Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo says it is not a must that the Lusaka mayoral seat should be retained by the ruling Patriotic Front because Zambia is not a monarchy.

At public rallies to garner support for Miles Sampa, President Edgar Lungu has been asking voters not to “contaminate” the council by electing someone from the opposition, saying it is important that the seat be retained by the ruling party since Wilson Kalumba was also PF.

But in an interview, Nkombo said President Lungu lacked understanding of what democracy was.

“President Lungu lacks understanding of what a democracy is. He lacks understanding completely of what a democracy is, this election is a function of democracy and people should vote based on performance of the government and its players. The mayor who passed away, may his soul rest in peace, yes indeed he was a member of PF but there is no law that says that when a member of this X party dies, therefore it goes without saying that logically the people should vote for a party member from that particular party. Zambia is not a Kingdom where it’s a clan’s affair when it comes to choosing leaders. We are not a Monarchy, Zambia is a democracy. The president needs to start respecting the democratic principles within which we operate. This is not Swaziland where the leaders are in a lineage of a family or a clan. So at every stage of his function as a President, Mr Lungu should always remember that Zambia is not a Monarchy,” Nkombo said.

“If President Lungu thinks that people do not have evaluation capacity of the players and the teams where they play, then he should think again because in this particular case, Lusaka city is looking for a Mayor and a Mayor is a product of an election, so I think President Lungu should have been directing himself to the successes of Lusaka City Council (LCC) under his leadership and his party. Which successes if they are there can be attributed to the council of Lusaka under PF? That should be his argument, not just because someone belongs here therefore people should vote this way…why are we going to an election if that’s the case? People must be allowed to choose because democracy is a function of choice.”

Nkombo said President Lungu had run out of ideas.

“Mr Lungu has been making reckless statements in the past few days, which gives us an indication that his ideas have run out. Let me just advise President Lungu a bit, he needs to be issue based and I have just described the issues. It is service delivery, that is what we are talking about. It shouldn’t be because someone belongs to a certain party and therefore, it should be reason enough, the singular reason for people to vote as if they don’t have an assessment capacity. Everyone who is going to turn out to vote next Thursday is going to be expressing the feeling of how this PF council is being run. That is the fairest minimum that anyone should understand, including the President,” said Nkombo.