One day, a Tonga will rule Zambia, but certainly not the one that's aspiring now, says President Edgar Lungu.
And President Lungu says if the people of Southern Province don't stop sabotaging development projects, he will stop supporting the area and instead invest in Northern Province where people overwhelmingly voted for him.
Meanwhile, President Lungu says he believes Zambians will keep him around until 2026. Speaking to journalists in Livingstone yesterday, President Lungu said UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema would never be Head of State. He said this in a mixture of Tonga and English after a local journalist requested to interview him in Tonga.
"They told me to stop speaking Tonga because 'you don't know how to speak Tonga' and when I make a mistake, I say what I said the other time, they said I insulted…. We should unite because we are one… I love Tongas, even them they love me but only one man is messing up everything. Now you ask yourself, what's so special [about him]? We will one day have a Tonga President but certainly not the current aspirant," President Lungu said.
"It is not about tribe. It is about tribe, it is about who you are [and] character. Me I grew up with people from other tribes and I am a product of Zambia so don't worry about tribe? We are all Zambians, that's what matters."
And President Lungu said he would not allow Hichilema to sabotage development projects to fulfill his political ambitions when he was asked what the way forward was, as regards sabotage of power lines in Southern Province.
"The way forward is to ask them why they don't want development. Ask the chief in the area concerned, I think you are talking about Sikanta area, Dundumwezi, ask Edgar, honorable Edgar Singombe what is happening. I have got a report yes that a power supply line under construction through REA has been sabotaged and it is trending now on social media. Somebody just went and cut up the power poles because he is not happy. They are not happy that we are bringing development to the area and we hope the police will move in and arrest them because it is unacceptable that when we say 'we don't want to leave anybody behind, some people want to be left behind'. But I am told it is a political sabotage act, it is not an economic sabotage act but I am saying it is economic sabotage because whether you like it or not, I am in power, I am President and when I want to bring development across the country, all over the provinces, all over the districts, whether you stop tat development, you won't stop me from being President up to 2021 and I believe up to 2026 because I believe that's when I believe the Zambian people would have exhausted the potential that I have for them," President Lungu said.
"What has happened is people in the province are witnessing the development in the province. We are doing the roads, we are taking electricity to Kalomo, Dundumwezi to be specific, we are taking towers, connectivity to Dundumwezi but some people think that their political agenda's relevance will be eroded if we take development. Their message has been 'government has failed to bring development, don't vote for them, so they never voted for us and we are saying 'you never voted for us because we never brought development'. We are bringing development now, which is very good but they are saying 'don't bring development'. So I leave it to the church, Chief Chikanta, who I personally know and admire to stop this game because they are killing themselves. I am human and at the end of the day, I will say 'why don't I take development to Kasama where they voted for me overwhelmingly instead of wasting time on the people of Southern Province? One or two people who are politically inclined should not derail development in the region because it is a waste of tax payers' money."
He said he was upset that PF officials were not explaining development projects to the people.
"What is upsetting me, what is annoying me is PF is not speaking to tell the people of Southern Province to stop it because this is for their good. The provincial administration of government, the provincial minister are not speaking and then the MPs themselves, including honorable Edgar Singombe, who is a very good friend of mine, he is not raising questions on the floor of parliament. That's why they are there to speak out to say 'this is wrong, it shouldn't be done'. It is not in the interest of Edgar Lungu or HH or Edgar Singombe to deny people development on account of aspirations to form government or to go into State House. I think we all aspire for the wellbeing of our people but what I am seeing here is there is a very crude conspiracy to deny people development hoping that one would ride on that to get into State House and I think if that is what HH is up to, God forbid, I will not allow it. Either we will withdraw support from the province, take it elsewhere where people appreciate, or wait for such a time when they are ready to receive it because I think we all want to have an enlightened, developed and happy population. I don't like being upset, and no one likes being upset but I am upset that this is happening here," said President Lungu.
"Honestly speaking, these people mean no good to the people of Zambia because if they were in State House and they behaved like that, where would we be?"