th August so what comes to my mind is to reflect on what the UPND as a party in government have achieved,” Musenge said. “First, I would like to congratulate or rather pat the Zambian people for a well-deserved change of government. Whether UPND has performed or not, the change was desirable as the PF had lost its focus on governance. Had we allowed the PF another five years, I don’t know what would have become of this country – a situation where we started seeing self-imposed commanders across the country with no regard for law.”
He recalled that a year ago, law enforcement agencies literally became ineffective owing to PF political cadres’ influence in governance.
“I would like to commend His Excellency for bringing normality and respect due to all institutions in the country. The eradication of party cadre mischievousness needs to be commended wholeheartedly,” he said.
Musenge said trying to compare what late president Michael Sata achieved in his first year in government to what President Hichilema has done so far would “definitely be unfair”.
He noted that Sata had vast experience in governance and had been in government circles since the Kenneth Kaunda era, hence it was “easy” for him to roll out programmes within 90 days, which Zambians appreciated.
Musenge said comparing President Hichilema to Sata was a total mismatch.
He however, said there was need to support the President by giving him time to adapt and appreciate how government runs.
“Personally I feel he has not performed badly as expected of him. The employment of more than 30,000 teachers, 11,000 health workers and soon to be employed 5,000 military personnel is not a mean achievement. As much as we know that these numbers are a drop in an ocean, but at least something has been done,” Musenge said.
He has urged the opposition to support President Hichilema in his quest to correct the “damage” that was inflicted on the country.
“I urge those of us in the opposition that we should support His Excellency the President and UPND as a party in government, advising them constructively in a number of areas where necessary. It should not be the desire of opposition parties to hope or pray for the party in government to fail because when the government fails, it’s not only the ruling party but the entire country that gets affected,” Musenge said. “I wish for once to see political parties getting united to address matters affecting the nation – as a united entity immediately after elections.”
He urged the UPND Alliance government not to bury its head in the sand but show leadership by embracing perceived enemies, demonstrating good governance, and ignoring the persecution it underwent under the PF administration.
He further urged the government to meet people’s expectations.
“I’m aware that Rome was not built in a day and therefore, it will take time to meet people’s expectations. However, the road network in Luapula Province, especially the main road from Mufulira to Chienge and from Chienge to Kaputa, is an urgent matter that needs to be attended to in haste. Those roads are of great importance in terms of human empowerment and prosperity. Luapula and Northern provinces produce a lot of food that goes to waste due to poor road network,” he said.
Musenge also noted that the unemployment levels in the country are unprecedentedly high and had contributed to accelerated poverty levels.
“This is one of the major factors creating the loss of trust in the UPND administration. The truth of the matter, if general elections were held today, UPND could lose lamentably,” said Musenge.