Former finance minister Dr Katele Kalumba has revealed that late president Levy Mwanawasa decided not to prosecute UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema for personally benefiting from the privatisation programme in an attempt to get political support from Southern Province.
“Politics is a game of chance, as MMD with our leadership being president Levy Mwanawasa, he took a stance that he should not fight against any Southerner in order to get support from Southern Province,” Dr Kalumba revealed during Hot FM’s What’s Hot in the News programme today when asked to comment on the ongoing privatisation debate which has seen FDD leader Edith Nawakwi accusing Mr Hichilema of amassing ill gotten wealth.
He said the issue at stake was a question of whether or not there were any vested interests that were not declared by individuals involved in the privatization of public assets and that Mr Hichilema, therefore, needed to answer the question as to whether he declared interest or not.
“The simple issue at stake here is a question whether there are any vested interests that were not declared by individuals involved in the privatization of public assets. For instance, did Mr Hichilema have any interest at all in those that were buying state assets. And that did he or did he not declare those interests? That’s all, yes or no. simple question. I personally been through that process were Zambians required me to account. Say, did you steal a BMW from the office of the President? And I accounted and the courts of Law said no you didn’t. Did you spend 8,400 lavishly without responsibility, without accountability, and I have argued in the courts of Law. That 8,400 you are talking about got Zambians US$78million from the British government. The cocktail parties, the dinners that I was hosting for the British government, we got US$78million to repair Nkana smelter,” he said, and wondered why Mr Hichilema was having difficulties to explain the issues at hand.
Meanwhile, the former minister says privatization of national assets which happened in the MMD era was not just a good thing but was necessary and essential for Zambia to survive.
Dr Kalumba said the then government felt it was vital to liberalize the economy through privatization considering the fact that the country was economically going down and going down badly.
He said the country recorded progressive results following the privatization process.