Opposition Democratic Party President Harry Kalaba has said that it is not a good idea to have a businessman as the republic president.
Mr. Kalaba has further accused President Hakainde Hichilema of loving rich foreigners at the expense of the suffering majority Zambians.
Featuring on a UNZA Radio Programme on Wednesday, Mr. Kalaba made reference to the ongoing Mining Indaba and the January, 2022 trip President Hichilema made to South Africa to attend a book launch organised by the Brenthurst Foundation.
He said Mr. Hichilema is a capitalist head of state that prioritises the interests of rich foreigners.
“Also his biggest attribute is that he likes foreigners more than he likes Zambians because clearly you can see that so far the decisions he has made are pro-foreigners as opposed to his own Zambian people. Why should a president be so, why should he be in the forefront to say the mines are not willing to pay the mineral loyalty tax because then they are going to leave Zambia? Let them go. Let them go. So what if they go? Others will come. In Tanzania, president Magufuli (late Tanzania President) was also faced with a similar challenge where he was threatened by mines that if you don’t do this, if you increase that we are going. The president’s worry must be job creation for our people. My job as president is to worry about the quality of jobs I am giving out to Zambians. That should be a worry but today we don’t have anybody. Nobody is talking for workers today,” Mr. Kalaba said.
“As we agree on the positives (in the New Dawn administration), what is wrong with also accepting that this country is being given in the hands of foreigners? What is wrong with that? It is a fact that President Hakainde Hichilema is a capitalist president. He is one that would look at where profits for only his colleagues, friends and himself will come out and not for the ordinary Zambians. That is also a fact. So we should also agree as it is being put,” he added.
Mr. Kalaba added: “I think you people in the press should begin asking the president. What is so special with this Brenthurst Foundation or trust? What is so special about it? Why is it that they can call our president to say we are launching a book and the president will drop everything in the country and rush to go where Brenthurst Foundation is? Your own president would abandon you here and go to where The Brenthurst Foundation is. That is why having a businessman as the president is not a good idea. Mufwaikwa abantu abapala ngaine. For me I will not accept that somebody because he has got more capital is going to dictate terms of reference.”
“The ones who should dictate the terms of reference are the people who voted for the president. Not those people who are going to open ama books every day, going to launch those books. The other day they organised an indaba (Mining Indaba in South Africa) . He even fails to sleep, he is there already and I think even before the president of that country arrived he had already arrived there and I think it is taking away from us. He is in too much of a hurry to please the rich people. He is too much in a hurry to be one of them and doesn’t want to be part of the suffering majority,” he said.
Mr. Kalaba further pledged to continue providing objective checks and balances to the people in government.
“I think we have pulled each other down enough. The politics that were played in the past of refusing anything your friend does as being rude, were toxic. I think we have entered a realm, a phase in our political journey where we should be able to say this is correct and so for me Harry Kalaba would continue getting relevant. I will continue being around,” he said.
Mr. Kalaba said he would stick with the DP and contest future elections as president.
“The Bible says he who puts his hand on the plough and looks back, is not fit for the kingdom. Once you start something, ensure that you take it to its logical conclusion. Therefore, for me as long as God gives me good health and life I am standing for elections in 2026 and I am hoping to win. If I don’t win we will wait for 2031. If good will gives us life and health we will stand in 2031. If we will not win we will wait for 2036 until that time comes. For now we will stand with Zambia and ensure that those who have got power, those who are in corridors of authority today should know that they don’t have a blank cheque. They will be held accountable to every turn. They must see that we are not going to joke with them,” Mr. Kalaba said.