United Party for National Development (UPND) Chairperson for mobilisation and strategy Sylvia Masebo says there will be no elections in 2021 if the PF continues shunning dialogue talks with opposition political parties.

Speaking when he featured on a diamond Television programme dubbed Costa on Sunday night, Masebo warned that the PF was sitting on a time bomb which was likely to explode before the next general election.

“I think it is important that we dialogue and we will dialogue because if we don’t, we are on a time bomb. People are hurting and you know, dialogue is so important because it is dialogue that can actually bring down the tempers that people are going through at the moment. So if the PF think that they can continue to undermine the process of dialogue and think that they will survive up to 2021, then I want to tell them that they are cheating themselves [because] they are sitting on a time bomb, anytime, anything can erupt and the only thing that can stop that eruption is dialogue. Then there shall be no 2021 elections if we don’t have dialogue because there are many things that need to be cleaned up; the electoral process, the electoral act, the electoral code of conduct. We need to deal with all those issues if we are going to have free and fair elections in 2021. So there is no two ways to this, it’s just one way and that one way is dialogue, no dialogue this country will be in problems,” Masebo warned.

I think it’s unfair really for one to expect a person who is in opposition to ride the process [of dialogue] and even as a member of the opposition or leader of the opposition, the President of UPND has been extending a hand to say ‘let’s dialogue’. We have someone who has been sent for us from the Commonwealth to come and help us dialogue but from the manoeuvres, you can see that the PF are not interested in dialogue. I think that they are deliberately delaying because if they are really interested, since they are the ones that say they won the elections and are ruling, then they should take the lead. Even just tonight, if President Lungu picks up his phone and says ‘can we have the dialogue next week’, President Hakainde would be very happy. But even if Hakainde said can we have dialogue, he is indirectly being ignored.”

Meanwhile, Masebo said President Lungu was so preoccupied with being recognised as duly elected Head of State at the expense of working to deliver on his promises to the people.

“Well, if the PF are talking about recognition then I think they have a problem. Maybe they are guilty of something. Surely, what recognition do they need from anyone because Lungu claims he won the election, he claims he was sown in, he claims he’s got the instruments of power and he has the instruments of power, so what recognition does he need? It simply means that he realises that he didn’t win the elections because if I win an election and someone doesn’t recognise me then what’s the problem? I wouldn’t even bother because what is important is to do my job. Surely, can the entire President worry about the fact that an individual, a group of people or political party doesn’t recognise you, can that be an issue?” wondered Masebo.

“If indeed he was elected by the people of Zambia, he has a job to do and that‘s what should preoccupy his mind. The issue of recognition does not have to be a big issue because everyone else including all members of the PF recognise Lungu as a President so why should HH’s failure to recognise him as President stop him from doing his job? UPND is not the only opposition party in this country, so you cannot make the whole country come to a stand still because HH has refused to recognised Lungu? That means he has a problem, it means he’s not really a President.”