Tasila Lungu punches into HH’s Ten Points Plan

Tasila Lungu (r) with PF Supporters during a match past

Tasila Lungu (r) with PF Supporters during a match past

Tasila Lungu, daughter to incumbent president Edgar Lungu has continued to challenge leader of the main opposition Hakainde Hichilema on his campaign messages ahead of the August elections.

Tasila is contesting as councilor in one of the wards in her father’s former constituency Chawama, in the Zambian capital. This time she has raised questions on Hichilema or HH’s 10 Point Plan where his campaign message for next month’s election is anchored.

“In his ten points he talks about creating opportunities. Again here he has chosen to remain vague about everything hoping Zambians will not ask questions. Let me explain to him what the PF government is doing,” Tasila says as she goes on to explain what his father’s government is doing.

HH

HH

On free education campaign message by HH, Tasila says; “If Mr. Hichilema was really serious with running for Presidency and offering free education, he should have invested in developing a paper which maps the education sector to determine: how many learners are in school, how many are not in schools, how many schools and universities we need to ensure everyone is in school, how many more teachers and lectures we need to employ in the current and new schools and universities, how many learning and teaching materials we need to ensure that all these schools and universities are fully equipped to provide high quality education, how much we need to give to the schools and universities in terms of grants to ensure students learn for free.
All these things have to be costed and then a clear strategy for raising funds developed. This is the easiest way to convince Zambians he really knows what he is talking about. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know a single thing about all these things I have listed. These are the questions I will ask him should he avail himself for our much publicized debate.”

HH has stated that among other things he will do to raise funds to finance free education is cutting on wasteful expenditure. He says education is not cost but an investment which government should spend money on.

President Lungu with his daughter Tasila

President Lungu with his daughter Tasila

Below is a full statement by Tasila Lungu:

Let me clarify that I am not challenging Mr. Hichilema for a live debate as a daughter to the President but I am doing so as a young, vibrant and focused politician. Age in politics is just a number. I am contesting this year’s election, hence it is my duty to challenge politicians who are deceiving Zambians regardless of their age.
As young people we have to rise and actively participate in the development of our nation. When we are discussing matters related to national development we don’t have to gross over them and trivialize them the way UPND and Mr. Hichilema have been doing. In this day and age we expect people who want to run the country to be very serious and provide detailed plans of what they want to do. This simplistic approach of wanting to run the country on the basis of ten vague and misconceived points is unfortunate.
Mr. Hichilema does not fully understand how an economy functions. His key campaign message is to offer free education from grade one to university and create opportunities for citizens. When you listen to him gross over issues you would understand that he doesn’t really know what he talks about. He says he wants to offer free education and yet he doesn’t even know what needs to be done to get to the point where people can access free education. He doesn’t know how much free education will cost. He thinks free education is simply announcing that all schools should stop charging fees.
He has been very loud in condemning the current government for investing heavily in constructing schools and universities. What he doesn’t understand is that when education is free no one should be denied of accessing it but virtue of distance or lack of student places. The first steps to making education accessible to all is to increase the current number of primary schools, secondary schools and universities. How do you say you want to make education accessible to all with only two public universities and condemn those increasing the number of universities as lacking priorities? How can you promise to pay for something whose cost you don’t even know?
If Mr. Hichilema was really serious with running for Presidency and offering free education, he should have invested in developing a paper which maps the education sector to determine: how many learners are in school, how many are not in schools, how many schools and universities we need to ensure everyone is in school, how many more teachers and lectures we need to employ in the current and new schools and universities, how many learning and teaching materials we need to ensure that all these schools and universities are fully equipped to provide high quality education, how much we need to give to the schools and universities in terms of grants to ensure students learn for free.
All these things have to be costed and then a clear strategy for raising funds developed. This is the easiest way to convince Zambians he really knows what he is talking about. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know a single thing about all these things I have listed. These are the questions I will ask him should he avail himself for our much publicized debate.
In his ten points he talks about creating opportunities. Again here he has chosen to remain vague about everything hoping Zambians will not ask questions. Let me explain to him what the PF government is doing. The structure of government is undergoing transformation to match the current needs of development. Most of the ministries and government departments we have were created after independence to address needs at that time.

Tasila Lungu

Tasila Lungu

Things have changed and we are changing and upgrading to suit the current needs. The PF government has done thorough consultations on the new composition of government ministries and departments. The ministry of education has been split because we want to align the ministry of higher education to addressing the needs of industry while general education will focus on building strong and solid foundations for leaners. The Ministry of Finance and National Planning has been split because we want to strengthen national planning, monitoring and evaluation. We want all programmes and projects being implemented in the country to feed into the short, medium and long term plans with clear and measurable results. The Central Statistics Office is being strengthened at national, provincial and district levels and will fall under the Ministry of National Planning to ensure that information being collected meets the minimum standards of – validity, accuracy, precision, completeness and timeliness – so that it can be used in development planning. This will include labour statistics and other new important performance indicators.
Most importantly, some ministries will be merged while one new key ministry will be created to give direction and focus in terms of creating opportunities for citizens. This will be called Ministry of Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurial Development (MEEED). Zambia has a lot of isolated economic empowerment initiatives littered across ministries. These are so detached from each other posing a serious challenge in terms of exploiting benefits of integrated value chains development. All the empowerment funds and initiatives focusing on different targets groups will fall under this ministry to ensure that individuals at different levels of the value chain are supported. We are funding production of cotton seed, farmers growing cotton, companies selling chemicals required in cotton production, ginning plants buying cotton from farmers, factories and spinning companies creating fabrics using cotton from ginning plants, and companies producing clothes using fabrics from factories. Supporting all levels of the value chain will ensure ready market as a product at a lower level of the chain is used as an input at a higher level of the same chain. This will in turn improve loan repayment, create jobs and speed up economic diversification.
This done in 20 value chains will create both vertical and horizontal integration within and across value chains. This will significantly cut down on imports while boosting exports thereby tilting the balance of trade in our favour and bringing lasting stability to our currency. This is already happening. Investments are being made. Empowerment funds are being harmonised, new industries are being opened; except you can’t do all this today and expect results tomorrow like Mr. Hichilema puts it.
Bring him on for the debate. I cannot wait to face him. If it is possible, let us debate each sector thoroughly. He should also prepare documents to back his claims. We in the Patriotic Front are way above politics of rhetoric. Zambians deserve a better opposition. A strong opposition whose checks and balances are supported by well researched arguments is important for development. On the contrary, an opposition whose checks and balances are premised on lies aimed at wrestling power from the ruling party is retrogressive and detrimental for our development as a Nation.

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