Wednesday, February 04, 2009

HH asks for merit, not tribal vote

HH asks for merit, not tribal vote
Written by Patson Chilemba
Wednesday, February 04, 2009 11:12:57 AM

OPPOSITION UPND president Hakainde Hichilema yesterday said he does not want people to vote for him just because they speak Tonga. Addressing the press at the UPND secretariat, Hichilema said people should vote for him because they believed he could serve the nation better.

He said tribe should not be the underlying factor when it comes to choosing leaders. Hichilema said poverty affected all people regardless of tribe.

"I have declared publicly myself, I don't want anybody to vote for me because they speak Tonga, no. I want people to vote for Hakainde Hichilema because they believe we can serve the country better," Hichilema said. "But my challenge goes to every other leader to say that 'can you vote for a team that will run Zambia better'. I think let us take it up."

Hichilema said he was not frustrated at contesting and losing elections because he sought public office to serve people and not as a means to amass wealth.

He said Zambia needed new leadership because those who fought for independence could not be relied upon to guarantee economic freedom.

On the inclusion of FDD president Edith Nawakwi and MMD cadre Judith Banda Simuziya on President Rupiah Banda's entourage to the African Union (AU) summit, Hichilema said the government was using taxpayers' money to fly opposition leaders.

"I cannot do that, I can pay for my own flight," he said.

Hichilema further said the 2009 national budget was another missed opportunity on the fight against poverty.

On windfall tax, Hichilema said had the government realised early enough, more money could have been generated from the mines to the treasury.

Hichilema also said he had received acknowledgement from United States President Barack Obama over the congratulatory letter he wrote to the American President.

UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said the party had opened a new chapter in international relations in that the President of the most powerful country had indicated willingness to work with Hichilema.

During the same press briefing, John Ziba together with other 40 former Reform Party members announced that they had joined UPND.

Ziba said UPND may not be the perfect party, but members could contribute to correct the imperfections so that the party could be used to achieve the nation's development goals.

Ziba urged Zambians to look beyond tribe, age or economic status by placing their hope in quality leadership that was capable of delivering.



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