Agriculture Minister Emmanuel Chenda should resign because he has failed to manage the crisis facing farmers and for bringing about mealie meal shortages currently facing in many parts of the country, UPND Copperbelt Chairperson Elisha Matambo has said.
And Mr Matambo has challenged President Michael Sata to visit the Copperbelt and see for himself how mealie meal shortages have affected the people that gave him an overwhelming vote, and propelled him to victory.
He said President should act the way he over the water crisis at University Teaching Hospital (UTH) which suspended some operations due to lack of water.
Mr Matambo said the Mealie meal crisis on the province was getting worse as some retailers had taken advantage of the situation and had hiked the selling price for the commodity.
The opposition leader said as things were it was only prudent for the Agriculture Minister Mr Chenda to resign from his ministerial position because he has failed the Zambian people.
He said by yesterday the whole Luanshya had no mealie meal except for one shop in Mikonfwa which had a few bags being sold at K55,000 while elsewhere in the province the commodity was being sold at K60,000 and above where it was available..
Mr Matambo said Mr Chenda has not done a good job and that was why there was this crisis in the nation, in addition to his failure to ensure that all farmers were paid on time for crops sold to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
“Mr Chenda and his government have no plan. Why is there a shortage of mealie meal if they planned well? Mr Sata must come and see what is happening on the Copperbelt where he got the maximum vote.
“The accusation that opposition political parties were creating the crisis is unfounded because it’s not the opposition that controls the millers, it is government of the day which has connections with the millers,” he said
Mr Matambo said UPND was not going to accept a situation where people queued for the essential commodity like in the UNIP days.
He said as an opposition party that believed in the well being of the Zambian people, it was convinced that what former Finance Minister Katele Kalumba said that Mr Sata was taking over from where Dr Kaunda had left, was true.
“It is true Sata and Chenda are taking over from where Kaunda had left when Zambians were queuing for essentials commodities,
“This is exactly what Katele Kalumba meant and he should not be misunderstood. We are saying no to this type of governance because the welfare of Zambians is being taken for granted.”
He said Mr Chenda appeared reluctant to resolve the issues that were directly affecting his ministry. Farmers have not yet been paid their dues and the minister was just watching the situation get worse.