Patriotic Front media director Sunday Chanda says the ruling party reserves the right to report any defamatory material in circulation to relevant security wings.

In a statement yesterday, Chanda distanced the PF from images of President Edgar Lungu-branded tissue which had gone viral on social media.

“The ruling Patriotic Front wishes to distance itself from images of tissue and sweets circulating on social media bearing the portrait of the Head of State. This is the malicious work of the Opposition and has nothing to do with the ruling Party. These images are in bad taste and proves the calibre of Opposition we have in Zambia. Zambians know that there are political parties in this country which have made tissue politics as their mainstay of identity. We have refused to join in the race to the bottom because as Patriotic Front, we are above tissues. We are an issue-based political Party,” Chanda stated.

“We therefore must place on record that the ruling Patriotic Front reserves the right to report any defamatory material in circulation to the relevant security wings as provided for by the law.”

He advised opposition political parties to practice issue based politics.

“Section 69 of the Penal code is clear as follows:_’Any person who, with intent to bring the President into hatred, ridicule or contempt, publishes any defamatory or insulting matter, whether by writing, print, word of mouth or in any other manner, is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years._’ It is our earnest desire that freedom of expression continues to thrive but that demands responsibilities too,” stated Chanda.

“We, therefore advise the general public not to fall for the Opposition’s cheap and malicious smear campaign. Patriotic Front wishes to reiterate its call for issue-based politics because that is what Zambians have demanded for. We further challenge the Opposition to raise the bar of engagement with the ruling Party by providing proper checks and balances. Our people deserve better and must get better from the body politic.”

Last week, the PF started distributing President Lungu branded exercise books to primary and secondary schools, raising alarm among critics.