Patriotic Front deputy media director Antonio Mwanza says the opposition UPND intends to use the dialogue process to bring the image of the PF government into disrepute and gain political mileage.
And Mwanza says opposition political parties must commend President Edgar Lungu for distributing PF-branded books and bicycles countrywide because he used personal resources.
Speaking when he featured on Hot FM’s Hot Seat program, Thursday, Mwanza said the UPND wanted to use the dialogue process for political capital.
“I will be very honest and explicit. Part of the problem that we have had is that the UPND are not interested in dialogue. They are interested in using this dialogue for political capital, and I will explain. The UPND president Mr Hakainde Hichilema has rubbished the Zambia Centre for Inter-Party Dialogue, he has called it as a surrogate organization for the PF, he has said the ZCID has no capacity to bring him and all other stakeholders on the sitting table to sit and discuss these issues. That is the position of the UPND. Why have they taken this position? It is because they want to use this process for political capital,” Mwanza said.
“This is the reason why they are rushing to the international community and insisting that the Commonwealth must be the one to drive this dialogue agenda, unfortunately so because their idea is to make sure that they use this platform to paint the government of the Patriotic Front and the President black. They try to raise concerns and make sure that the international community put a spotlight on the Patriotic Front government and make it appear as if this government is not granting them their constitutional rights as opposition political party. So, they want to use this to raise their international profile on the political scene.”
And Mwanza said opposition must commend President Lungu for donating PF-branded books and bicycles.
“If you look at just page 13 of the manifesto of the PF for 2016-2021, it clearly states that such ventures of helping vulnerable children with learning materials is part and parcel of our vision. Now I expected that when the President is giving these learning materials, to impoverish pupils, orphaned children, those that do not have support that he will receive a tap on the back, because what the President is doing is merely to help bana ba masiye bana ba bovutika, balibe makolo (vulnerable and orphaned children). That is what the president has endeared to do. He is using his own personal resources, he has cut out 50% of his own salary, and he is giving out to marketeers. I expected that the opposition would commended the president for reaching to the vulnerable,” Mwanza said.
“I didn’t expect that the opposition would be so petty and start talking about the cover of the exercise books instead of looking at the value the exercise books is adding to a child who is orphaned, who doesn’t have sponsorship. The President is the owner of the project and there is nothing wrong with putting the portrait of the President because he owns the project, this is his idea, this is his initiative. So, there is nothing wrong with him putting up his portrait.”
Meanwhile, Mwanza said Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili must lie in the bed he made.
“The problems that honourable Chishimba Kambwili is facing are his personal issues that he needs to deal with the law enforcement agencies. He is not special. There are so many people that are going to the ACC all the time. There so many people that are going to the courts of law every day and there are a lot of people that are being sentenced everyday he is not special, he is just like any other person. Our advice is that let him just continue with the process of following what the relevant institutions are saying. He shouldn’t cry foul. He made the bed, let him sleep in it,” said Mwanza.