UPND President Hakainde Hichilema has vowed that his planned meetings on the Copperbelt will go ahead with or without Police permission.
Mr. Hichilema is on the Copperbelt for a series of political meetings.The UPND leader yesterday held an engagement with Bus and taxi drivers in Ndola who vowed to rally behind him.
The drivers told Mr.Hichilema that their decision to rally behind him is as a result of exploitation from the ruling PF through the Road Transport and Safety Agency RTSA.They complained that under the PF government, transport taxes have been highly increased while acquiring a Public Service vehicle PSV license has also been made complicated.
Speaking on behalf of other bus and taxi drivers, Donald Mutale said public service drivers on the Copperbelt are fed up with increased taxes being introduced by the RTSA from time to time.
The drivers made the petition to Mr. Hichilema and his entourage toured the market behind Mulungushi bus station in Ndola.
The UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema promised the drivers that once elected president in 2016 such issues will be among his first priorities.
Meanwhile UPND Vice president for Administration Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba has questioned the caliber of people surrounding President Edgar Lungu to give him sound advice on many national matters.
He has since asked the people of Copperbelt to vote for the UPND in 2016 so that they usher in a government of intellectuals who will manage the country’s economy for the betterment of all Zambians.
Meanwhile the UPND leader said he had fruitful meetings with key stakeholders last night especially in the mining sector with a view to sharing ideas and finding some solutions to the plight of the workers facing massive job losses.
He said thanks to the visit on the Copperbelt the UPND have fully come to appreciate the scale and extent of the problems facing the mining industry.Of interest is that the commodity prices on the international market are not as bad as a few years ago when prices dropped to US $2000 per ton.Mr Hakainde said this means with a bit of government support like many other countries such as Chile have done, Zambia would not be in the situation where people are losing jobs like this.
He said there are so many outstanding issues and misunderstandings with the PF government that needs resolving including VAT refunds, some mining houses like KCM are owed as much as US $200 million in VAT refunds.Mr.Hakainde said it is clear to that no one in government is taking these issues seriously, but instead heaping blame on the external environment.
He said we need serious government intervention to solve outstanding issues, rather than just leaving it to the workers and their unions to solve these problems.
‘On our part we shall do our best, but we are very limited on what we can do as we do not have the mandate to fully intervene. However, we will continue to advise our colleagues in leadership which we have done repeatedly,’he said.