Patriotic Front (PF) media director Sunday Chanda has charged that satirical singer Chama Fumba alias Pilato is being hosted by UPND funders in South Africa where they have prepared a string of interviews to dent Zambia’s image.

And Chanda says UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has adopted the Koswe Mumpoto (rat in a pot) song because it had his blessings.

In an interview yesterday, Chanda said PF members had only asked Pilato to withdraw his song but they never threatened him.

“Let me make this very clear, Pilato’s Koswe Mumpoto song is a UPND project and that’s the more reason why you’ve seen that even the top leadership of the UPND including Mr Hichilema have also adopted the usage of the same lyrics that Pilato used in that song. He (Hichilema) had a press briefing on Sunday and he was saying ‘ba koswe (rats)’ and all that, so this a UPND project and they can not run away from it. We know that even while in South Africa, Pilato is being hosted by the same UPND funders and the project is to use him from outside Zambia to malign this country. They have done that with ENCA, they have done it with BBC Africa, they are also working on an article which is going to be published in Financial Times of London. But you know very well that placing an article in the Financial Times of London does not come easy and cheap and Pilato has no means whatsoever to find himself in the Financial Times of London,” Chanda charged.

“And our message is very clear that the Patriotic Front has never placed any threats on Pilato’s life, in the same way he had apologized in 2017, January, after he released his recent song, the structure in Central Province demanded that he apologises and withdraw the song but that did not amount to a threat. The party issued a statement that we are not in a business of witch hunting people or turning every grass hopper into a giant. So Pilato is a free citizen who must enjoy his liberties but we leave this to the conscience of the Zambian people that when artistes perform or release songs in the manner that Pilato did, the Zambian people should be able to ask themselves if that is the kind of society that they seek to have…There is a foundation which has been sponsoring the UPND, there is a foundation linked to the UPND and it sponsors them. So that one and his other funders in South Africa know that Pilato is there and they are ones that are taking care of him.”

And Chanda said Hichilema’s conduct in politics had fallen far below the acceptable levels of decency and morality.

“If you look at the politics coming from our colleagues in the opposition UPND, it’s all targeted at ridiculing the President and it’s full of hate speech and if you are going to have a leader of the opposition referring to the government and President as ba koswe (rats) then it means that he adopted that song and sees nothing wrong with it and that is a song that is coming with his blessings. So we think that society must demand on Mr Hichilema that there are morals in politics, there is decency in politics and his conduct has fallen far below the acceptable levels of decency and morality in politics. The fact that Mr Hichilema wants to use that [koswe mumpoto] song as his anthem should not sit well with the Zambian people and it will not sit well with the Zambian people,” said Chanda.

“The more reason why we have said we invite and we expect our friends to engage us on substantive issues, we cannot have politics of name calling and so when we say the song by Pilato is a project of UPND, this is exactly what we mean. Listen to Mr Hichilema’ address on Sunday and you will know that this is a UPND project and Pilato’s going into exile is calculated and its aimed at tarnishing the image of this country and to do exactly what Mr Hichilema does whenever he’s out of this country, which is to speak ill of Zambia and its President. And the people of Zambia must reject these kinds of politics.”