By NATION REPORTER
UPND president Hakainde Hichilema yesterday hobbled and mumbled when put on the spot to justify his claims that Government has sold the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO) to a Chinese firm.
On Friday last week, Mr. Hichilema told Sun FM that ZAFFICO had been sold to a Chinese company while Government was disguising that the corporation was only being listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE).
But when pressed yesterday during the Hot FM programme to substantiate his claim by providing evidence that ZAFFICO had indeed been sold to a Chinese company, Mr. Hichilema skirted around the topic but instead insisted he did not incite the riots on the Copperbelt over the matter.
Hot FM played an excerpt from FM interview (HH speaking in Bemba) as reproduced here and based their questioning on this.
Ifya ZAFFICO nomba. Fiya fine bashitishe ZNBC nabashitisha ZAFFICO nombaline tulelanda naba shitisha ZAFFICO kuma Chinese. Twakana mukwai, we are going to reverse those decisions when we come in.
Hope: And yesterday on the show we did speak to the Copperbelt Province Minister Japhen Mwakalombe who stated that you went on an interview, should have been Sky Fm which he mentioned and you did state on that interview that ZAFFICO has been sold and in a way that led to the riots that took place on the Copperbelt so what we do have, we played the tape earlier on and after listening to that interview, you did clearly state that ZAFFICO has been sold to the Chinese. What is your take on that?
HH: I did not incite anybody to riot. It is very clear. My position is that I incited nobody to riot. What is true is that citizens are aware of what is going on around the country. They are aware of the ZNBC situation. You know that Media houses now are being asked to pay huge amounts those who are on Topstar in order to cover the ZNBC loan which they obtained from Star Times related to digital migration. It is common knowledge what is going on in the country. Hakainde does not incite anybody. I don’t incite anybody.
Hope: So where did you get the evidence that Zaffico has been sold? Because government is stating that it has not been sold, they explain what their intentions are but you went state on that interview that it has been sold to the Chinese
HH: I did not incite anybody. You probably misleading yourself. Even you as a journalist. I did not incite anybody at all.
Hope: But then again, we just want to find out the evidence that you have because you went on as a leader to state that said it has been sold to the Chinese nationals.
HH: I did not incite anybody at all. Zambians are aware of what is going on in the country. They are aware of the ZNBC situation, they are aware of the NRDC situation, they are aware of basically the Road contracts where a road like Lusaka – Ndola is supposed to cost no more than $500 million is costing $1.2 billion. The citizens are aware that there is a problem in the country. Nobody has to incite the citizens. What we need to do, what we need to do..
Hope: Now Mr Hichilema sorry, not to cut you short, but if you could just stick to the ZAFFICO issue now.
HH: What we need to do is to find solutions in the country, and we must all share views on how to solve problems in the country. Blaming Hakainde for delayed rains, for the fall of the Kwacha against the dollar, blaming Hakainde for University students situation, blaming Hakainde for everything is not the solution to the problem, we must find solution.
Mr.Hichilema we are trying to get something out of you here, you did state on that interview that ZAFFICO has been sold to Chinese nationals, so we would love to find out from you, you are a leader with a huge following where you got the information that ZAFFICO has been sold and the facts that you have with regard to that?
Well you had Mwakalombe on that radio yesterday and he said I was inciting people and I am saying I did not incite people,
HOPE … in as much as you did not incite the riots we hear you there, but we just want to find out from you where you got that information and just where you’re getting the facts? Because you are a leader and you do know people react differently to such information and that is the reason why they started rioting. You did go on that interview and state that ZAFFICO ….but we have the clip we have listened to the clip where you are stating that ZAFFICO has been sold to Chinese nationals and by saying so we do believe you are a leader and you do have your facts right and that’s what we want to get out of you.
Well why don’t you talk less, you have put me on radio so that I can answer your question,
But you haven’t answered the question that’s why I keep going back to it
Then it means you have a pre-determined position and it will not help. The point I’m making is that I did not incite anybody
And we have heard you there.
If you check the social media, first and foremost, not that that is the reason right, if you check the social media before I went on Sun Fm there were already issues in ZAFFICO there, you should check your facts, and this is why we need an intelligence system that is operational , that is being used, which the state must use the intelligence system properly, there were issues in Zaffico already, before I went on Sun Fm just check your record. So you cant say that I incited people about ZAFFICO, I did not incite people
NO NO WE HAVE NOT told you that you incited anyone and I only had one question for you which you have not responded to
Well look, because you keep on ranting there, you want to say what you want to say. You want to impose views on me. I am saying to you, before you asked me the question, you put me on the programme, I was listening, when you were saying that leaders and people like others must not say things that incite
… which is very true. But then again as we wrap up you did state on that interview, you did state
Why did you emphasise on inciting instead of sharing the basic information and asking the basic question. You are running a programme there and you are insisting on inciting?
We called you for the sake of balancing up our programme, we did hear from Copperbelt Province Minister Japhet Mwakalombe who stated that you went on an interview stating that ZAFFICO has been sold, we listened to the interview and the interview is very clear with you stating that ZAFFICO had been sold to Chinese nationals, and because we respect you as a leader we decided to call so that you can clarify that and give us the information that you have with regards to the sale of ZAFFICO to Chinese Nationals.
The point I’m making, I Heard your question loud and clear, the point I’m making to you is that nobody needs to incite anybody. Your emphasis of the programme, I have been listening to the programme, Im listening to you, before you even called me I was listening, and you kept on running a commentary to yourselves, articulating the inciting, as though it is true I incited, that’s why I am emphatic that I did not incite anybody. Citizens know what is going on in their country, they don’t need you or anyone to incite anybody. Everybody knows what is going on in the country, and you cannot now emphasise as a radio station, run a programme where you’re insisting that leaders should stop inciting. I’m not inciting anybody.
Look the rains are late ……
Mr. Hichilema you have not responded to … I only had one question for you and you still have not responded. Otherwise in wrapping up is there anything else that you would love to add on?
Well please do not run stories that you hear from one angle. It is important we also do research around the country
And that is the reason why we called you so that we get your angle but you have not responded
Can we have a conversation ha ha ha ….. you are running a radio programme, listeners are listening they want to hear from others as well. Everything goes wrong in this country, every PF leader picks up the message that HH is inciting citizens, HH is to blame on this. This is not the correct way of running the country. You can’t keep on blaming someone for things they have no power over. I have no power over inciting anyone to riot at ZAFFICO. Those issues were as they ……
In wrapping up so why did you state in that radio interview that ZAFFICO had been sold to Chinese nationals
Madam, madam carry your opinion, you seem to be
It is not my opinion it is a statement that you went on to say and we do believe that as a leader when you say ZAFFICO has been sold to Chinese nationals you do have your facts right.
If you want to listen to me I’m giving you my opinion, I did not incite anybody as Mwakalombe put it there and that shouldn’t be the factor of discussion , you should not interrogate me on that matter you should hear my opinion and then take it or leave it.
Mr Hichilema thank you so much your time.
Please carry a positive attitude rather than a negative attitude.