Saturday, June 23, 2012
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe in Rio Janeiro, Brazil
Sat 23 June 2012, 13:25 CAT
HAKAINDE Hichilema is an unstable politician who is not serious enough to deserve my attention, says Forum for Democracy and Development president Edith Nawakwi. And Nawakwi described Hichilema as a kadansa and that he has run down the once vibrant UPND.
Reacting to Hichilema's attacks on her for being part of the Zambian delegation to the Rio+20 - the United Nation's organised conference which is the biggest summit on sustainable development, Nawakwi (left) said she believed her expertise in the field of energy was crucial to Zambia during the meeting.
"I am a mature politician and if the UN is setting an agenda for the next 20 years - an agenda that will live beyond Patriotic Front, and I am a politician aiming to be head of State, I want to be involved in the crafting of world policies that will affect the world for the next 20 years," Nawakwi said.
"It is good training if you find a head of State who think that the opposition are part of government."
Nawakwi said she would not be drawn in discussing petty politics which did not help in improving lives of ordinary Zambians.
"I do not believe that this kind of altercation that people are going through is necessary but they have their own position and I am proud that I have been part of this process," she said.
"If you are talking about becoming a leader in 10, five years' time, you need to know what the world is thinking about the green economy and how we can eradicate poverty. As a country, we go through elections. The next election is in five years, we cannot wait to advise the president in 2016. We need to sit with the President to find out if he is having difficulties and how we can assist better the outcome of whatever policies he is implementing. As opposition, we don't have the mechanism to influence the decisions of government. If we keep ourselves away when we are called to serve, I don't want to engage in this odious debate. There is a debate about people looking for jobs; you will be the first one to defend me that I am a very stable politician. I am very well-exposed and I appreciate this gesture and it gives you a different perspective; if a head of State steps out of his box to try and offer the opportunity for the many people whom he thinks are able to contribute."
Nawakwi said it was regrettable that Hichilema launched a personal attack on her and Elias Chipimo Jr, accusing them of failing to run their political parties when there was evidence to show that Hichilema had rundown the once vibrant UPND.
"Some of my colleagues who are talking have been in UDA 2006 failed alliance of FDD, UPND and UNIP with us before; they didn't complain. They were not looking for jobs. They moved from us and went and formed an alliance with PF, they left the pact, and they went to form another pact with MMD. They have been moving around with great sense of instability," she said.
"That is clearly very narrow thinking because the same leaders who are complaining, why are they in the opposition? It is to form government. They want to be presidents and why do they want to be presidents? Some of them say I just want to serve you; but we will pay them a salary. They are with people who have been on previous trips with previous governments…The Zambian people will judge."
She advised Hichilema to do an introspection and quench his anger over President Sata's victory.
"On a very personal note, I don't know why Hakainde is so bitter. He needs to be advised to calm down and see things in an objective way. Every time he is talking, it's bitterness. I don't understand," she said.
"When he couldn't go through in 2006, he said it was because I didn't campaign for him; he left the pact and now, he is very, very bitter and I personally feel so sorry for him because leadership is about accepting your situation. He's been looking for pacts here and there. Why? Because he has failed to run his party and that is why he looks for pacts. We don't look for pacts."
Nawakwi said President Sata needed the support of the country and to be criticised where it was necessary.
"He Hichilema knows I am his elder sister. I think he is not serious. I feel sorry for him because he has lost a lot of chances to contribute to this country. You will recall that he was with us; he just came and said he was better qualified, late president Levy Mwanawasa tried to persuade him to work with him but he refused, he said MMD ni chimbusu, but now he is in bed with the MMD," she said.
"That shows a lot of instability. I feel sorry for him. He was the first one to make a pact with MMD without even his party approving and he was the first one to walk out and chastises PF. That shows a very high level of immaturity and instability and I am a much more mature politician than he is. President Michael Sata came on the popularity of change; people gave him a mandate and we have no right to think that we shouldn't support him, because not supporting him - I am not talking about getting a job - support the policies that the people put him there for. Let President Sata fail on his own and the people will tell him, he has failed."
Nawakwi advised Hichilema to build an agenda to market himself to the Zambian people.
"Let us not criticise even where there is no need for criticism," Nawakwi said.
"From day one when the President went into office, the criticism started from Hakainde and that's why I am quiet. This is the only election other than 1991 when the people gave someone overwhelming majority. You sit and watch what they are doing because the people have a reason for selecting one out of 10 to go to State House; it is not electioneering every night, every day. There is a myth in Zambia that the louder you talk, then you get known by the people! In fact, the more you talk, the worse off you are these days in Zambia because people will see that you have no agenda. We as politician have no agenda, so, every morning people look at the paper to say 'what is latest?' and that become the political agenda for that day."
She said attending such a high-level dialogue meeting which drew about 104 heads of state and governments' and 50,000 delegates could not be classified as worst of time by a serious politician.
"You mean the Prime Minister of Australia who is here has nothing to do? You mean she doesn't have a country to run? The French President Francois Hollande is here…Hu Jintao has no country and Communist Party to run? Can you imagine that kind of myopic and childish thinking! It's only someone who has been taken from a technical job and given a position on a silver platter, a party to run, who can be thinking like that. Don't draw me into these debates. His view is that if he yaps too much, then he can easily unseat the President. But you reporters must tell him the people of Zambia gave the mandate to one person. The next time we are having elections is 2016; it doesn't matter how hard we shout, even standing on top of FINDECO House, the people of Zambia are not ready for an election and the mandate given to President Sata by the Zambians is still on. Hakainde is rewinding like a reel."
"HH is not a politician. He will say the same thing one million times and he doesn't even sound any better or worse. I actually feel sorry for him. Our level of education has deteriorated to a level where even people who have gone inside of a classroom like HH have come out schooled but not educated. All I can say is that he is the new Kadansa. President Sata is president until 2016 and no matter how much I criticise him, he has the instruments of power. In the meantime, the people who are suffering are the children, the youths and the children. It is important that we give the President unfettered advice, fully knowing that this is genuine advice. Zambia can only be developed by Zambians."
And Nawakwi said although the Rio+20 conference did not meet the key aspirations of developing countries - achieving funding for environmental sustainability development initiatives - the outcome provided a bedrock for future engagements.
She said there was need for Zambians to take advantage of the ongoing constitution-making process to ensure rights that facilitated the achievement of sustainable economic development and poverty alleviation were prioritised.
"Unfortunately, in Zambia we dwell on trivialities. If we can put water as a right in the UN documents, then sure that is what we are putting in our proposed draft constitution," she said.
"That is what we are saying that people must have justiceable rights to water, education…it is good to leave a home environment and come an gear where people are saying 'we need to have more women in politics'. In the UN itself, there are departments truly it is said we want 50-50 per cent representation. Unless you provide for equality, equitable socio-political development, you will not be able to achieve the green economy. So, what the Rio+20 meeting has been focusing on is how we can galvanise our women to participate fully in the economic development of the world, taking into account of practices and technologies that want to uplift the social and economic status of women while taking care of the environment," said Nawakwi.