Zambia: Nawakwi Shines At Presidential Debate

FDD president Edith Nawakwi had UPND leader HakaindeHichilema in the corner during the presidential debate held at Mulungushi International Conference Centre that attracted participation from five of the nine presidential candidates contesting next week’s elections.

Notably absent was the Patriotic Front leader Edgar Lungu who is away in Eastern Province campaigning with his UNIP counterpart Tilyenji Kaunda also opting out.

Others present were Rainbow Party’s WynterKabimba, Peter Sinkamba of the Green Party and United Progressive Party candidate SaviourChishimba.

Nawakwi commandingly espoused her party’s decentralization philosophy whilst occasionally wittily taking a dig at her right hand neighbourHichilema as she repeatedly shot down his “I will fix it mantra”.

While Hichilema propagated that the water problem could be solved by prudent management of resources, Nawakwi said before someone graduated to management they would have to deal with sanitation at most basic level in areas like Chipulukusu and Chibolya.

“Even with someone saying you need proper management skills but before you start talking about management you have to fix the housing and sanitation problem first,” she said.

Nawakwi said that Zambians should never believe in the benevolence of leaders if it were to deal with corruption as the constitution was so flawed anyone could fall prey to the trappings of corruption.

“Sorry to say this I think with the kind of constitution we have, even if Jesus were to come down he would be corrupt because you deposit so much power in an individual,” she said.

Nawakwi was not having Hichilema have a free ride and dug at him when he said for a broken economy there was need to look at an economic manager.

Hichilema said, “If your car is broken, you take it to the mechanic who knows what to do. You take it to proper garage and if your economy is broken you look for someone who understands the economy to fix it.”

But Nawakwi hit back saying, “Sometimes you can take your car to a garage which has no spares so how do you fix your problem?”

Nawakwi warned against treating youth problem in a straight jacket fashion advising that they should be categorized.

“Talking about youths they are not homogenous, there are youth who are educated and lack jobs and those who are on the streets,” she said.

Nawakwi said that people should guard against seeing agriculture as just maize.

And Hichilema said if he had illegally profited from privatization he would have been jailed.

“The privatization story is a broken record. If I had profited I would have been in jail,” he said.

Hichilema said the economy had been shrinking from a growth rate of 7% to 3% with a huge external debt.

“You can’t grow an economy in reverse, maybe that is why there is the slogan Dununa Reverse. It’s about taking the country backwards,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kabimba said the country should not keep faith in IMF and World Bank sponsored programs.

“Tell me anywhere in the 54 African countries where the IMF went and that country is rich?” he said.

Kabimba said the problems the country was having were rooted in a flawed development model.

He said that only socialism would save the country from destruction.

Kabimba said under his government it would be wrong for any government minister and president to receive any gift as that promoted corruption.

Green Party leader Peter Sinkamba kept the audience cackling as he said marijuana was the panacea of all the economic problems the country was facing.

UPP leader Chishimba said he would abolish the Road Development Agency and replace it with the department of works.

Source: Zambia Reports.