We are working towards becoming the second largest political party in Zambia and this is attainable because the UPND and the PF are both losing it, says People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Banda.

And Banda has blamed the UPND for worsening voter apathy with their rigging allegations.

In an interview with News Diggers! Banda expressed confidence that the PAC would eventually become the country’s second largest political party, destined to supplant the UPND.

He charged that voters had stopped voting for the UPND, who are currently the second largest party, because after every election, they always complain that their votes had been stolen.

“We are very confident, and we will always be confident, because we have always been consistent with what we believe in. Talk about job creation, support of small businesses, because we know that this is what the Zambian people want. So, why do we feel that we are one of the biggest political parties, in fact the number three as we speak. General elections, we were number four and this one [Lusaka Mayoral by-election] number three. So, when you aggregate the two, you find that, automatically, we are at number three. So, we are working now towards becoming the second largest political party in Zambia and this is attainable because, clearly, and you can agree with me to say that, UPND and the PF are both losing it! Their brands are not attractive anymore. I think people are looking for something brand new and that is the reason why you found that 85 per cent of the people did not stand up to vote, which creates a good opportunity for us. I think we have a vision for the country and once we are consistent with that vision, we are on track,” Banda said.

He said UPND and PF’s support base was slowly shrinking.

“The People’s Alliance for Change is gaining ground; I think we are the third largest political party right now because in the top four, from the 2016 general elections, FDD did not participate. When we participated in this one, we came out third. So, in as much as we worked so hard to get better results, we are not disappointed with the results we got because at the end of the day, we are improving. One of the reasons why we feel this election did not work well was because of the apathy,” Banda argued.

“Most of the people that would have voted for us did not stand up to vote because one thing we need to understand is that, PF will always have a base that will vote for them. They have a lot of people who are benefiting from them; those people have got relatives, children and extended relatives. So, PF will always have a minimum base of people that will vote for them. UPND equally will have that minimum base, which they are losing. Both UPND and PF, actually, they are losing that base and, of course, us we are building. So, we are still in the convincing mood, we need to convince people to stand up and vote for us. And we did our part; we had a superior media strategy, which really helped us to be number three,” he added.

And Banda said the UPND’s complaints of stolen votes during elections was worsening voter apathy.

“So, now, what is important is for all of us, the media especially, to inculcate into the people [and sensitise them] that their votes count because what has been happening is that people have stopped voting due to the fact that most of the time after an election, what do we expect? We expect a complaint from the UPND to say, ‘no, our vote was stolen in this way and that way.’ So, now, people started believing that elections are stolen [and] our votes don’t count; that has created problems! So, as PAC, we know that we need to educate the masses that no matter how many challenges the electoral system may have, it is important for people to continue standing up and voting [and that] their vote will always count. The reason why elections are stolen is because many people don’t stand up to vote. So, we need to let people know that it is difficult to rig an election when there is a huge voter turnout. So, as a party, we are progressing and our eyes are now on Kasenengwa,” Banda revealed.

And Banda further argued that if PAC had the UPND or PF’s resources, his candidate would have performed better.

“Of course, the other issue is that, we do not have all the resources that we need. If you look at the results, we got about [5.88] per cent of the votes meaning that according to the resources that we have, that was what was equated to. If we had the resources that PF or UPND has, we would have done far much better. So, we need to make sure that we continue to look for resources, we need to ensure that our teams on the ground are empowered. And no matter how we try to make the people to focus on the message, they are still in the mood of Chitenge and T-shirts. We need to contribute a lot of regalia because people believe politics is about that. So, we need to provide those things to them and these things need resources, they don’t come cheap. So, we need to build the resource base and ensure that we put the teams on the ground,” he said.

He said PAC would maintain its strategy of being consistent in participating in every election in order to improve his support base.

“And also, our strategy is to continue participating in elections because each and every election has got a lot of lessons. We learn a lot and we know what to improve on. Right now, we had lessons that we learnt from the mayoral election. We did a good campaign and just towards the end of the campaign, we realised that we needed 1000 polling agents and we needed to put them so, there were lessons on how to make sure that we have all the polling agents and put them in the polling stations and all the streams. And we know that we are on the right track, but we also have to attract the right people. Every organization in order for them to improve the brand, they go to the right people, and Petersen was one of the right people that we put on board,” said Banda.