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Alba Iulia
Sunday, June 6, 2021

HH slams ‘unsustainable debt’

Headlines HH slams 'unsustainable debt'

Zambia’s main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema says the country’s current rulers cannot save the nation from a punishing debt crisis, just months before the nation heads to the polls.

Zambia last year became Africa’s first coronavirus-era sovereign defaulting economy.

The nation of 17 million people holds presidential and legislative elections in August.

It is saddled with a foreign debt of nearly $12 billion (10 billion euros).

In October, Zambia missed a deadline to honour an interest payment of $42.5 million due on a Euro bond.

Three months later, on January 30, it skipped a $56.1-million interest payment on another bond.

“The debt has really grown to unsustainable levels, which is choking down domestic revenue,” Hakainde Hichilema told AFP in an online interview.

The 58-year-old politician and businessman blamed the Patriotic Front government and corrupt officials for the situation.

“They created the debt crisis” and “they don’t know how to come out” of it, he said.

“They are off-the rails on a lot of things. The levels of corruption are unprecedented”.

Zambia over the past decade has seen its total debt — including domestic debt — bulge to around $20 billion, he said.

Zambia requested funding from the International Monetary Fund for reforms and for debt repayment, but three weeks of talks ended inconclusively in March with the IMF saying “key challenges remain”.

The government has also applied for loan restructuring under a new G20 debt suspension initiative.

Repaying the debt has grown harder as the country’s kwacha currency fell by around a third of its value against the dollar since last year.

Copper prices have however picked up this year and are at a decade high, which could help Zambia deal with its debt.

The debt crisis, poverty and a troubled economy are expected to dominate an election in which Mr. Hichilema is challenging 64-year old incumbent Edgar Lungu.

Leading the UPND), he said the stakes were “extremely high” as “Zambians want change”.

Mr. Hichilema, who is making his sixth bid for the top job and who narrowly lost the election in 2016, called for “free and fair” polls, alleging “rule of law problems” and irregularities in voter registration.

“There are habitual arrests, we have extrajudicial killings, we have basically violence, community violence all over,” he said, referring to the December police shooting of two people outside a Lusaka court where he appeared for questioning over a property purchase he made 20 years ago.
Days later president Lungu ordered a reshuffle of top police officials.

“These are serious issues, and we also have issues around …freedoms — freedom of assembly and associated movement which are restricted,” Mr. Hichilema said.

Shortly after the 2016 vote, he was arrested and spent four months in jail for allegedly failing to give way to the presidential motorcade.

On foreign issues, Mr. Hichilema said the southern African regional bloc SADC should have acted early to clamp down on the Islamist insurgency ravaging northern Mozambique.

“SADC must do better and be proactive rather than be reactive,” he said, adding “conditions were clear, indications were clear that trouble was coming in Mozambique. That extremism was growing”.

48 COMMENTS

  1. Online interview with AFP, why? He should be convincing Zambian at grassroot level. HH waste a lot of his time talking to foreign media.

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  2. These are the only platforms open to him ….. Last week he tried to open his party’s new offices, you sent police to block him. There was no threat of violence, no public disturbances at all, but you PF and Lungu decide send loads police recruits to UPND, while at the same time, at PF secretariat there was the customary PF thuggery, with added starring chief pompwe, Kambwili and PF lost child, Inno the American lol. No visible policing was on hand to do what they paid to do.

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  3. 80% of Zambians dont even understand the meaning of unsustainable debt and dont care as they live for today only
    The other 20% have no say and can do nothing about it !!

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  4. Same old boring hot garbage from the tribal party. The only difference this time is that it is not coming directly from hh because he is in a coma due to suspected covid. Hh and his party harassed my late father MCSata when he was ill. Life has a way of humbling people. Why is upnd hiding hh ilness

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  5. This is why people write off HH as a credible leader. This coming from a former accountant is shocking. Surely HH knows Zambia is worth more than $12 billion. HH statement sounds like a script written for him to scare the people of Zambia by his paymasters. The IMF and Co. would like to push the agenda of defaulting on debt because this will allow them to trigger compound interest which in turn would lock Zambia into paying an infinite debt. This is why they are making it impossible for Zambia to negotiate a good deal. HH should be preaching about refinancing that debt from cheaper sources if he is to be listened to. These people know that copper is the next oil therefore setting the stage to capture our nation. Zambia wake up iwe!

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  6. #5  FutureZed
     May 6, 2021 At 7:47 am

    “……..The IMF and Co. would like to push the agenda of defaulting on HH should be preaching about refinancing that debt from cheaper sources if he is to be listened to. These people know that copper is the next oil therefore setting the stage to capture our nation…..”

    Which cheaper sources ????? After defaulting ????

    FYI Zambia copper is too expensive to mine and there are many many cheaper sources of copper around the world…..don’t think copper is only ground in zambia ,

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  7. Tell us something new, we are fully aware about Zambia’s debt so you don’t need to remind us.

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  8. #7  Ayatollah 
    May 6, 2021 At 8:15 am

    “Tell us something new, we are fully aware about Zambia’s debt so you don’t need to remind us”

    Well , they way lungu and PF are dishing out free money to Zambians, maybe you do need reminding about unsustainable debt levels……..

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  9. Zambia has embraced illegalities from inception. When Nyasaland got its Independence on 6 July 1964, they made a declaration that all those that qualified to be Malawians together with their descendants had become Malawians unless they renounced their Malawian citizenship. This was how David Kaunda and his children became Malawians because he was a missionary from that country. His son KK never renounced his Malawian citizenship until 1969 at the insistence of Aaron Milner who was the Minister of Home Affairs. So we can say Zambia was ruled by a Malawian from 1964 to 1969. John Mwanakatwe as Acting Minister of Home Affairs granted KK Zambian citizenship in 1972. So we can KK ruled Zambia as a stateless person from 1969 to 1972

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  10. The Law required one to apply for citizenship, so it can be said that the gesture by Mwanakatwe was irregular. These are the matters that Remmy Kabanda Mushota and Patrick Katyoka took to Court. Today we have a President who was elected and served his first term under an old Constitution and his 2nd under a new Constitution. Because the current Constitution doesn’t address the question of how to handle the period of transition between the 2 Laws, he’s been declared eligible. So again Zambia will be ruled by an ineligible President for 5 years. These are bad precedents on our nation. We will face a similar challenge in future, perhaps by then most of us would be gone. Let’s not legislate because of our narrow agenda. This is why we’re still struggling to write a Constitution that makes…

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  11. This is why we’re struggling to write a Constitution that makes sense even when we have many educated Zambians to easily to that. South Africa is now miles away in terms of democracy as if it isn’t a young nation because they sat down to write their Supreme Law without ultra motives. Posterity will judge us harshly. They have not amended their Constitution since it was written in 1994. The Zambian Supreme Law has been amended several times and I’m certain that after August 2021 the PF will move to make further amendments and still it won’t be perfect or even close to it

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  12. 2 of my earlier posts are still awaiting moderation. They’re part of the same topic, if they’re not allowed then my last post won’t make much sense

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  13. Brainless PF cadres must understand that a huge unsustainable debt results in high debt or loan repayments.
    Because most of the budget money goes to paying off loans or Kaloba, there is little money left for the economy
    That is why
    1.retirees have not been paid,
    2.civil servants salaries are delayed,
    3.Suppliers are not paid in time,
    4.No medicines in hospitals etc
    VOTE OUT THE PF TO SAVE ZAMBIA

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  14. Tell Zambians why they should have confidence in you. How would you work out the kaloba problem if you were given chance to be government head, Mr. Hichilema. External debt dismantling is prime responsibility after 12 August.

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  15. Kainyokolola Zulu,
    This is complex economics not for people with little education like you to comprehend. It’s not a stupid tube in a Chelstone lab that you were used to or terrorist acts of holding diplomats hostage, uzo kuunya kac.ikala wena, this will just confuse you. If you are used to the politics of hunting bakoswe, just shut the damn mouth and watch this catastrophe you fools have brough in Zambia unfold. And by the way, you know why a “Kumawanese” like Kainyokolola Zulu thinks the Zambian economy is doing good, its because his nearest comparable to an economy is Blantyre in Malawi, where there is no economy.

  16. HH, that is not a good song to beat the ruling party. Start your song by being positive and explain how to enhance current initiatives underway. Select positive ones. Do not shy away because ECL initiated them. Treat ECL as a midwife to better things to come[ that is how you earn votes from hard lovers of ECL including me]. Talking negatively about debts is instilling fear, not a good song.

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  17. Ba KAISAR ZULU, DON’T make MALICIOUS and BASELESS ACCUSATIONS AGAINST HAKAINDE HICHILEMA. THE 2021 PRESIDENTIAL and GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS WILL CATCH YOU OFF GUARD!!!. YOU WILL BE SHOCKED!!!. YOU WILL EVEN START CONTEMPLATING SEEKING REFUGE IN A GERMAN EMBASSY!!! TRUST ME!!!.

    IT IS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF ACTS. “THE ALMIGHTY GOD, CREATOR OF HEAVEN, AND EARTH IS NO RESPECTOR OF PERSONS”. AFTER 12 AUGUST 2021, HAKAINDE HICHILEMA WILL BE SWORN IN AS ZAMBIA’S SEVENTH REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT. HE WILL ENSURE THAT LAW AND ORDER IS RESTORED IN THIS COUNTRY. NOT THE CURRENT LAWLESSNESS WE HAVE BECOME ACCUSTOMED TO UNDER THIS CURRENT PF REGIME!!!.

    THE RETURNS TO THE RULE OF LAW WILL BE A BREATH OF FRESH AIR!!!. I KNOW THAT WITH UPND IN GOVERNMENT, THE LAW WILL BE APPLIED EQUALLY, FIRMLY,…

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  18. Terence Hill, the person writing as Kaizar Zulu on this website is not the real one. This imposter is a UK diasporan (see the UK flag next to his posts) who just invents things and wants to upset everybody. And he wants to get a job in Lungu’s government…..

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  19. As if this man has solutions to all the problems! His track record tells that he is complete failure in administration. He only knows copying from others. Whatever solutions he proposes are already being implemented by the PF government.

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  20. He claims to be business expert and economist. What solutions does he have? It is easy to criticise and teach the champions from outside the ground. It is altogether different thing to work out the solution. Hichilema should stop defaming the country in international media. We know he is doing it for his person gains.

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  21. HH talking against corruption is really hilarious. Instead of criticising the PF, he should come clean on his own corruption. Does he think that getting named in Panama Papers is some gallantry award or something?

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  22. I am surprised that even media doesn’t ask him tough questions. What are they afraid of? I can understand local media being intimidated, but what happens to foreign media? Why don’t they ask pointed questions?

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  23. Wow! Issues around freedom! Can HH give at least one example when someone was restricted from moving around or gathering? These are completely baseless allegations. I dare you to give proof, got courage?

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  24. Why don’t you concentrate on the issues in your party, HH? People are leaving UPND. There is hardly anyone who is happy with you, except for few criminals who have hijacked the party. First get that in order and then talk.

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  25. Now the criminals will teach how to govern? We have not come to that situation as yet and will never come. You better start preparing for jail.

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  26. They created the debt crisis and they don’t know how to come out of it. As if HH knows and he is ready with the solution! If yes, then why is he imitating the President?

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  27. Hichilema is the cry baby of Zambian politics. He always cries foul over free and fair elections. But never talks about the violence and disrespect to law by his cadres. He will not tell the media that he deliberately mobilized cadres from across the country to create riots in Lusaka.

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  28. HH is misleading the foreign media. It was not police that killed two men in Lusaka in December. It was the contract killer hired by HH. Otherwise there was no reason he could have known that it was a sniper who shot the two innocent men.

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  29. Seeing the wood for the trees as usual. Wakey-wakey Ba nene. Going local down in Monze,Chipata,Kasama etc could win you more votes than in the Western press.

  30. @AkapS my brother or sister, nothing is impossible. You need to change your mindset or else you’ll fall pray to those characters who pretends to be your friend when they see value in you. There are so many sources of money and defaulting on a debt does not mean you can’t refinance and pay it off. Infact, I would urge the government to sacrifice a little and dispose of any expensive and complicated debts designed to capture our sovereignty. Zambia does not need the IMF, we know that they work hand in hand with the same vultures whose job is to sell debt to poor nations in exchange to resources. if you understand money, you will also know that it has no value. IMF and Co’s job is to sell you those worthless dollars in exchange to your valuable resources. So if we can create value from…

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  31. our resources, we don’t need these people coming to tell us what to do. God has given us so many valuable resources for free, use them.

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  32. MOST OF THE PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND BASIC THINGS LIKE ECONOMICS, UNSUSTAINABLE DEBT MEANS THE GOVT BEING UNABLE TO SERVICE ITS DEBT OBLIGATIONS BECAUSE IT SPENDS MOST OF REVENUE ON NKONGELE. LIKE AT HOUSEHOLD LEVEL THE TOTAL INCOME BEING K5,000 PER MONTH BUT ONE FINDS HIMSELF PAYING K20,000 SO IT WILL BE NJALA AND FAILING TO PAY RENTALS AND OTHER NEEDS OF THE HOUSEHOLD. THIS IS THE SITUATION WE HAVE FOUND OURSELVES IN AS A COUNTRY AND SOME PEOPLE WANT TO CHEAT YOU INTO BELIEVING THAT ALL IS WELL.

  33. We love the way HH articulates this issue of debt thereby giving us full confidence in him to solve it.

  34. Once upnd takes over there will be no more restrictions on political gatherings and even those critics of government will have the full freedom to criticize.

  35. Just look at the sham of a convention which PF had whereby all the members of MCC where handpicked by one man. Such dictatorial tendencies in the governing of this country.

  36. These people are clueless as to how to come out of this debt crisis they created. It will take a man with a vision to step in.

  37. Just look at the violence that characterized when CK rejoined PF. This violence will be a thing of the past after August.

  38. After all they are even responsible for the death of innocent people for which they will be held accountable once they are out of power.

  39. @Future Zed, you speak my mind. I endorse every comment you’ve made on this matter. A lot of people only choose to see what we don’t have (the money/limited debt) but fail to see what we have – the unlimited wealth and immense resources that lie within the country.

  40. COPPER, COBALT, MANGANESE ARE THE NEXT OIL. HOWEVER, IT WILL BE THE NEXT POIL FOR ZAMBIA IF WE CAN START MAKING ELECTRIC VEHICLES AS UGANDA HAS STARTED MAKING ELECTRIC BUSES.

  41. I am very much against corrupt PF to stay in power. But to be frank I have no confidence in HH and his UPND to change things around. Like in this article above, HH only slamps the ruling party – but he does NOT provide any recipe on what should be done. I’m sorry, but “Bally will fix it” doesn’t do anything for me!

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