UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has made a passionate call to voters especially the youth not to surrender their voter’s cards to anyone as August elections draw close.
Mr Hichilema said the UPND keep receiving reports of bogus people requesting its members to give them Voters Cards and even NRCs in exchange for money or other incentives.
“Fellow citizens, voting is a very important civic duty that determines the destiny of our country. Being denied an opportunity and the right to vote and decide the direction of your country’s destiny is a curse no-one should wish upon themselves, whatever the temptation,” Mr Hichilema said.
He added, “Let’s not fall prey to short-term incentives at the expense of the broader picture in deciding our leadership and our shared future.”
Mr Hichilema said there is currently no law that requires you to completely surrender a Voters Card or NRCs in order to access certain services such as money, loans or other facilities.
“May we educate our people that when they hear someone asking them to surrender their voting instruments, they must immediately report them to the nearest police station or our local structures on the ground so they can alert the authorities and follow up,” he said.
“We must also keep instructing our people, especially youths and those who have not voted before, on how to vote. Have a great day and God bless you all.”
And Mr Hichilema has embarked on a campaign tour of Eastern Province.
He is accompanied by his Vice President Canisius Banda and other senior party officials.
“We have left for Eastern Province this morning accompanied by our Vice-president Dr. Canisius Banda, while our other Vice-President Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM), former Commerce Minister Bob Sichinga, National Trustee Bernard Mpundu and other officials are already ahead having left yesterday in our continued party mobilisation activities.”
He added, “Our appeal to our members is that as we continue our party mobilisation activities across the country, it’s also important to sensitise our people on the importance of keeping their Voters Cards and NRCs safe.”
Meanwhile, Opposition UPND President Hakainde Hichilema has called on President Edgar Lungu to reverse his salary increase saying it is outrageous and selfish.
In a statement made available to media today, Mr. Hichilema said that President Lungu is enjoying a salary increase, from K414, 406 up to K447, 559 with an additional special annual allowance of K117, 648 adding that this is nothing short of an insult to the majority Zambians.
Mr. Hichilema has advised President Lungu to emulate President Buhari of Nigeria who, newly elected in 2015, recognised that his people are struggling and voluntarily cut his salary in half within weeks of coming to power.
He said that another good example is President Magufuli in Tanzania, who after being elected in October 2015 quickly cut the Cabinet down from 60 to 34 ministers, as well as cutting a planned retreat for ministers.
The UPND leader has since called on President Lungu to quickly reverse the decision and donate any additional benefit he has accumulated from the increase to date to charitable causes.
Below is the full statement
President Lungu Must Reverse His Salary Increase
Our people are distressed. It is hard to find a job, parents are struggling to put food on the table, families cannot find the money to send their children to school and basic healthcare is beyond the reach of the majority. Inflation has increased prices and the cost of living has gone up, meanwhile job losses have seen more and more families destitute and without hope.
At such times, a leader must apply austerity not only to the nation but at a personal level. The action of increasing one’s salary when the voters are suffering is not only outrageous but selfish. That President Lungu is enjoying a salary increase, from K414,406 up to K447,559 with an additional special annual allowance of K117,648, is nothing short of an insult to the majority who are suffering and the growing number who can’t afford three meals a day, let alone any of the many benefits he already enjoys just by virtue of his Office. What kind of leadership is this?
For many Zambians they may feel disappointed, upset and even angry at this latest revelation but will ask can we really expect any better from politicians. My answer to you is yes we can. Just look at President Buhari of Nigeria who, newly elected in 2015, recognised that his people are struggling and voluntarily cut his salary in half within weeks of coming to power. He also cut State House budget and allowances, recognising that this money would deliver much greater benefit to the people if spent in more productive areas.
Look also at the example set by President Magufuli in Tanzania, who after being elected in October 2015 quickly cut the Cabinet down from 60 to 34 ministers, as well as cutting a planned retreat for ministers. He has introduced specific restrictions on ministerial costs, from the refreshments they can enjoy at taxpayers’ expense to their mode of traffic – no more first class air tickets or limousines. Over in South America, Jose Mujica the former President of Uruguay set a truly admirable example by donating 90% of his $150,000 salary to charity and forgoing various expensive benefits such as a presidential motorcade.
So yes we can demand better of our leaders and we should demand better. It is in this light that we now call on President Lungu to quickly reverse the decision and donate any additional benefit he has accumulated from the increase to date to charitable causes.
These are not complex policy decisions. These are very simple measures that are both compassionate and show common sense. It is an honest duty to reflect on the times we live in and in this President Lungu is guilty of gross misjudgement.
President Lungu needs to do more than just this, however, he must also quickly share his plans with the Zambian public on how the majority can hope to earn any salary through job creation measures and how together we can fight rising inequality. Soon election season is coming and people will want to see his plans and he can be sure that they will be asking why plans and action on these fundamental and basic areas have not come sooner and no action has been taken to date.
Reverse that SI now, you have done it before, so it should not be a problem to reverse this particular SI.