Statement by PF Member of Central Committee Paul Moonga on the so-called salary increment published in Today’s edition of the Post Newspapers
Lusaka, Zambia, Wednesday, March 23, 2016—Once again, we have been confronted by a screaming headline quoting Mr Hakainde Hichilema, the leader of the United Party for National Development, attempting to distort facts about the salary of the President of the Republic of Zambia.
We are irritated by Mr Hichilema’s unprecedented levels of ignorance exhibited in the said Post Newspaper to conveniently personalize the salary of the Head of State even when he knows that the salary is for the office holder. If he thinks that he will continue to mislead the people of Zambia while we watch, then he has a massive job on his hands. His statement has too many convenient omissions which must not be left unchecked lest they unjustifiably breed hate against the President.
We now know that the intention of Mr Hichilema is to cultivate a seed of hate, discord, dislike and discontent against the government of President Chagwa Lungu by germinating predictable lies for planting in the selected media which are known enemies of peace but this must be done with some level of coordinated thought.
First and foremost, we retain a duty to remind Mr Hichilema that the small percentage salary increment to the President’s salary is a very tiny proportion of the huge amount of money the UPND leader collected after presiding over a highly suspicious privatisation process of the mining companies in Zambia in the 1990s. Mr Hichilema recommended to the previous government to sell the mines at a song and collected huge sums of money for his personal use and walked away.
As a way of laundering his image, Mr Hichilema has now specialized in diverting that blatant diversion of resources by blaming former government officials of being responsible for the process without making effort to explain why this is so. We will not allow him to use those tricks anymore without being marked. I am challenging him to surrender all the money he collected from the privatization process before he can start opening his mouth to mislead the people of Zambia.
That single privatization process alone is responsible for the huge riches Mr Hichilema has amassed and is currently enjoying. We believe he does not have any trace of a moral right condemn a meager salary hike for the office of the President considering his lust for wealth. Mr Hichilema needs to know that the salary of the President accrues to the office and not to the person of Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who is the current President.
When late President Frederick Chiluba purchased a Presidential challenger plane, the opposition and their media distorted the information in a similar fashion without shame. After his death, the plane has been used by four different Heads of State and the same applies to the President’s salary.
The office of the President is very important to the country and the people of Zambia have a responsibility to look after it irrespective of the person occupying it.
Currently, Mr Hichilema does not have any moral right to blame the President over a salary which is even 1 per cent of M Hichilema’s questionable wealth. We are now left to wonder what type of a leader he will make should he assume presidency if honesty is not his portion.
I insist, as a PF member of central committee, that Mr Hichilema should invest a little more in using media space for productive things, if he can. If he thinks he will succeed in detracting President Lungu from running the affairs of this country through such lies, we want to assure Mr Hichilema that the President remains steadfast in governing the country.
Petty politics being employed by Mr Hichilema will not help the UPND ascend to power because they merely bring to the fore the level of dishonest on the part of their leader.
In my view, the next time he attempts to open his mouth to discuss this subject, Mr Hichilema must check his own surroundings and make sure that he is not shooting himself in the foot.
Member of the Patriotic Front (PF) Central Committee