MMD gives PF zero marks on its one year in office
Members of the Press
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Distinguished Invited Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
I wish first of all to thank God for the peace, stability and unity that he has bestowed on our beloved country over the past 47 years since independence. We also thank God for the peace that prevailed during the presidential and general elections held a year ago. May the Lord continue to cause his face to shine upon our great nation.
Distinguished Invited Guests
A man is judged by his character. The Bible simply puts it this way, “You shall know them by their fruit.” In the same vein, we judge the character and the effectiveness of a political party on the basis of their past behaviour, on their manifesto, their promises and on the expectations they have created in the minds of the electorate. Has this party or that party kept their promises? On this basis, we can then assess whether a party has failed or succeeded. We can subsequently determine whether they are likely to succeed or fail in the future.
The 20th of September 2012, a little more than two weeks ago today, marked exactly one year since the people of Zambia made an important decision on who was to lead them for the next five years. They made this decision primarily on the basis of expectations and undertakings made to them by the various political parties. The people of Zambia made their choice to elect the Patriotic Front and Mr Michael Sata as their government; a decision we accepted then and a choice we still respect today. But the people of Zambia did not only leave it there, they also made a clear choice that they did not want their government to be supreme, towering and overbearing in the exercise of executive power. They gave Mr Sata and the PF a limited mandate and gave us the MMD, the UPND, ADD and others the mandate and capacity to provide the necessary checks and balances; in order to restrain them from abusing their authority if it is not being used in the best interest of the majority of Zambians. Let me just emphasise this point by giving some statistics.
Twelve (12) months ago, Mr Michael Sata became President of our republic by obtaining 1,171,000 votes, overcoming President Rupiah Banda’s 988,000; a difference of 183,000 votes. This is equivalent to the registered voters in only two constituencies of the 150 country wide -For example Munali and Mandevu have a combined total of 200,000 registered voters- If you combine President Rupiah Banda’s votes to that of Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s, their score card is 1,500,000 votes. Clearly, Mr Sata did not become President with a Land Slide Victory. If you tabulate the total score of provinces won by the Patriotic Front, out of the nine provinces on the 2011 electoral register, Mr Sata and the PF only succeeded winning in 4. Therefore, the assertion of a Land slide victory, as being promoted by the PF and certain well known sections of the media, is not only wishful thinking but a fallacy intended to deceive. It is very important for both President Sata and all of us to note and understand the possible implication of these results.
Secondly, In the Parliamentary elections, the PF won 60 seats, only 5 more than MMD’s 55 seats. The UPND obtained 28 seats while the remaining 7 seats went to ADD, FDD and to some independents. Since this too cannot be regarded as a Land slide Victory, It should be very clear that the people of Zambia expected this parliament to operate in an atmosphere of give and take, in which checks and balances are the order of the day.
The message from the electorate could not have been any clearer to both us in the MMD, who they asked to temporarily step aside from executive office and to the PF, who they gave a conditional opportunity to govern. We thank the Zambian people for their collective wisdom.
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is with deep regret, however, that we observe that our colleagues in the PF do not seem to understand the decision our people made in September last year. Since they were given the conditional opportunity to govern, they have moved swiftly to destroy the opposition by attempting to reduce our numbers in parliament, creating an atmosphere of fear and instability in the judiciary and gagging opposing voices by denying them the much promised free access to the public media. All this, in an attempt to create an imbalance between the three arms of government, so that the executive can reign supreme over the legislature and Judiciary. This is tantamount to a virtual declaration by the executive of itself, as an imperial state governed by an emperor.
We have witnessed the attempt to deregister the main opposition party, denial of public assembly, an instigated refusal by the police to obey a court order, and the deportation of a Catholic priest simply for giving a critical sermon during Sunday Service. These violations of the constitution and the attempt to assault democracy are too numerous for us to exhaust here today. Suffice to point out, that we are living at a time when we are witnesses to the highest number of executive decisions being challenged in the courts of law. This is unacceptable and because we love our country and its democratic system, we will not allow it to happen.
We as the MMD love our country and respect the choice our people made on the 20th of September 2011. Our democracy means that you can be asked by the people to serve them either in Government or by providing the necessary oversight as an opposition. Both these roles are important and the governing party must accept that the role of the opposition in carrying out their responsibility is as equally important as their responsibility to govern. The frequent accusations of bitterness, Jealousy and sabotage in the course of doing our duties are not only unnecessary but distasteful in a democratic system. We do not need a permit from the PF to discharge our mandate; that permit was already given to us by the people.
Ladies and Gentlemen
On our part, we make a commitment to honour the atmosphere of give and take that the people wanted to create. In this regard, and even though Mr Sata did not want us to succeed when we were in government, it is our desire that the PF should succeed in honouring the many promises that they made to the people of Zambia. Success by them and any other party is good for our country and means a better life for us all. A disastrous failure by the PF government will mean a disaster for our country and for us all. We, therefore, all have a stake in ensuring that this disastrous failure does not occur.
This is the reason we have come here today, in order to fulfil our mandate to assist them govern, hold them accountable and ensure that they make an honest attempt at fulfilling the promises they made to the people of Zambia. This is our responsibility and this is an opportunity for them. This past month, not only represents one year since the PF and President Michael Sata were elected, but it also represents one year since we, the MMD left office. So before we make an assessment of their 365 days in office, let me briefly remind you what we as MMD were able to achieve and what we left behind.
The Legacy of the MMD Government
Ladies and Gentlemen
For 12 years in a row and back to back, three successive MMD governments were able to deepen and expand the size of our economy significantly. We put in place consistent, predictable and clear foreign investment policies which led to large inflows of foreign investment into our country and B+ credit ratings from three different world renowned rating agencies. Our vision, effective strategic planning and a clear policy direction was able to facilitate for the expansion and transformation of the middle class as it exists today. We were able to move this country from a sluggish low income country into a vibrant middle income nation.
From the perspective of social service delivery, and particularly in the last five years of our governance, we had embarked and succeeded in building hundreds of new class room blocks and new schools, hundreds of health centres, clinics and dozens of new hospitals and a decent number of new houses for both the police service and the military. Our success in improving the quality of the road sector, the rehabilitation and construction of new roads and bridges is visible by all who wish to be honest about our effort.
We were responsible for ending the humiliating queues we found for essential commodities such as Mealie Meal, Sugar, Bread, and even basic things such as bath soap and cooking oil. As I indicted in my inauguration speech, we are proud to point out that the availability of these commodities and many other positive developments brought about by our visionary leadership, can now lead Zambians to take them for granted.
Let no one continue to fall victim to the axiom of Hitler’s Propaganda Chief, Joseph Gobbles who proudly proclaimed, “That a Lie repeated often enough sooner or later is believed to be true and becomes a fact.” The lie that MMD achieved nothing in its twenty years of Governance is just nothing but a lie, repeated over and over again, by a propaganda machine with the sole aim of deceiving people that it is in fact true when not.
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am not going to sit here and claim, or lie or even pretend that the MMD had solved all the people’s problems, that social service delivery was satisfactorily achieved and that our economy had become an industrialized one. It is true and undeniable that by the time we left office, we had not created enough Jobs, we had not provided adequate social services, poverty was still prevalent in our nation and certain undesirable governance behaviour had emerged. We have taken full responsibility of these short comings.
Patriotic Front promises vs. the People’s expectations
In contrast to what we had realistically achieved over a long period of time, the PF embarked on a journey of definitive promises and undertook to convince the people of Zambia that they had quick fix solutions to all their problems. Numerous assurances of specific promises were communicated to the electorate and a time frame of delivery was given by the so called ‘Man of Action’. “More Money in your pockets and Jobs for all in 90 days.” And it was repeated, over and over and over again. Subsequently, a dishonest slogan was even coined; hence the famous Don chi Kubeba was born. Country men and women, at this point, I want you to momentarily reflect on my earlier words regarding Joseph Gobbles and his propaganda saying.
The PF were elected on the basis of what was contained in their manifesto but more so, primarily so, on the basis of the unbreakable chain of promises that they made. This past month marked one year since they were given that Mandate and all of us are interested in understanding as to whether they have fulfilled these promises. How have they performed? Have they lived up to the hype and the talk?
PF Undertakings and Promises.
Ladies and Gentlemen
For the avoidance of doubt, let me now remind you and them and the people of Zambia of some of the pertinent promises made by this new government. In total, we have counted more than 25 specific promises that were made by the PF. Here, and due to time, I have highlighted only 10 and I will analyse eight (8) of them. These are as follows;
1. Millions of JOBS will be created.
2. More Money in your Pockets in 90 days
3. A finalized Constitution in 90 day
4. The restoration of the Barotseland agreement, within 90 days
5. Chase the Chinese Investors, who were referred to as ‘Infesters’
6. Reduce the Size of Government in order to reduce cost
7. Enact the Freedom of information Bill in 90 days
8. Ensure fair coverage of all opposing views in the public owned media
9. Fight Corruption by Re-enactment of the Abuse of Office clause in 90 days
10. No appointment of cadres within the civil service and no appointments based on tribe or nepotism
Please take note that we are not the ones who forced them to make these promises nor did any of us ask them to give us a 90 day time frame. They made these undertakings in order to give the impression to the Zambian people that the problems of the country were actually very simple and easy to fix. We will nevertheless hold them accountable for these promises made. Let us now analyse their performance.
Depending on whom you believe to be more credible, the Honourable Minister of Commerce Trade and Industry, indicted that the PF plan was to create five (5) million Jobs in five years, while his counterpart and senior at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning reduced this figure to one (1) million, in five years. The president emphasised in various speeches that these were formal sector jobs and not causal or part time employment. In his last address to parliament, more than a week ago, the president reiterated the one million figure as their target. If we take this ‘conservative’ figure of one million, it would translate into a minimum of 200,000 formal sector jobs to be created each year. The current total formal sector employment figure stands at an estimated 740,000 country wide. Therefore, the PF promise is an estimated 27 per cent increment on the current formal sector position in the first 12 months. Their promise not ours.
One year has gone, and clearly there are no 200,000 new formal sector jobs in this economy. What we have been told instead, is that they have on their books 20,000 pledged jobs for 2012. In addition, we have been told that their sole plan towards creating jobs is to reintroduce the compulsory Zambia National Service (ZNS) training program. Since the idea of this programme was introduced, no work plan or budget has been presented to the nation. In the absence of any other plan, we give the PF a lamentable failure towards job creation after 365 days. This is clearly a broken promise.
More Money in your Pockets
The first move to fulfil this promise was to double the exempt threshold for PAYE from 1,000,000 kwacha in 2011 to 2,000,000 Kwacha in 2012. The net gain of this measure was to give an estimated 250,000 Kwacha relief to 80,000 low paid workers. The bulk of these were civil servants and other formal sector employees in construction and the service sector.
This measure, while commendable, became effective in April 2012, six months after their taking office and was subsequently overridden by adjustments to transport and other allowances in both the teaching and health services. The net effect of this, in fact, has been to reduce take home pay and not to increase it. Similar adjustments to take away this gain have been implemented in the core civil service. In addition, the adjustment in the Minimum Wage, particularly as it regards domestic workers, has also taken away this advantage with this group of employees. Furthermore, the price of basic food items such as Bread, Mealie Meal, Cooking oil and Meat products have all gone up; completely wiping out what ever gains that may have been obtained.
Increments in the energy sector through increased charcoal prices and the impending ZESCO tariff adjustment have also worsened the situation. Additionally, upward adjustments in transportation and in house rentals have all more than surpassed the tax exempt threshold as implemented by the PF.
For the majority of the population of thirteen million, and primarily those who subsist on the agriculture sector, more money in the pocket has ended up amounting to no money in your pocket as the marketing season has been carelessly mishandled resulting in the majority of Maize farmers remaining unpaid to date; and on the eve of a new season. This unfortunate development has been acknowledged by the Minister of Agriculture.
Cotton farmers, on the other hand, are having to take a drastic cut on the price of more than 50% on their cotton. It is truly without doubt that one year down the line; Zambians have less money in their pockets. Things have never been so hard, where farmers can even resort to burning the very crop they worked so hard to produce; and the FRA are also burning Maize crop from last year’s harvest which they paid for but did not collect and hence is now rotten. Here lies another disastrously broken Promise.
A finalized Constitution in 90 days
After more than 365 days, we have no constitution in place. In its place, we have but a chaotic and unclear process with no legal framework and one which has been forced on the Zambian people. Members of the technical committee were personally hand-picked by the president and an estimated 50 billion Kwacha has already been spent on a process which was supposed to have taken ninety days. Senior Ministers and party officials have publically taken positions contrary to the people’s wishes on key items such as 50%+ 1, and the running mate clause. Surprisingly, the position now expressed by both the Secretary General, who is also Minister of Justice, and the Vice President on these critical items is a clear reversal to their positions prior to the elections of 2011.
This is a betrayal of the submissions made by the majority of Zambians who strongly demanded for a 50%+1 and a running mate position. Even though, we have decided to make submissions to the Technical Committee, we have very little hope that the promised constitution will be delivered to the people as was undertaken. We do not believe that the President and the PF are genuinely serious about delivering a good constitution that will stand the test of time. This is another betrayal and the third broken promise. In Biblical terms, at this point we would all hear the Cock crow.
The restoration of the Barotseland agreement, within 90 days
One of the most serious betrayals of trust and breach of confidence exhibited by this government is in the manner in which a clear and undisputable promise to restore the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 was breached. A promise which played a significant role in the PF winning three seats in Western Province and increasing their presidential tally to the highest level ever in that province. First, expectations were increased by the appointment of a Commission, and then with impunity and with no decorum, a decision was unilaterally made by the President on the day the Commission presented its recommendations. To date, the recommendations of the commission have not been submitted to Cabinet for discussion.
As a result, we have on our hands an undesirable situation where a very worrying impasse has been reached and unwanted discussions of secession are in the air. The behaviour of the Government has been very unbecoming, totally irresponsible and reckless. Yet, another broken Promise.
Fight Corruption by Re-enactment of the Abuse of Office clause in 90 days
We do unreservedly commend the PF for honouring at least this one promise of re-enacting the ‘Abuse of Office’ clause in the Anti-Corruption Act. They promised it and they gave it. However, judging by their cavalier behaviour in the awarding of contracts and the procurement of goods through public tender, one does not get the impression that they fully understand the implications nor respect the clause that they have re-enacted. Breaches in following tender procedures have led to contentions through the courts of law.
In the face of these court disputes, the government has increased the threshold by which controlling officers do not require tender from 500 million to an amazing and unjustifiable 30 billion kwacha. So many serious and worrying questions have been raised towards oil procurement and the supply of fertilizer, the donation of $5million fuel and its transportation to Malawi, awarding of contracts to the Ministry of Defence, and the single sourcing of rehabilitation works at State House. Recently we were told of a certain Minister pushing for a contract towards the supply of poles at ZESCO. The usual vocal champions of the corruption fight, including the President, had remained mute on this matter, until a personalized fight of counter accusations of corruption between two Ministers surfaced.
It would appear that the corruption fight is vigorously pursued only when it suites the objective of obliterating the MMD or other opposing voices. A fight of who is awarded more contracts between serving ministers seem also to help in this regard. Other than this fight for spoils, we have seen no serious attempt at ensuring that the fight against corruption is genuine or intended to reduce the cost of both government and private sector transactions. The recent transfer of the Road Development Agency (RDA) to the President’s office is extremely worrying. We are totally opposed to this move and are in fact shocked that Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) see nothing wrong with it and has given it their seal of approval.
No appointment of cadres within the civil service and no appointment on the basis of tribe or nepotism
The drastic and dramatic reversal in regard to this promise is so theatrical that if it were not a serious matter, it would be laughable. We have Permanent Secretaries who were PF parliamentary candidates both in 2011 and 2006 as well as in the recently held by elections in Livingstone.
Practically all the District Commissioners appointed are known to have been active cadres a year ago. The diplomatic corps is full of uneducated and untrained cadres, many of whom have absolutely no idea of the magnitude of the responsibility that they have been given. The awarding of jobs on the basis of education, merit, and capability has completely been ignored.
To add insult to injury, the primary criterion of selection appears to be based on tribal and family connections. Never, in the 48 year history of our Republic has there been such a display of tribalism and nepotism in the awarding of government Jobs. It is no wonder that accusations of there being a “tribal clique” in control of government are prevalent.
This behaviour is in full breach of our national motto: One Zambia, One Nation; which has unified this country since independence. This behaviour renders our motto meaningless and insults the very principle upon which our republic was founded. If this behaviour does not change, if it remains unchecked by all of us, we are in great danger of becoming many nations in a divided Zambia.
Enact of the Freedom of information Bill in 90 days
In regard to this 90 day promise, the government has been playing a game of hide-and-seek to such as extent that even the launch of the process has been met with postponements, one after another. The Access to Information Bill should have been launched on June 26, 2012, nine months beyond the 90 day promise framework, yet for unknown reasons the delay and silence is too obvious and too loud. We believe that there is no genuine willingness to pass this law,
This behaviour is no longer surprising to us because this government has chosen to gag the public media. Opposition leaders have been blacked out and only are given coverage if it is to cast them in bad light as trouble makers or bitter people with hidden and subversive agendas. Every Zambian should compare this situation to their promise that the Public media, especially ZNBC, would operate professionally and that all political parties and dissenting voices would be given equal chance. Clearly, this is not the case at ZNBC and the two government owned newspapers; they behave exactly as they have always behaved.
The PF had also promised that the Board of public media companies would be autonomous and would be appointed independently. What has happened instead is a direct reversal as government has not only appointed cadres on the boards, but have also gone the extra step of even appointing directors in management positions. Ministers can now hire ‘Directors’ though a press conference. We demand that this situation be corrected.
The Role of the Post News Papers
The situation of access to public media is today far more important than it ever was under the leadership of the MMD because of the peculiar position that the Post News Papers has taken. Zambians have always depended on the valuable role that this most influential private newspaper has played in the last twenty years. The Post has done this by holding the government accountable and providing a platform for the opposition and civil society to express views which would not otherwise be allowed on ZNBC, Times of Zambia and the Daily Mail.
However, for the first time in the history of the Third Republic, the Post News Papers has taken the role of not only promoting the Government of the PF but also primarily defending most of its decisions and style of its government. No administration since 1991 has ever had its first 12 months so well supported by the Post News Papers. Since this is the right of the private media, we have no intention to ask them to change it, and we in fact respect their right to support the PF. However, I believe, I represent the disappointment of many well-meaning Zambians in acknowledging the void and lost opportunity that this decision has created.
Never, has there been such a time as now that a balanced public media is needed to help promote a vibrant debate on important national matters.
Reduce the Size of Government in order to reduce cost
Here in lies another broken promise. The size and cost of running government has in fact dramatically increased over the last 12 months. The number of Ministries and ministers remains roughly the same, with a marginal difference of 2 since the MMD had 23 ministries while the PF have 21. However, the PF have more deputy Ministers than the MMD ever had and I do not ever recall in the history of our country in which one Ministry had three Deputy Ministers.
If you calculate the two upward salary adjustments as contained in the Presidential Emoluments Act, specifically Statutory Instrument No 17 of 2012, you will clearly see that the cost of keeping the President, his Cabinet Ministers and other Constitutional Office holders has more than doubled to what it was under President Banda. “Talk about the ‘Fat Cat’ Syndrome!” Please recall that President Banda was called all sorts of names for considering a 15 per cent upward salary adjustment. Then Lo and Behold, here comes the PF and Bang, 413’707’344 million kwacha in the President’s Pocket, within 90 days.
The cost of government has also dramatically increased due to the unilateral decisions by the President to form new districts at will and without consultations with stakeholders.
New Embassies have also been opened while others are planned to be opened. The bulk of these expenditures are being incurred when they were not contained in the 2012 budget. We therefore eagerly await an assessment of budget performance and the Report of the Auditor General for 2012.
It is the majority view in the country that President Sata has spent the last 12 months in State House Hiring and Firing, creating districts and realigning ministries. The cost to the government is not only in terms of large amounts of money being wasted but even more importantly that this behaviour has led to inconsistencies in government policy and pronouncements. As a result, no clear direction has been set by the President or his Cabinet Ministers.
A Total failure by the PF Government
Ladies and Gentlemen
Please take note that there is no public disagreement that there has been a total failure by the PF on the bulk of the 25 identified promises as alluded to earlier. In analysing the eight (8) out of the Ten (10) promises listed above, it is also quite clear that the PF has lamentably failed on all accounts.
The failure of the PF government lies in its inability to pass the credibility test. Credibility of a government translates into authority to govern. The loss of credibility impairs the moral authority of any government.
Let me repeat, the PF government and Mr Michel Sata came into office on a set of 90 day promises to the Zambia people. Zambians decided to believe these promises made by President Sata and consequently gave the PF and its leader the mandate to govern.
More than 365 days later, the PF has not fulfilled any of the 90 day promises. What is of even greater worry, is that it does not appear that they are anywhere near course towards fulfilling these promises any time soon. All we now hear is their constant plea for them to be given more time. Truly, the Zambia people are disillusioned and almost bitter that their vulnerability was taken advantage of in order for the PF to get into government. The poverty levels, the pain of being cheated continue to haunt most voters in Zambia.
In any society, there are people who don’t care about lies told, deception used by politicians as they describe such treachery as being the nature of politics. The assumption that all politicians are liars and politics is dirty is wholesomely embraced by such believers. Such individuals in our nation see nothing wrong with the deceptive behaviour of the PF and wish to continue with business as usual.
Fortunately for Zambia, which has been declared a Christian nation, it carries a huge movement of a moral majority which believes in dignity, respect for citizens and a belief that their leaders must govern in truth and not by lies. It is this moral majority of Zambians that am appealing here to today. It is this moral majority that understands our crusade for Zambia, that is shall be saved. It is this moral majority, which shall hold politicians to account for the promises they make.
OTHER CURRENT CONCERNS
This brings me to some valid concerns being expressed by the Zambian people arising from the clear failures and wild assertions that have been emanating from a government which seems so overwhelmed to have taken the reins of power.
It is without doubt that the majority of Zambian citizens find the behaviour of our president disturbing. The decorum of the President is unbecoming and puts all of us constantly on the edge in fear of the latest national blunder. A case and point is his recent address to the National Assembly in which it was expected that a serious national agenda would be set by the President for the coming year. This was especially more important given the fact that the President has not addressed a single press conference on the state of the nation since he assumed office last year.
Instead, the president reduced this important occasion, firmly set in tradition, into a laughing matter with unpalatable jokes throughout his two hour address.
Whether it is in regard to diplomatic blunders, of which they are many, or just simple interactions with Zambians in the Diaspora the conduct displayed by the Head of State leaves much to be desired. The nation will also recall the sloganeering that President Sata reduced himself to, on behalf of ZANU-PF, when he attended meetings held in Zimbabwe and Angola. Similar incidents of this conduct were displayed in London and Botswana as he met the Zambian communities there.
The head of state normally interacts with Zambians in the diaspora during meetings held and organized by the Zambian missions abroad as a means of providing a platform for the President to interact with and engage Zambian citizens on issues affecting the nation as well as to dialogue informally. But much to the disappointment of our citizens abroad, these discourses are neither informative nor engaging.
Instead, Zambians and sometimes even the head of mission, find themselves the object of cruel ‘jokes’ aimed at humiliating them and demeaning the simple efforts they make at interacting with leaders from home.
This combative approach used by the head of state alienates and frustrates Zambians living in the diaspora, whose hopes for a constructive encounter with their leader are dashed almost immediately. The meetings become lost opportunities and the verbal attacks mostly disrespectful. These statements and conduct are demeaning to the office of the President.
Direction of Economic Policy
Lastly, allow me to briefly share a most pressing concern. In the last one year we have seen a gravitation towards leftist leaning economic policies. While we do respect their ideological direction, decisions, such as the nationalization of Zamtel and the threat to nationalize ZANACO creates room for grave concern; great concern.
In addition, the Government has now terminated the concession signed with the Railways Systems of Zambia (RCZ) and have submitted for advice to the Attorney General’s Office, a memorandum on how best they can reverse the privation of 66 per cent shares awarded to a Chinese firm in Mulungushi Textiles. While in some cases there may be understandable reasons for some form of review, the manner and economic arguments underpinning this direction are unsound, unsustainable and impractical. We advise for great caution to be exercised in this regard as the decision in this direction possibly will cost the country enormous amounts of money and may unnecessarily have a negative impact on investor confidence.
The PF are currently celebrating and boasting about the successful floating of the Zambian Eurobond; as if they are singularly responsible for its success. Let me remind them and the Zambian people that the idea of the Euro Bond was an MMD idea, and that it has been successfully issued on the basis of the strong economic performance of the Zambian economy and the prudent Macro Economic management of the MMD in the last Twelve (12) years of its governance up to 2011. If fact, all the rating agencies during the famous ‘ROAD SHOW’ undertaken by the PF towards the assessment of the Euro Bond, expressed concern at the policy direction and inconsistencies of the government in the last one year.
The government needs to be reminded that the Bond has been issued on the basis of a market driven economy that will enable a sufficient rate of return or at best a good enough yield in order to pay back the Loan. If the socialist direction of the PF will be entrenched, there is a great danger, that this loan acquisition may end up much like the loans we took in the 1970s and 80’s which later on developed in to a colossal debt of 7billion dollars; chocking our economy to near death. If we do not handle these matters with care we could be heading for bankruptcy much like Greece and end up in the same situation we were in 1991; Shortages and queues as far as the eye can see.
On our part, let me take this opportunity to reaffirm that we be believe that the private sector is the best engine for a thriving and productive economy in the 21st century. Even China is gravitating towards this direction and changing the structure of its economy. We strongly believe in the capacity of a free market economy to deepen and expand wealth as has been the case in the last 12 years of this country. Government should only intervene in instances where the market has failed and in respect to the redistribution of created wealth. We do not subscribe to “interference” by government in the market.
In concluding and given all that has been analysed in the past 45 minutes, no reasonable and genuine person can honestly give a passing grade on the performance of the PF in their one year of governance. They have been a great disappointment and have lamentably failed to leave up to the expectations which they themselves created in the minds of the electorate and the Zambia People in General.
As I walk around and talk to the ordinary person on the streets, it is quite evident that the most disappointed are the youths, who genuinely believed that a Saviour had come and that their lives would be transformed. We all have come to the conclusion that one year later the Patriotic Front is like a ship desperately trying to sail on yesterday’s wind.
In the last 12 months alone, there has been a slow but steady undoing of many of the achievements scored by successive governments since Zambia’s independence. Few, if any, positive strides can be directly attributed to the PF government. Instead of a positively transformed society, the victory by President Michael Sata has ushered in an era of intimidation, harassment, arbitrary dismissals, unilateral decision-making, unprecedented security risks and a negative shift in Zambia’s foreign policy. The Boat has run in to some sharp and stubborn rocks in turbulent waters, not far from where it set sail. What a difference a year can make!
Hope is still alive
Let me now end my address with a message of Hope. Because we believe in God and we live in a democracy, hope is still alive. The people of Zambia have a choice, and their choice is enshrined in the constitution.
The fundamental freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, the right to elect a government of their choice and the right to hold an elected government accountable will be pursued vigorously by all its citizens. We, on our part as the new MMD, fully intend to play our constitutionally given role of providing checks and balances.
We intend to be a listening ear to the cries of the people, and to continue to exercise our democratic rights in order to be a beacon of hope to those who have no hope; To expose the lies that mask evil with Glorious Rhetoric; to give a reasonable and rational voice to the voiceless and to bear witness to the innocent. We will live up to the expectations of millions of Zambian across the length and breadth of our great nation.
A human being lives and survives on hope. Hope for a better day. Hope that although poor today, I will become prosperous tomorrow. Hope in a home or a nation is created by promises made by the father or a political leader.
Hope becomes a reality based on the credibility of the Promisor. As a Christian, I live a life of hope because the Lord Jesus has promised me eternal life and that he will protect me from my enemies and shall supply all my needs. Although not all my needs are met, since I have faith in the promisor, Jesus Christ, I am confident that his promise shall be fulfilled. So, I live in hope based on a promise, given by a credible promisor, in this case the Lord Jesus Christ.
We in the MMD continue to promise you a New Hope and a better future. It is in this light that the new re branded MMD has changed its slogan from “The Hour has come” to “The Hour for New Hope”.
I pray that the Lord God Almighty will give us the strength to withstand oppression in order to fight for the cause and cries of the gallant sons and daughters of Zambia. A people who over the years have fought hard to build a unified nation, who has worked tirelessly to ensure that democracy becomes the centre of the social-economic and political fibre of the nation. Let God arise and his enemies scattered.
I thank you!