By SIMON MUNTEMBA
PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema’s speech for the official opening of the first session of the Thirteenth National Assembly was not only hollow but generic, the opposition have claimed.
However, UPND Alliance partner, Movement for Democratic Change president Felix Mutati said President Hichilema’s speech was inspiring.
Mr Mutati said it was worth noting that the speech was centred on how the country could achieve transformation of the economy anchored on unity and innovation.
He said what was also important is the emphasis by President Hichilema that the transformation would happen through the engagement of science and technology at the centre of transforming the economy, creating value and jobs.
Party of National Unity and Progress (PNUP) president Higvie Hamududu said the speech was generalised and did not address specific concerns.
Mr Hamududu said President Hichilema did not give specific policy direction on how his administration would improve the agriculture sector and reform the constitution.
“The speech remains generic and too long. He wasn’t specific on policy direction. For example, in agriculture he said he will improve FISP but improving FISP is not improving the agriculture sector. There was no clarity in his speech,” Mr Hamududu said.
Leader of the opposition Brian Mundubile said President Hichilema’s speech did not meet people’s expectations as he failed to give a clear roadmap on how he would end youth unemployment.
Mr Mundubile also said it was disappointing that President Hichilema shied away from re-affirming free education which he had promised during the campaign period.
He said there was no “fixing” in his speech as promised during campaigns.
“The President‘s speech fell below the people’s expectations. If you were to weigh the speech, you will agree with me that it was below the expectations of many Zambians. His campaign promises revolved around free education and tackling youth unemployment. But when you listen to his speech, he was apologetic in that now he began to categorise things. There is no clear roadmap on how he will end youth unemployment. He was speaking in generalities,” he said.
Mr Mundubile added, “There was no nothing new in the President’s speech. He has been promising people that ‘Bally will fix it,’ but there was no fixing in his speech.”
PF Parliamentary Chief Whip Stephen Kampyongo said quality education was not the same as free education that President Hichilema promised the Zambian people.
Mr Kampyongo said the parents and guardians were expecting the President to categorically reaffirmed the provision of free education from grade one to university.