Love him or loathe him, Hakainde Hichilema is a politician par excellence! At a time when the price of our staple food, mealie meal, has hit the glass ceiling and rocketing through the skies; many politicians would rather elect to remain holed up in the sanctuary of State House in order to shield themselves from criticism as opposed to subjecting themselves to scrutiny.
Now…….here’s a leader who has taken a risk and stepped out of his comfort zone and grabbed the bull by its horns and faced his people. Launching 10 days of activism to commemorate 2 years of the UPND in power, President Hichilema made a foray into Mandevu to spearhead community service – something which isn’t new to him, anyway!
Even as some residents of Mandevu took to the streets to register their displeasure by waving pockets of pamela (miniature packs of mealie meal) as his motorcade wound its way to Chipala Level 1 Hospital where he was scheduled for some assignments; the president and his entourage never took offence.
Recounting this encounter later on his Facebook page, the president had this to write, “This open and peaceful environment as a result of the restoration of the rule of law, allows for such apprehensions to be voiced freely and we appreciated that.”
Hichilema went on to assure the nation that such concerns have been taken into consideration; while his administration remains committed to resolving the issue of mealie meal by “ensuring farmers are incentivised to grow more maize.”
Of course, the rest of the programme went on as planned. The president put on his work clothes and proceeded to help clean around the premises in order to, “demonstrate the importance of a clean and hygienic environment in a health facility.” There after, the president officiated at the drilling of boreholes in Mpulungu and Kabanana wards; areas which have lacked water for a long time.
The president could not hesitate, but confess that he was delighted to learn from the medical staff about how the constituency development fund (CDF) has enhanced the hospital’s operations by providing equipment and improving infrastructure.
Not to be deterred by the cantankerous conduct of the rented mob in Mandevu, the president continued with his exploits in other parts of Lusaka. Next day, he stormed Lusaka Central! He graced an interactive forum with NIPA and Evelyn Hone College students at NIPA after which he committed to sink boreholes at the two institutions in order to ease the water blues. He further donated a bus to NIPA and K100, 000 to Evelyn Hone from his own savings!
In Munali constituency, he continued with his his mission of helping improve water supply within the city by drilling yet another borehole. While in Mtendere, he learnt about complaints regarding the poor state of the road network which he had experienced for himself and agreed with the urgent need to work on the same.
In the mean time, the president continues his tour of the remaining constituencies in the nation’s capital. What do we make of this?
It’s sad that as the president continues to reach out to the people, endeavouring to explain the policies of his party and undertake community work; some of his ministers and senior party officials continue to be hypnotized in deep slumber! Where’s the Information Minister to explain or defend government policies? What is the Agriculture Minister doing to assuage the concerns of the people regarding the astronomical price of mealie meal? Are the provincial ministers doing enough to go out there and keep our people in the loop regarding what government is doing to ameliorate the plight of our people? We can’t even say much about the UPND party secretariat as it is completely dislocated from the rank and file of the party.
Prince Bill M. Kaping’a