By Venus N Msyani
President Hakainde Hichilema has failed. He should step down, go and work on his weaknesses, and come back in 2031 if he will want to.
On the overall Zambia economy, we cannot ignore the war in Ukraine, COVID-19, and other global forces including the recent inflation that hit the United States of America. They do play a part in Hichilema’s failure.
However, it doesn’t make sense to attribute most of Hichilema’s failures if not all, to that. The mealie meal crisis Zambia has started witnessing, the country had enough maize in stock from previous harvests.
Hichilema and his administration decided to export the surplus forgetting about the day beyond tomorrow. Now Zambia has started rationing mealie meal, which has ended in price increases and mealie meal shortages.
It is very possible soon the new dawn administration will start importing maize or mealie meal. The very maize Hichilema allowed to be exported.
What is worrying is the fact that it will be very hard to find enough white maize. Zambia is the only country that produces a lot of white maize in the region. Meaning yellow maize mealie meal, which Zambians are not used to, will soon flood the market.
That is when this will start making sense to Hichilema. It will be a time when even those the president calls useful idiots will start demanding his resignation.
If not served nshima, a typical Zambian feels not eaten. Meaning the number of Zambians going to bed with an empty stomach will increase. The number of children crying at night because of not having eaten nshima will increase. Also, it means the number of people experiencing sleepless nights will increase.
It has nothing to do with global forces but President Hichilema’s selling habit. He should step down and go and work on it.
Selling things to solve problems is not a good character for a leader. Hichilema seems to disagree. Senior government officials bought vehicles he feels too expensive. Hichilema has ordered them to be sold.
A lot of rural areas clinics, schools, hospitals, and other public institutions are in serious need of vehicles. Why not donate, rather give such vehicles to such institutions in need!
This Hichilema selling habit takes me back to assets declaration. He has refused to declare his assets and liabilities publicly. Hichilema may be aiming at selling state prosperities to businesses he has an interest in.
He claims he has already declared his assets and liabilities. If it is true, it shouldn’t be a problem to do it again. Finding it difficult to do it again makes Hichilema a suspect. Hence not fit to be a leader.
Adding to that, democracy is shrinking, inflation is back to double digits, cost of living is rising, caderism is back, freedom of expression is under attack, and political violence and harassment are back.
Would not finish if we started talking about these one by one. President Hichilema has failed terribly in all.
He managed to remove what most Zambians considered the cruelest government in Zambian history. It is a powerful legacy that accumulating failures have started overshadowing.
Resigning could save Hichilema. On top of that, it will be a fulfillment of a better Zambia that starts with a leader who is quick to admit failures. President Hakainde Hichilema should step down.