The UPND is sceptical to participate in the national dialogue because they do not feel respected enough, says National Restoration Party (NAREP) president Elias Chipimo.

And Chipimo was angered by one of the headlines on one of the local daily tabloids, which he described as a newspaper that is literally the ‘tail of the big PF dog,’ which wags whatever the dog wants.

Meanwhile, Chipimo vowed that he will stand for the Republican Presidency in 2021.

Speaking when he featured on Radio Phoenix’s ‘Let the People Talk’ programme yesterday, Chipimo observed that the country’s largest opposition party is sceptical to engage in the national dialogue process because they don’t feel respected enough.

“ZCID has actually never said that it has the capacity to deliver by itself the dialogue outcomes, but it’s a facilitator. Now, if people continue to complain that, ‘no, they are not happy about this,’ they will always find an excuse for not having dialogue. The real issue here is that, people don’t feel as if they have been respected, they don’t feel as if their ideas are taken into account, and they fear that if they do participate in this process, there will be an outcome because there are so many of these satellite parties that are funded by the PF, that could raise one voice and make it look as if it’s many people who want a particular idea to go forward versus one or two who may not want that particular idea to go forward. But there are structures and ways in which you can calibrate or balance out that concern but it does require a level of humility, which you have never seen from the Patriotic Front,” Chipimo said.

He disclosed that had the UPND approached him during the time of filing in the impeachment motion, he would have given them a solution on how to make it tabled on the floor of the House.

“Unfortunately, our politics have become so polarised that the only thing people look to is ‘what is in it for me?’ We don’t have a member of parliament for NAREP, but we are seeing the loudest voice on issues that people in Parliament should be the ones talking about it. Even the issue of the impeachment, nobody, if they had simply come and said ‘let’s talk to NAREP’, we would have given them a very quick solution to getting that motion on the floor. But if people like to work in isolation, they like to believe that if we consult these guys, you might give them the glory. It’s the same in government; it’s the same with UPND. I have always said that for me…because none of these parties have a clear agenda as to how they are going to deal with the most pressing issues that we are facing as a nation. For me, that’s unemployment,” Chipimo explained.

He described the opposition UPND and the ruling PF as parties that always want to work in isolation.

Chipimo also said that neither of the two political parties has a clear agenda on how they intend to deal with the most pressing issues that the country is facing.

“There are over 1,000 individual Zambians who come on to the job market every single day. So, every single year, we have to create employment opportunities, business opportunities for the number of people that’s equivalent to the size of our civil service. This government is not capable of doing that, they don’t have the ideas. The only thing they have is energy to be greedy, energy continue the abuse of power. Right now, as I am speaking to you, there are people in Chilanga who are having their voters’ cards and their National Registration Cards (NRCs) bought at a price of between K200 and K300 because some people, some elements within the PF believe they cannot lose this election and they are going to [do] everything within power to prevent any loss. This is a reality and they are flushing so much money,” he revealed.

Chipimo charged that PF was buying people’s voters’ and NRCs from the people of Chilanga at the cost of between K200 and K300 to avoid losing the election.

“So, how does the opposition operate? We need the media because that is how we get our message out. Now, let’s us look at what happened to the media; the media is either completely damaged or destroyed as we saw with regard to The Post. Some may argue The Post went too far. I think they didn’t go far enough. There are consequences if you are constantly going to people’s faces and say things that you are not supposed to, people want to react. But you should never react in a way that closes you down. But we can talk about an issue and the media will ignore us. Why? Because they will have moved on to another thing. The government said that they would create a million jobs, then the number got reduced to 500,000 when they issued a youth policy. And then the number got reduced to 100,000. So, what has the media done? No matter how many times we try to talk about this issue, the media moved on. So, it’s not just the opposition, it’s you the media, too. And then the media gets compromised,” Chipimo observed.

And commenting on sentiments that there was no opposition in the country, Chipimo said the media was not helping the opposition to bring out their issues.

“So, if you look at today’s headline in one of the newspapers, which is literally the tail of the big PF dog, it just wags whatever it is that the big PF dog wants, the tail is just waging. They will find some lawyer who will be able to say something against Chipimo, he hasn’t actually read the law; studied the law, he has quoted the completely wrong issue, a totally misunderstood issue. Now he is doing a de-service to that newspaper. That newspaper is doing a de-service to the nation and, unfortunately, we are in all this together. Just like Sishuwa Sishuwa in his most recent article in Diggers! newspaper pointed out, he said we get the leaders we deserve. So, we ultimately have to change the people,” he narrated.

Meanwhile, Chipimo said he will not be swayed by anybody against standing for the Republican Presidency in 2021.

“I have that commitment that I am going to stand in 2021. I am not going to be swayed because I have seen that there are people who, their whole sense of hope lays on Elias Chipimo, who is ready to stand be counted for the young people, for the old people, for the people of this country,” vowed Chipimo.