Fellow Zambians, we stand here today proud of this nation: its people, its beauty, its Godliness and its diversity. But, we stand here knowing that Zambia faces a crisis, a crisis that has resulted from five years of PF Government.
We believe that now is the time to take matters into our own hands. We believe that now is the time to unite and FIX our country.
We have come here to offer hope to all of you that have turned out to witness this historic event. Take note of this date – 21st May 2016 marks the beginning of a new journey for our country. It is the start of our campaign for the economic liberation of each and every Zambian.
Ladies and gentlemen, in 1964, a crop of politicians, led by our first President Dr Kenneth Kaunda took decisive actions and fought long and hard battles against the colonialists, for which we remain grateful. Then in 1991 the reintroduction of multi-party politics was another landmark stage. In 2011 when the PF took office Zambia was firmly on the path to middle income status but look at where we are now?
Colleagues and fellow citizen, wherever we go today what we see is broken promises, broken roads, broken pipes, broken souls and broken dreams. Go to Wusakile, Chamboli, Bulangililo, you will see the suffering there. We cannot continue like this. President Lungu and the PF have ravaged our economy through mismanagement and ransacked our treasury through corruption.
In January 2015 the kwacha was trading at K6 to the dollar, it is now at K10. Inflation was 7% and today it is 22%, with bags of mealie meal selling at over K100 and the pump price of fuel up to K10 per litre. Here on the Copperbelt, instead of the thousands of jobs they promised to create we have seen thousands of job losses.
We have seen the danger of leadership that has no vision and the damage that can be done even in a short space of time.
The PF have borrowed and borrowed, growing our debt from US$1.1bn in 2011 to US$6.6bn. They have spent so much but delivered so little, putting it into their pockets. While the people cannot afford three or even two meals a day, the President and his ministers have been increasing their own salaries as recently as March this year.
Our dear Zambia is now in the intensive care unit and requires urgent surgery. So what will the UPND Government do to fix our great nation?
The UPND has a 10 Point Plan for Zambia. We will fix it. Tukalungisha. Tukakontolola.
Let us share that plan with you here today.
We plan to start with job creation and employment. From the first day in office, our Government will help Zambian companies to create jobs, by ensuring we start manufacturing most of the things we import. Isn’t it an embarrassment that we are importing toothpicks? Are you telling me we can fail to make toothpicks? We will promote investment, trade and economic growth, diversifying the economy and investing in under-developed sectors with huge potential for job and wealth creation such as tourism.
Point Two will be an attack on poverty and inequality, with a strong focus on youth and women. On day one we will start addressing youth and women empowerment. The women folk present here today, can’t you sow uniforms. So why can’t Government give you contracts to supply uniforms in Government schools? Youths are found making furniture at Nakadoli market. Why is Government importing furniture for their offices and not buying furniture from Nakadoli market? This is what we mean by empowering women and the youth when you give us a vote.
Point Three will be investing in our people through education. There is no nation in this world that has advanced without a population that has the right skills. The youths that will be making chairs and desks for Government schools will need education before they get skills to start making desks. Our women who will be supplying uniforms to Government schools need education first before they can learn knitting and tailoring. This is why we are saying education for all is a must. The waste we shall save from ending corruption in procurement of Government goods and services, by-elections and other areas will be invested in education. Now listen carefully here. In Zambia building a road costs 2 million dollars per kilometer, while in South Africa its 400,000 dollars. This means the money we pay for one kilometer, you can do 5 kilometers in South Africa. Why are our roads expensive? It’s because of corruption.
Point Four is to electrify Zambia. The PF has failed to run the power sector resulting in load-shedding, limited and unreliable access and high costs of production. How are businesses supposed to operate under such conditions? Our plan is very simple, we are discussing with the private sector to build power stations from renewables. What do I mean colleagues? Zesco is broke that they cannot build new power stations, we will talk to our friends in the private sector to build power stations, and the power produced will be sold to ZESCO, that is how we will end load shedding.
Point Five will improve competitiveness so that our local businesses can grow and create jobs, and new ones can start up. We will tackle areas such as heavy regulation, the high costs of transport and trade, access to finance and power supply.
Point Six will focus on aggressively cutting Government waste. We are not going to have 71 ministers in our Government the way our friends did. We are going to reduce on the number of ministers and review their conditions of service. A minister gets 800 liters of fuel per month, that is about 500,000 kwacha for the entire cabinet. By the end of the 5 years of PF we will have spent over 29 billion old currency on fuel for ministers. This does not include the free phones, cars, housing and many other things we provide to them. We cannot continue making a few people rich at the expense of 14 million Zambians.
Point Seven will develop our agriculture sector. Our job once you put us in power is to reduce the price of mealie meal. How will we do this? We will increase farmer support in both input provision and reduce the unit cost of production. In this country a farmer produces about 40 bags of maize per hectare when it is possible to produce 100 bags with the same inputs. What farmers need is a robust extension service system so that they can produce more by improving their management of fields. Once this happens then the price of a 50kg bag of maize will come down and with it mealie meal. We will also help farmers diversify their crop to produce other foods and grow produce for neighbouring countries.
Point Eight will end the flip-flops and policy inconsistencies that are costing people jobs. In this place over 10,000 miners and their affiliates lost employment. And the PF Government looked on as our people were losing jobs. From the time the PF took over they have changed mining tax policy three times, scaring investors away. What we are doing immediately you give us the instruments of power is to instill confidence in the economy. As a responsible Government we will rather lose a bit of mineral royalty than see you lose your wages and your livelihood.
Point Nine, building a healthy nation, cannot be compromised on. Colleagues, people are going to hospitals that have no medicines and doctors. We have a shortage of over 13,000 nurses and yet we have thousands of young people looking for jobs – another PF miscalculation. Meanwhile, the high maternal mortality rate remains a stain on the conscience of our nation. Immediately we take office we are reforming procurement of medicines in hospitals. The money we will save from a reduced cabinet and corruption will be used to hire nurses, doctors and buy medicines. We have already spoken to people that are willing to come and set up mini water plants in places like Chamboli so that you people can have access to piped water.
Point Ten is Good Governance. Zambians under PF are living in fear. If you say something against the Government or the President, then you are threatened with arrest. Police are being misused by the PF. People have to apply for permits to have church meetings. We are taking over Government to ensure that Zambians can enjoy their rights. We will immediately repeal the Public Order Act. We are also going to embark on reforming the Anti Corruption Commission and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to make them independent bodies to pursue corrupt elements. There will be no sacred cows in a UPND-led Government. We need to fight corruption to the bitter end, it has made us poor and I am telling you now, anyone who is corrupt will face the law. Corruption is a cancer that needs to be aggressively tackled.
Fellow Zambians, this is our 10 Point Plan.
Can Zambia rise again? The answer is yes. Can our people ever live a better life again? The answer is yes. What do we need to do? Mark “X” on HH and UPND.
We cannot share poverty, we can only share prosperity so let’s build a Zambia for all.
Please join me in delivering this message to every doorstep. It will not be easy, but it will not be impossible. We are a party that wants to restore confidence in the voters because we want to make sure that we deliver on all our commitments. This is where I end. I am very grateful to the people of Kitwe for hosting us. Travel well colleagues.
God bless you and we now officially launch the UPND Campaign for the 2016 elections.