We May Be Expecting Too Much From Lungu

By JOSEPH LUNGU

THE New Dawn government has now been governing the country for two years and ten months.

The Policy Compliance team in the Presidency is today privileged to comment on a number of issues concerning our nation, Zambia.

We have the potential, we have the human capital, we have the natural resources, we have the geographic location, we have the willpower, and we have the moral character to become Africa’s most indispensable nation.

Our nation has all the ingredients for economic triumph.

The New Dawn government, led by President Hakainde Hichilema, has the blueprint for economic success as contained in the United Party for National Development (UPND) manifesto for 2021 to 2026 and the 8th National Development Plan.
Our mid-term review of our performance indicates that we have achieved not less than 80 per cent of the campaign promises.

We strongly believe that at the end of the five-year term, we shall be near 100 per cent.

Unfortunately, we spend most of our time and energies turning politics into a public exhibition of what it means to be petty.

Strongholds of political ideology do not exist.
To the contrary, we have strongholds of cynicism, skepticism and malice.
Our people no longer see the good in their leaders.

Instead of engaging into empty political rhetoric, we should use political thought to advance the economic well-being of our people.

Many of you have said we found the economy in a coma. Others have said the economy was in the scrap yard. You may be right.

This economy was on the precipice of disaster; it was on the brink of total collapse. The economy was an accident waiting to happen. It was not a far-fetched possibility that economic apocalypse was imminent.

These Patriotic Front (PF) kleptomaniacs did not just steal public money; they stole the whole economy. The entire economy was gone, gone to the grave.

We found this economy in the graveyard, dead and buried. Our people know the grave diggers.

We are now working hard to salvage this country from the economic graveyard, to provide public goods and services and to advance our people’s common good.

We have said that our government is one that provides a new dawn, a new course.

This means that we cannot transform the lives of our people if we simply graft our socioeconomic policies onto the weak and precarious foundation of the past.

We are here to change the course of our country, we are here to turn the tide. President Hichilema is a man for the big occasion. He thrives under pressure.
It is in times of crisis that good leadership must rise to the occasion.

It is easy to drift towards easy and so-called popular decisions, yet we all know that easy decisions have not particularly served our nation very well in the past.

The reason we are in this economic mess is because the previous regime led by Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu was skilled in the dark arts of corruption and purloining of public resources.

The previous government opted for easy decisions.
That is not what defines us. We are not kleptomaniacs.

For President Hichilema, leadership is about sticking to prudent and difficult decisions even if these decisions are unpopular in the short-term.

We are not here to lend credence to the broken and filthy politics of the past. We are not here to continue with the dim vision of the previous regime. We stand at the vanguard of a cleaner and leaner government as exemplified by the size of the cabinet.

Our start may have been slow, but we shall turn this economy around.
The economy is about to turn the corner.
The optics are looking good. Austerity means there will be pain as we turn around the economy. Our people will carry part of this burden; we ask for their resilience.

We are also mindful of one important fact.
We are mindful that the economy means people.

It is for this reason that we are providing the social safety nets to reduce the socioeconomic burden and the brunt of economic reform.

These include:

-Increased social cash transfer
-Free Education
-FISP
-Emergency social cash support for vulnerable households (1.6million)
-Meal allowances for university students
-Food Security Pack
Increased CDF from K1.6million to K30.6 million this year.

(President Hichilema has promised an upward adjustment next year)
Soon, food-for-work programmes will commence, We may be in different political formations, be it in opposition or ruling parties, but our political differences do not have to deteriorate into a ferocious dogfight.

All Zambians from all political persuasions should put their hands on our nation’s arc of history and bend it towards a new destination of hope and prosperity.

To each and every one of you, we say: Put your best foot forward.

The challenges of today cannot be solved by yesterday’s solutions.
Our university youths, therefore, must bring their intellectual firepower to spark a new economic revolution of unyielding hope and shared prosperity.

We want a transformed population for new times, a society that creates knowledge-intensive solutions for socioeconomic transformation, a society focused on producing citizens with creativity, ingenuity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

We are tired, fatigued of revolving in the same orbit of poverty and hopelessness.
We want a society of a higher order, a society that will unleash our collective genius and soar our nation to greatness.

We want a translational society that will catapult our new dawn to a new quantum of plenty.
Let us all work together to leapfrog Zambia into a new orbit of greatness.

Many of you have questioned President Hichilema’s style of leadership. You have every right to complain.
He hears you. Each time you speak, he notes your concerns.

Our problems as a country are much deeper than the high cost of living. Our problems are much deeper than the high cost of fuel. They are much deeper than youth unemployment.

These problems are with us not because we are lazy. These problems are with us not because our leadership is of pale vision. No, not at all.

The problem of high cost of living, the problem of high fuel prices, and the problem of youth unemployment stem from the crisis of confidence being fuelled by caustic politicians sowing seeds of discord in the nation. Every time it is politics.

Ever since our colleagues lost power, President Hichilema and his team have been working very hard to make sure that our nation does not sink in the mire of cynicism, self-doubt and self-distrust.

We shall fail to achieve anything tangible as a nation as long as our people lack self-belief.

We know that these mountebank politicians are the same agents of corruption and purveyors of cynicism and anti-government propaganda. These charlatans are working very hard to weaken the apparatus of government.

They are working very hard to make our people lose faith in the power of politics to change their lives. They will not succeed.

We urge fellow citizens to help channel our national energies into creating new pathways of innovation, fighting deprivation, and sharpening the cause of national progress.

Our universities and other higher learning institution should help us to reach the socioeconomic turning point, and should act as the springboard for economic take-off.

The youth must become a constructive force, and a new patriot to our cause of human freedom and economic progress.

The youths must join the battle for freedom and progress. It must lead from the front.
The ideals of the Lockwood Report that gave birth to the university must reignite and re-inspire the confidence of our people to collectively confront and surmount the challenges that we face as a nation.

Our institutions of higher learning must provide the cutting-edge; they must sharpen our efforts to develop this country.

We are not saying our professors should discover fire.
We are saying they should become prolific in being a beneficial force for deepening the cause of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Let me now end where I started.

Instead of engaging into empty political rhetoric, we should use political thought to advance the economic well-being of our people.

No single individual is above the collective good and the collective morality of this nation.
This means that everyone shall enjoy their freedom of expression and freedom of conscience without throwing our collective morality, culture, dignity and values into the gutter.

We have the potential, we have the human capital, we have the natural resources, we have the geographic location, we have the willpower and we have the moral character to become Africa’s premier nation.

Our pace of socioeconomic development shall hasten and the economy shall grow in leaps and bounds once we all agree that we have a programme of action for our country. But we are all behind schedule.

This nation shall succeed when we are all hungry for success

For the records under Mr Edgar Lungu’s reign.
No opposition rallies were allowed
Economy went to minus 2.8 per cent recession
Debt mountain grew; liabilities grew with no compensating assets
Cadres became the law unto themselves in markets and bus stations Zambia defaulted on her debt obligations in 2020
KCM, Mopani closed
Media houses were closed down: namely MUVI TV, Prime TV, Post Newspaper

During gassing, 43 people died and 23 were injured Lives lost Mapenzi Chibulo,
Lawrence Banda, Nsama Nsama, Joseph Kaunda, Glazier Mutapa,
Frank Mugala (12-year old), Vespers Shimuzhila
Munkonka Malesu (for wearing UPND regalia)

Former president Lungu and his PF have taken no responsibility
Mr Lungu has openly said he is coming back to protect himself and his family. Therefore, he has no interest of Zambians at heart.
We will continue to talk about them as history is a good teacher.

We do not want another Hitler, another Mussolini, Stalin, Khmer Rouge, Emperor Bokassa, Genocide, et cetera.
Nations commemorate days like D-day, Normandy, Hiroshima Day What are the policy alternatives to the following?

Increased social cash transfer
Free Education
FISP
Emergency social Cash support for vulnerable households (1.6 million)
Meal allowances for university students
Food Security Pack
Increased CDF from K1.6 million to K30.6 million this year.
Opening up Mopani, KCM, Kasenseli Gold Mine
More than $7 billion new invesments into the mining sector.
Debt restructuring
Employment of over 80,000 public jobs and several private sector jobs
The Ndola-Lusaka dual carriage way
Next time the opposition, led by Mr Lungu, decide to have a public rally, we expect to hear alternatives policies; not insults and propaganda.

The author is Special Assistant to the President in charge of Policy Compliance

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