Patriotic Front deputy media director Antonio Mwanza says it is shocking that the first thing some people saw when government announced the board of directors for Times and Zambia and Daily Mail was tribe instead of asking about the competence of those appointed.

And Mwanza says leaders who are always insulting President Edgar Lungu will never see State House.

Speaking when he featured on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview, Mwanza said people should not look at the tribe of appointees but their experience.

“I was surprised, the Minister of Information, exercising her right has come up with a board of directors for Daily Mail and Times of Zambia. And the first thing that some people are seeing is tribe. Before they even ask anything, they say ‘no, this list is full of people from Northern and Eastern, government is tribal, these appointments are tribal. I believe that when a minister unveils arte board, the first question that should cross my mind is ‘what are the qualifications, the competencies and experiences of the people that have been given these jobs’, that is the first thing,” Mwanza said.

“If I saw Mr Moses Mawere I should ask, who is this Moses Mawere, where has he worked? What kind of competencies does he have? But here, the first thing you say is ‘these appointments are tribal’. You can see that this is not the kind of politics that will take the country forward. I want an opposition political party that provides a clear alternative.”

And Mwanza said opposition leaders must respect President Lungu.

“We need to have opposition political parties that are driven on ideas, on policies and opposition political parties that are providing alternative policy direction to the government. We have too much politics of bitterness, hatred and tribalism. That is the wrong politics. My track record has been very clear on how I have conducted myself as a member of the opposition. Right now we are seeing a lot of insults and people have taken it upon themselves that insulting the head of State is being political. There is a new school of thought that you become a hero by insulting the Head of State. People have to know that President Edgar Lungu is but a human being. The office that he holds, which is enshrined in the Constitution of Zambia and you might have problems with President Lungu at a personal level but you must have the decency to respect the presidency because it is an institution. If you don’t respect the presidency, how will the Zambian people respect you if one day you become the president?” Mwanza asked.

“We can argue on policy issues and service delivery. I don’t have a problem with that debate any day about what government is doing but I have a problem to come and discuss that the President was sleeping in a garage, so what? Whether it is true or not true, how does that add value? What examples are we giving to young people who are looking at us every day on TV insulting institutions, insulting those in power, having personal vendetta and talking about tribalism in everything…for as long as they continue insulting President Lungu, as long as those that want to defeat PF cannot explain their policies to the people other than innuendos and insults and tribal remarks, the Zambian people will not vote for them, they will never see State House.”

He also said his move to the PF was not a demonstration of politics of the belly.

“It is very funny that before I joined PF, there was news on social media that I was joining UPND and the people that are calling me hungry today are the ones that were praising me when that issue came out on social media that I was going to join UPND and immediately I went to PF, I became hungry, I became a politician of the belly. It doesn’t work like that. People have to realise that the decision to join any political party is a constitutional right and everybody has the democratic right to belong to any political party of their choice,” said Mwanza.

“I would be very happy for people to fight me on the basis of ideas, policy and so on. But to simply say ‘njala yamunyokola’, which is not even the truth, it is not something that I waste my time on because we have a lot of work ahead of us and we need to focus on providing solutions to the people of Zambia.”