By Prince Bill M. Kaping’a Political/Social Analyst
The other day, one of the most astute and capable cabinet ministers in the New Dawn Administration featured on a Prime TV programme anchored by Alexander Musokotwane. He painted a prolific mosaic of a litany of milestones achieved by the New Dawn Administration a few years of being in office.
To start with, the president has assembled a cabinet that represents a national character – for the first time in many years, all the 10 provinces are well represented! He further reiterated that over 40,000 jobs in the civil service sector have been created and still being created, while a further 1500 jobs at Indeni have been preserved with the timely re-opening of the oil refinery when doomsayers least expected such a thing would occur in their lifetime. In addition to this, free education from grade 1 to 12 has been reintroduced whilst the meal allowances for university students which were scrapped off by the reckless PF administration have been restored!
In years gone by, for one to secure a job in the civil service, they ought to have been PF cadres or indeed enjoyed strong connections with those in power. Fortunately, this is now a thing of the past; there’s no ‘nchekeleko’ anymore. In the same breath, council workers who in most cases would go 7 months without smelling a whiff of cash have since been remunerated while the retirees, our grand parents who would be ignored by the likes of Given Lubinda and therefore be condemned to endure cold nights at Kamwala Bus Terminals have equally been sorted out. In addition to this, those 258 000 peasant farmers who were robbed of their dues by a heartless government have since been cleared.
During the PF regime, opposition strongholds were notoriously ‘starved’ of constituency development funds ((CDF). Hichilema’s government has not only increased CDF allocation to record figures but has ensured that all the constituencies are accessing their fair share of the allocation at the same time. Isn’t this the same reason why folks like Kanchibiya Member of Parliament Sunday Chanda, once bitter critics of UPND have zipped their mouths and delivering to the satisfaction of their electorate quietly?
Most of us still remember The Post as it played a critical role in informing, educating and entertaining the public. What happened to it? Ruthlessly crushed by the PF regime! In the current regime, independent media outlets such as Camnet TV, News Diggers and Daily Nation are allowed ample space to bash or criticize government without any exuberances or existential threats of being shut down as was the case with Prime TV and The Post Newspaper during the PF regime.
“This president has done so much for this nation, maybe we aren’t just communicating effectively to the public as government,” the minister lamented.
He further went on to explain how the president has even forgiven those that made him escape the wrath of blood thirsty cadres through a rickety roof in Ndola or those that authorised firing of live ammunition at his convoy in Chingola.
“During PF, it was abominable for the opposition particularly UPND to put on their party regalia otherwise they would’ve been butchered!” Milupi recalled.
He went on to elaborate that the opposition, including the PF are now free to put on their regalia and visit any place including churches, markets and shanty compounds to galvanize support.
What do we make of such assertions?
The best language that PF surely understands is “cho, chise!” You can only treat the former ruling party with kid’s gloves and yet this is what this government has been doing by failing to resolutely fend-off relentless attacks while succinctly explaining the efforts government is undertaking to ameliorate the challenges of our people.
With due respect, Information Minister Chushi Kasanda and her PS, my good friend Kennedy Kalunga have lamentably failed to weather the storm from the rabble-rousers masquerading as opposition political parties! Clearly, they can’t withstand mounting pressure from the likes of Antonio Mwanza, Chilufya Tayali, Emmanuel Mwamba, Raphael Nakachinda or Nixon Chilangwa. They can do better at the Ministry of Religious Affairs if at all such a ministry was to be resurrected or better still in the diplomatic service.
Given the cantankerous and highly charged political atmosphere currently prevailing in the nation, government deserves indefatigable and fearlessness fellows ready to shoot from the hips such as a combined lethal team of Cornelius Mweetwa as Minister and Thabo Kawana as PS!
When have we seen Kasanda stepping out of her comfort zone to stand within firing range and get grilled by the likes of Costa Mwansa of Diamond TV or even the legendary Luchi at Radio Phoenix? Zero! The president is left with little option but to invite the Information Ministers for tea, tell her he has nothing against her but he has seen it fit to redeploy her to another functionality.