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Gideon Thole

UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) president, Hakainde Hichilema yesterday launched his 2011 presidential campaign in Ndola with a pledge to put in place the right tax regime, which would raise K20 trillion over a period of four years from the mining sector once elected as Republican president.

He said the aim of his campaign was to send the message of national unity and the attainment of economic and social independence.

Mr Hichilema, who addressed scores of party members from different parts of the Copperbelt at Shalom Park in Ndola yesterday, said his party had already worked out the manner in which the money needed to finance free education and health would be raised under the new tax regime which would be the first assignment for his government.

He said his party was determined to ensure that Zambia entered an equal partnership with foreign investors aimed at ensuring the wealth of the mining sector benefited ordinary Zambians.

“The mines are making a lot of money. We will introduce the copper bonus, mines-sponsored scholarships and the development of other sectors such as sports by 2011. These are the things the mines are required to do and they will have to do it,” he said.

He said his party was ready to work with any genuine investors, including the Chinese.

He challenged Zambians to work hard and stop blaming the Chinese for grabbing their jobs and investment opportunities.

He expressed hope that he would gain more votes than the 26 per cent after 45 days campaign during last tripartite elections.

Mr Hichilema said the UPND leadership resolved to launch the 2011 presidential election campaign now in order to ensure that the party had enough time to reach out to as many people as possible before the actual voting day.

He said that during the last tripartite elections, his party only had 45 days in which to campaign to the electorate.

“The election is not an event. It is a process, Zambia is too big, we have to cover a total of 750,000 square kilometres. Our message to the electorate is clear. We want to ensure that economic and social independence is realised,” he said.

Mr Hichilema said he decided to launch his presidential campaign on the Copperbelt because the region was not only key to the country in the electoral process but the citizens in the province were also the most affected by the results of the last elections.

He said his party was determined to ensure that there was effective utilisation of the mineral resources on the Copperbelt and the North-Western provinces.

Mr Hichilema also attended a Church service at Masala Baptist Church before he addressed party members from different parts of the Copperbelt at a meeting at Shalom Park in Kansenshi residential area.

Source: The Times of Zambia (Ndola)

9 June 2008
Posted to the web 9 June 2008