UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa says it is a political joke to think his party has survived on Hakainde Hichilema’s pocket for the past 20 years.

And Mweetwa has boasted that the UPND is the only party with a superior economic manifesto.

Reacting to PF media director Sunday Chanda’s remarks that the UPND could not exist without Hichilema’s financial muscle, Mweetwa said his party had survived based on personal sacrifices from all its members.

“We know that the media directorate for PF is specifically there as a vuvuzela organ that is there to blow hot air on political issues. All I can say that we as UPND don’t think that it is apt to begin to give comprehensive responses to trivialities. For instance UPND is clocking 20 years now. So for someone to think that UPND has survived on the basis of one person is just a cheap political joke which is even misplaced because many Zambians appreciate the sacrifices of the UPND and its leadership that in 20 years we have demonstrated enduring belief into a better Zambia. We have demonstrated discipline and tenacity whereas some people have been jumping from UPND to PF and some all over the show looking for greener pastures for survival,” Mweetwa said.

“I don’t want to personalise Sunday Chanda because those are the same things he used to talk about PF when he was in MMD. You know, these people who jump from one party to another should be understood because that is the way they survive. For us we have a party to run which we think should continue and serve the people.”

And Mweetwa boasted that the UPND was the only party with a superior economic manifesto.

Mweetwa said PF was taking the country backward by appointing its cadres to head vital institutions of economic management such as ZICTA, ERB, and RDA.

“We have stood to our initial promise to the people of Zambia that UPND is a party with a superior economic manifesto for this country, superior governance prospects for this country and with a superior team with a skill set that should match the demand requirements of leadership at that level. That is what UPND brings. We have issues to talk about, issues to do with UPND promising more jobs, lower taxes and more money. And on their slogan checklist, you find that there are no jobs now because the majority of people leaving institutions of learning can’t be employed today unless you are a relative to a minister in PF or some of those PF supporters of cadres who are given to chair vital institutions of economic management of this country such as ERB, you put a former MP as chairman, ZICTA you put a former MP as chairman, RDA you put the campaign manager and a chairman of PF as RDA chairman, it’s a total mess,” he said.

“We have disgraced this country. How could people be dancing to a song called ‘dununa reverse?’ and now meaning has been given that they have reversed the progress of this country 40 years backward. How can we continue to have cadres chairing vital state institutions of economic management, you put them in the hands of cadres? yet we know that in the mid-70s, some of the key reasons why Zambia’s economy moved from being one of the top growing economies of the continent and developing stratum, now to be among the least developing countries is because of people who don’t understand, just because they are political dwellers you put them [to head such institutions].”

He urged the PF to focus on explaining high taxes to the Zambian people instead of politicking.

“So we are not going to concentrate ourselves to political rhetoric, let them tell the people why now the only way of generating income is to increase taxes, toll fees every day? Let them tell people why jobs can’t be found? Why zesco tariffs are always increasing year in years out? Before elections they cheated people that they were going to ensure that these electricity tariffs would stabilise, why they cheated people that fuel tariffs were going to be reduced? These are issues that touch on people’s lives,” Mweetwa said.

“In fact, I want you to tell them that right now, UPND is studying the situation of street vendors who were chased by PF. We are doing a comprehensive review of the street vendors situation and we will soon be making fundamental pronouncements and demands on the PF government over street vendors because we were thinking that yes, because there was cholera, there was need to take that action but then when cholera stops, then there must be action government should take that should show that government is addressing issues to the plight of the people. So we are reviewing this and PF very soon will be put under pressure by ourselves over the issue of street vendors because it is one of the issues that is topping on our priority lists.”