When campaigning for the Patriotic Front candidate in Katuba over the weekend, President Edgar Lungu told the voters there that the opposition UPND and its president Hakainde Hichilema cannot even build toilets for them there because that is the responsibility of the government.
In response, Hichilema hastily did a write up to counter what the Head of State had said in Katuba when he was campaigning for the PF candidate in the July 30 parliamentary by-election.
In the usual fashion, Mr Hichilema said: “We have taken note of the remarks attributed to Mr. Edgar Lungu, as quoted in the ‘News Diggers while campaigning in Katuba constituency parliamentary by-election. To say we should have been building toilets for the residents of Katuba and other places where we have our MPs is not only unfortunate but also immature and belittling, not only to the people of that constituency but to all Zambian citizens. For us in the UPND, politics is a noble and sacred service, which we respectfully hold, and we think this is not the kind of discourse our citizens should be subjected to from all of us in political leadership in our country.”
What Hichilema should have asked himself first is whether or not what President Lungu said was a lie. Is it not true that the provision of basic requirements in communities is the responsibility of the government? Isn’t it true that the UPND or Hichilema himself cannot provide these basic commodities as long as there is a functioning government in place? So what, then, was the issue with what the President said when it was a statement of fact?
The Patriotic Front has been in power for almost eight years, and in this period, the government under this party has been implementing a variety of projects across the country regardless of the people’s political affiliation. A good example is the Bottom Road in Southern Province, which had for many years been neglected. The area is largely opposition but the government under the Patriotic Front did not look at that aspect. It went on to allocate funds for the rehabilitation of this road much to the delight of the residents there.
Let’s get to the Kafue-Mazabuka road. We all know how bad this road had become and the danger it posed to the traveling public. The problem that this road brought to the traveling public affected the people in many ways – it became very difficult to conduct business because of the poor state of the road. The story today is totally different because the government mobilized resources to have it rehabilitated as a matter of urgency. Did they leave it to the UPND or Hichilema to undertake such a task?
So the attacks unleashed by Mr Hichilema following President Lungu’s statement in Katuba are somewhat lopsided and fail to look at things in the manner they should be. The provision of basic facilities is the responsibility of the government and that is exactly what the Head of State’s message was conveying to the people of Katuba.