Patriotic Front (PF) deputy spokesperson Frank Bwalya says the UPND should stop spreading falsehoods about Hakainde Hichilema’s condition at Mukobeko Maximum Prison.
And Bwalya says donors will not withdraw aid to Zambia because it would be outrageous and senseless to do so.
Meanwhile, Bwalya says PF is a party which takes criticism and “hot heads” within the who divert from this must be denounced.
Speaking when he featured on One Love Radio’s The Neighborhood programme today, Bwalya said the UPND should stop spreading falsehoods about the condition of HH.
“What we should do, moving forward as a country is to revisit the values on which this country is founded…we need to make an effort to ensure that we do not destroy the integrity of our state institutions including the police, the judiciary and so on. What I mean is that even a straightforward case, some people want to politicize it, they want to blame the police for moving the suspect from here to there, spreading false information that they were beaten up, no no no, I think it is time that we became honest with one another,” Bwalya said.
“Yes if we have a complaint, let us have a complaint but let us be honest as we project that complaint or problem so that the authorities responsible can work on it that this thing of saying, no take up arms, do something, it has never worked anywhere. Let us look at what is happening in countries where violence was used to remove a leader, where violence was used to secure the release of somebody, violence begets violence and at the end of the day, we all get caught up in that violence and it will not benefit anyone. So it is time to dialogue, it is time to respect one another and it is time to acknowledge that there is a government in place, we have a constitution and we have institutions that are intact and maintain their integrity. These institutions should be allowed to do their work.”
Bwalya also said Zambians should not allow tribal conflict to escalate to a level where it degenerates into chaos.
And Bwalya said donors could not withdraw aid because there was no dictatorship in Zambia.
“There is no dictatorship in Zambia. There are some leaders in this country who have always wanted Zambians to suffer because they think that when Zambians suffer, they will get down on their knees and they will make a decision that they have refused to make in the past. They think that when Zambians suffer, they are going to vote for somebody they would rather not vote for. This will never happen. The development partners that they are calling upon to withdraw support for Zambia are not going to do it. They know what a dictator looks like and this is why those of you who are attentive, you are going to hear every now and then the Chinese government, they are also a development partner, giving Zambia so much, the America government, they are also a development partner, giving Zambia so much. And these development partners, no one should be misled to think that they give money to President Lungu to do what he wants with that money. That is not how development assistance works, that is not how it works,” Bwalya said.
“You would find that maybe 99.9 per cent of the money that comes into Zambia from development partners does not come as hard cash going to government coffers so that government can decide to use it to intimidate that one and that one, no, things do not work like that. You find that the Japanese government would come, go through the industrial area in this country and discover that the roads are very bad, the government is doing a lot to improve the economy and so on but they just do not have the money to do the roads in the industrial area because it is a poor country, then they offer to say we are going to do the roads here. Why are they doing that? Because they have seen a government that is making an effort to develop the country but they just have the capacity to do everything so they come in to support.”
Bwalya said none of the donors had announced intentions to withdraw aid because it would be outrageous and senseless.
“The American government has not announced any intentions to stop supporting Zambia in that manner, the British, the European Union, none of them has made such an announcement. It would be outrageous, it would be senseless and these are people who think. And the other thing we should not forget is that these people are resident in Zambia. When you talk about the European Union, they are not in Europe no, they are right here. When you talk about America, they are not away, America is here. That embassy they have there is the same as America in Zambia. So they know what is going on and the level at which people want to project what they are calling political tension in Zambia is not what they understand. Yes, some Americans who are back there in America, it could even be a Zambian who has settled there for a long time and maybe supports a particular political party and they are given an opportunity to be on Voice of America, they are going to be speaking things that are out of this world but those who are informed disagree with them,” he said.
“At the end of the day, if such support was withdrawn, it would be the ordinary people to suffer including their families; they would not be insulated from this.”
Meanwhile, Bwalya said PF welcomed criticism.
“As leaders, we have the duty to ensure that when criticism is leveled against our party, against government policies or a project such as e-voucher, that we listen. And this has been the attitude of President Lungu. You remember when the Archbishop Mpundu of Lusaka who is also the president of bishops when he issued that statement, you remember very well how government responded through the chief government spokesperson and the subsequent statements so what The Mast has reported today that Archbishop Mpundu talked about being afraid and that PF hired guns and people tried to intimidate the bishop and so on, it is not the style of PF,” Bwalya said.
“I am sure the bishop knows very well that it is not the style of PF. nevertheless, we are still a big family. Somebody may personally want to take it upon themselves to respond to the Archbishop and even use unpalatable language and so on, we want as a party to distance ourselves from such hot heads, and we have them in all political parties, we want to distance ourselves and we urge any person who may have a problem in that line to please endeavor to engage us as a party. We have a system, we are a very well organized political party and we have spokespersons, I am one of them as deputy, the secretary general, the president and vice president and also members of the central committee. These are people who articulate the right positions of the party.”
He encouraged members of the public to report any unreasonable reactions to criticism by PF members.
“So if you hear for instance someone says something about you, representing an organisation, we would appreciate to be called, my number is 0955903497, call us and say ‘ba Bwalya, your cadre from this and that has responded in this manner to our genuine criticism of e-voucher, what is this supposed to mean?’ And I would find the best way to take you and counter check and get back to you. If we need to apologise, we will apologise. If we need to correct a situation, we will correct it. We are a very sober political party led by a very sober God-fearing leader who respects people,” said Bwalya.