Hakainde Hichilema is a heartless extortionist who wants to increase electricity tariffs at a time when Zambians have gone beyond the limits of suffering, FDD leader Edith Nawakwi has charged.
And Economic Front (EF) leader Wynter Kabimba described the President as a stubborn “chintomfwa” who will not listen to the poor people’s cries, but that judgment day is coming for him in 2026.
Speaking through an interview on the proposed hike of 37 percent in electricity tariffs by the state-owned utility company, Zesco, Nawakwi said no Zambian deserves to be burdened further with high electricity costs after the President has already decimated them with high fuel prices, resulting in the skyrocketing cost of living for ordinary Zambians.
She said President Hichilema was a “hard-nosed” capitalist who is pandering to the west as that is what has been included in the $1.3 billion IMF facility.
“That was what was included in the agreement that he will be an agent of death for the Zambian economy and people of Zambia,” Nawakwi said. “You have seen the price of mealie meal skyrocketing yet there isn’t one single construction going on in the country.”
She said Zambia was a country without a shepherd, and therefore everything was at a standstill “because our leader has no eyes, because if he had he would have seen the people’s suffering not to burden them with further electricity tariff hikes.”
“He has no heart. If he has it doesn’t feel the people’s pain. The only heart he has is ‘how much will be in my pocket.’ It’s insensitive for anyone to inflict more pain on the people at this time,” Nawakwi said, and that IMF will be responsible for the President’s eviction in 2026.
Nawakwi said it was ironic that the same government that claimed that tariffs have to be hiked to attract investment, were also saying that they are exporting power and making millions from the same.
“Hakainde doesn’t listen to anyone. He doesn’t listen to God. He has power and he will do what he wants,” she said.
President Hichilema during a recent radio appearance described the skyrocketing prices of mealie meal as extortion and sabotage as the government had offloaded maize through the FRA to the millers to cushion the high prices. But Nawakwi urged the President to consider his own actions before blaming others.
“He is the extortionist. He has been increasing the price of fuel because mealie meal cannot be delivered in isolation of fuel,” Nawakwi said, adding that “the cattle economist” is detached from reality as mealie meal prices cannot be stabilised by just offloading maize as it requires time to do so.
She said she had never seen a situation where the minister of Agriculture was the one presiding over which millers should receive the maize.
“I have said he doesn’t understand economics. He is a cattle economist. He only understands the economics of cattle where they are walking from Kalomo to Kafue and he is creating deforestation and calls himself a cattle rancher,” said Nawakwi.
And Kabimba said the tariff increments must affect the mines who were the heavy consumers as apart from being given tax holidays they also paid little on the energy they consumed despite being the heavy users of the commodity.
He said the rule in terms of tariffs must move alongside the lines of taxation where those who earn more pay more.
Kabimba said he and others were representing the voice of the poor who will be the main judges of President Hichilema’s stay in power “against the mining companies to who can claim that they will rig elections for him and get 10 helicopters to fly him around the country.”
“HH must stop cheating himself that he can treat the poor people in the manner he feels because he has got the support of his fellow capitalists in the mines,” said Kabimba, adding that the trend he was developing of getting the poor to sustain the rich could not build peace. “HH has proven to be a very stubborn man to hold office. And this is confirmed by those working around him. Ni chintomfwa (He’s someone who never listens to anyone)