Patriotic Front (PF) deputy media director Antonio Mwanza says the party has created over one million formal jobs in its seven years of governance since 2011.

And Mwanza has challenged those complaining about too many taxes imposed on them to explain how many of those taxes have been newly created.

Speaking when he featured on the Lusaka Star programme on UNZA radio, Mwanza also said that there was no doubt that the PF had entered opposition UPND’s “bedroom” by way of grabbing their local government seats in the just ended by-elections.

“When the Patriotic Front took over power some seven years ago, the number of people that were employed in the formal sector was less than 600,000. As we speak today, the Patriotic Front has created 1,026,746 jobs in the formal sector as per central statistic (CSO) records. So, we have increased the number of people in the formal sector. And the figures that we have given are the official figures from the central statistics (Central Statistical Office) as of 2017. By the time that we reach 2021, we would have delivered the promises of creating jobs that we promised to the people of Zambia. We are on course and we are doing exactly what is expected of us,” Mwanza said.

He said those complaining about too many taxes only wanted to find faults in PF.

“When people claim that government has introduced too many taxes, we challenge them, which taxes? Because the National Health Act is not a tax, the ground water regulation Bill is not a tax. If you look at the threshold of people not taxed, [it] has moved from K1,500 to K3,000. But we also know that there are people who only sit and look for faults in the Patriotic Front government. And then, every day they have to make a call and talk about issues that they don’t even understand. So we have continued to be pro-poor because we have increased the non-tax threshold; we have continued to be pro-poor because we are building more hospitals; more schools; more roads to expand those facilities, to create jobs for our people, to create better environments and to ensure that our people are protected from exploitation. So we are on track, we are on positive trajectory. And the workers of this country are happy with the improvements that the Patriotic Front has continued to make,” Mwanza claimed.

And commenting on the just-ended local government by-elections, Mwanza said the results were a sign that the people of Zambia had lost confidence in the UPND.

“Zambians have sent a clear signal that they are confident in the leadership of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and the Patriotic Front. This is a reason why they have given us resounding freedom. There is no other benchmark in which you can assess the popularity of a political party other than the basis of election results. So, if you are very popular on Facebook, we put you in an election and you fail to produce what you show us on Facebook through pseudo and fake accounts, that only shows that on the ground you are not with the people. Now, I want to put this victory in clear context; of the 16 by-elections, the Patriotic Front had seven seats, these were our seats and we defended these seats,” he bragged.

“From these by-elections that we had, UPND had nine seats. And from these nine seats, the Patriotic Front grabbed five seats from the UPND. So, there is no question whatsoever that the Patriotic Front has entered the bedroom of the UPND because we have grabbed the seats from the UPND. There is no question whatsoever that the people of Zambia have lost confidence in the UPND. You cannot claim to be popular and lose elections. If you are popular, you win elections.”

Meanwhile, Mwanza said his party was confident that its adopted candidate, Maria Langa, would scoop the Chilanga parliamentary seat.

“And we have six local government by-elections coming up, plus a parliamentary election in Chilanga and we have adopted a very well-known entrepreneur in the name of Maria Langa for [the] Chilanga by-election. And we are very confident that based on the commitment, based on policies, plans and promises of the Patriotic Front, the people of Chilanga will vote for mama Maria Langa. And our campaign has always been based on issues. This is the reason why we have had it easy to win the elections. We want the people of Chilanga to have proper representation in Parliament; we don’t want them to be victims of these tendencies by members of parliament from UPND of walking out of Parliament,” said Mwanza.