HICHILEMA’S PRESS CONFERENCE EXPECTATIONS
Published On May 18, 2023 » 1692 Views» By Times Reporter » Features
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ON Thursday, April 27, 2023, exactly 21 days to the day, President Hakainde Hichilema publicly castigated some of his ministers and other senior Government officials for the sloppy execution of duties; he asked them to catalogue their work achievements since they were appointed in office.
This was during a Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) leadership workshop held at the Mulungushi International Centre in Lusaka.
Today, President Hichilema is scheduled to hold a Press conference at State House to address the nation on pertinent issues which, obviously, no ordinary citizens are privy to yet.
With that backdrop from the PDU workshop, the nation waits with bated breath, and can only speculate on the important matters he will be divulging and communicating during his interaction with the nation through the media.
Do we expect ministerial reshuffles,government officers being dismissed, or will he give us an insight about some of his senior officials having not changed for the better since the haranguing?
He stated at the time:“I’m tired of swearing in people. How many are we going to remove from positions because of their failure to deliver?”
Since Mr Hichilema assumed office in August 2021, he has not dismissed any one of his ministers.
In fact, he is yet to use a press conference to announce the dismissal or appointment of any ministers or any senior government official.
But if his serious tone at the PDU workshop is anything to go by, we will not be surprised if reshuffles and dismissals are part of the menu at today’s press conference.
Undoubtedly, the country needs committed leaders who are ready to tap into the vision of the president and effectively deliver to the expectation of the people and help President Hichilema deliver on his campaign promises.
ON Thursday, April 27, 2023, exactly 21 days to the day, President Hakainde Hichilema publicly castigated some of his ministers and other senior Government officials for the sloppy execution of duties; he asked them to catalogue their work achievements since they were appointed in office.
This was during a Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) leadership workshop held at the Mulungushi International Centre in Lusaka.
Today, President Hichilema is scheduled to hold a Press conference at State House to address the nation on pertinent issues which, obviously, no ordinary citizens are privy to yet.
With that backdrop from the PDU workshop, the nation waits with bated breath, and can only speculate on the important matters he will be divulging and communicating during his interaction with the nation through the media.
Do we expect ministerial reshuffles,government officers being dismissed, or will he give us an insight about some of his senior officials having not changed for the better since the haranguing?
He stated at the time:“I’m tired of swearing in people. How many are we going to remove from positions because of their failure to deliver?”
Since Mr Hichilema assumed office in August 2021, he has not dismissed any one of his ministers.
In fact, he is yet to use a press conference to announce the dismissal or appointment of any ministers or any senior government official.
But if his serious tone at the PDU workshop is anything to go by, we will not be surprised if reshuffles and dismissals are part of the menu at today’s press conference.
Undoubtedly, the country needs committed leaders who are ready to tap into the vision of the president and effectively deliver to the expectation of the people and help President Hichilema deliver on his campaign promises.
So to speculate and anticipate, what are some of the other critical issues that he may amplify and give more clarity on. What is it that has happened since he last spoke to the nation, that he may want to say
The President has before and after he assumed office been resolute and a proponent of prudent fiscal policy; that starts with the need to plug the leaking taps of our meagre resources and national cake, to ensure that unnecessary over expenditure is curbed and the discipline and prudent management of national resources is inculcated.
Recently, the issue of the purchase of expensive luxury SUVs, in particular, the now infamous Toyota VX Land Cruiser range of motor vehicles were purchased for some senior government and parastatal heads even after a Presidential directive to halt such imports.
This warning was echoed by Secretary to Cabinet Patrick Kangwa who ordered that the purchases of this range of vehicles made after the New Dawn government assumed office be handed back to the government. He promised that a thorough investigation would be instituted and perpetrators brought to book.
But then, the question which still begs is that who dare willfully ignores a presidential directive and goes ahead to commit the government to millions of dollars worth of luxury?
The President expressed shock that senior government officials wanted ride in brand new vehicles the government could ill afford to maintain due to their high fuel consumption and maintenance costs, when there were cheaper versions on the market whose running costs were lower.
There is no doubt that any government in the world needs an efficient mode of running its affairs, and comfortable and reliable transport is a prerequisite for good nationwide communication and provision of services
Perhaps the Zambian people may want to hear the entitlement of categories of officers and what particular engine size of vehicles they can purchase.
There is also no doubt that the PF regieme abused and wrote their own rules on what may have been prescribed government standing orders on such matters and the New Dawn is here to fix things.
For a country which is still in talks with external creditors for debt restructuring,
the leadership needs to show prudence and commitment to reduction of costs in the discharge of duties. It would be foolhardy for government to be seen to allow such irresponsible expenditure, when the majority of the people are struggling
Will there be more clarity today?
Debt restructuring is another highly anticipated item expected to be discussed at the press conference.
The Zambian people will be waiting on the edge of their chairs to hear from the head of state what glad tidings he brings from his economic travels.
Peharps that pretty soon, there can be a breakthrough in the talks that have taken longer than had been expected.
Of the total US$18 billion that Zambia owes to external creditors, US$5.5 billion is owed to China.
China being Zambia’s biggest single lender with 30 per cent of the total external debt portfolio, it is expected that Mr Hichilema will touch on the Zambia- China relations.
Parrying unnecessary speculation especially from the opposition that Zambia had isolated itself and was not engaging the far Eastern country, the President announced that he would soon be visiting Chin.He may most likely, mention exactly when that will happen.
The issue of food security is highly expected to be addressed, especially in the wake of the artificial maize and mealie meal shortages that recently rocked the nation and
of the reactions that followed the announcement that government would allow private entities to import mealie meal from South Africa to cushion the impact caused by the
smuggling of the commodity especially to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Malawi to mention but a few.
Going by the robust response which was taken to stabilize the availability of maize and Mealie-meal on the Zambian market, it remains clear that authorities at the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and the ministry of Agriculture averted a crisis that all the nay-sayers and the arm-chair critics were hoping would engulf the nation and God forbid, create a short cut to their aspirations to undeservedly sing their refrain of “you see, we told you that UPND will fail”
While the coast may not be completely clear, the worst has past and we may hear the President make a statement on the new purchase prices of maize which we may all know by now is pegged at K280. from K180. per 50 kilogramme bag of white maize.
Also expected to be discussed are the measures the government is putting in place
to ensure timely distribution of farming inputs to avoid the near shock experienced in
the last farming season.
NAPSA and all the goodness that it brings to the ordinary worker, current and retired just brings a smile to everybody’s faces,The liquidity that has been injected into the economy following the 20 per cent pre-retirement partial withdraws by NAPSA members is a must discussion point with the head of state.
The president had on many fora expressed concern about the rigidities faced by
citizens in accessing the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) but with most of the red tape cast away, true development has started trickling to the most poor and vulnerable, the citizens are getting their fair share of the national cake.
The citizens can at last make their own decisions on what they feel is most pertinent in their development.
We can only wait and hear what President Hakainde Hichilema presents when he engages with the people of Zambia today.

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