United Party for National Development (UPND) deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka has asked party supporters to defend themselves from PF attacks by whatever means and weapons as campaigns for the Lusaka Mayoral position commence.

In an interview with News Diggers! Mucheleka said it was the responsibility of all aspiring candidates in the Mayoral elections to ensure a safe and violent-free campaign.

He, however, warned that UPND supporters would be at liberty to defend themselves, using any weapons wherever necessary, if provoked during the Mayoral campaign.

“All candidates in this election have got the responsibility of ensuring that we have a safe, violence-free campaign. And our instructions to our cadres as UPND are that we don’t want any UPND cadre to start any fight. If you go and attack PF or indeed any other political party, you are on your own and we would like the police to arrest any UPND cadre who shall be seen to be causing violence and attacking anybody. Our instruction to our supporters is to defend themselves! If they are attacked, they must defend themselves in any possible way, using any form of defence, including any weapons! We have no apologies to make on that,” Mucheleka said.

“And make no mistakes, UPND has never attacked PF, it is the other way round. So, for us, we have a responsibility to maintain law and order and we would want to work with the police and the ECZ to enforce the Electoral Code of Conduct and that is the call we are making to PF because they are the ones who engage in violence. The PF is moving with weapons, but where are they getting those things?”

And Mucheleka, the former Lubansenshi Independent lawmaker, accused the PF of having turned the Lusaka City Council (LCC) into a ‘cash cow.’

He pledged that a UPND executive Mayor would look to make Lusaka ‘great again.’

“As UPND, we are taking this election very seriously because for us, this is like a mini-general election. We are talking about Lusaka, which indeed is the capital city of this country. So, when we are talking about this opportunity that has been presented to the people of Lusaka to go and participate in electing their Mayor, we already know what will be coming out of the PF; PF would want to put it like it is business as usual. After all, most of the councillors in Lusaka urban are PF. But we are talking about electing an executive Mayor, not a cadre Mayor who will use the council to loot, to steal and to brutalise people by throwing people who may want to have a stake in the economy by chasing away from the streets. We are going to elect an executive Mayor who has a very important role to play to make this Lusaka city great again,” Mucheleka said.

“We are faced with a situation where, at the moment, PF are using the Lusaka City Council as a cash cow. You know what they have done to the bus stops and markets. Those are important revenue collection centres that can be used to generate money that could, in return, be used to make available the necessary services to the people in Lusaka. When we come in as UPND, through our executive Mayor Kangwa Chileshe, he’s going to ensure that at the end of the day, the people of Lusaka get the necessary services. Lusaka City, in its current form with the right attitude and right people at the helm of managing that council, can actually be able to generate quite sufficient resources that can be used to provide the services to the people of Lusaka.”

Meanwhile, Mucheleka insisted that Kangwa Chileshe was well-positioned for the Mayoral position because he was intelligent.

“Our candidate, Kangwa Chileshe, is the best you can give to the people of Lusaka. Just like I told you, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was an actor and he became the best governor of California. So, in Pastor Kangwa, he’s very articulate, he understands issues and he is surrounded by people who are competent and very educated. So, that’s where we come in, it’s beautiful! Those fellows who don’t understand can even be thinking of talking about tribe. But who tells you that you must come to Lusaka and start talking about tribe? If you want to start talking about tribe, go to the village where you come from because here, it’s about service delivery and Kangwa is the right person for the job,” insisted Mucheleka.

“We are also talking about job creation. Across the world, jobs are created in the capital city, starting with the council. This greater city of Lusaka can partner with other cities across the world to see how they can work. But the narrative of the PF is to say that, when an opposition Mayor is elected then it won’t work, we are not just going to elect cadres, but an executive Mayor. Look at the candidate that we are presenting. Arnold Schwarzenegger was an actor and he became governor of California. When Bill Clinton was [U.S] president, Schwarzenegger was an executive Mayor when the Democrats were in power, but the PF want to come and lie to the people of Lusaka that they shouldn’t elect an opposition Mayor because there is nothing he is going to do. The people of Lusaka have a choice to go and elect an executive Mayor, when you are executive Mayor, you function with the technocrats so the right-hand man of the Mayor is the Town Clerk, who is the chief officer of the council. A Town Clerk is not a political cadre, but a technocrat who is supposed to work very well with the executive Mayor to implement the decisions of the council.”