Patriotic Front (PF) deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri has asked party deputy media director Antonio Mwanza to stop talking about the opposition UPND and its President Hakainde Hichilema each time he appears on radio.
Speaking when she called Radio phoenix where Mwanza had featured for the “Let the People Talk” programme yesterday, Phiri said it was a waste of time to talk about the UPND and its leader on any media programme because HH was the easiest competitor ever to defeat.
In his discussion earlier on the programme, Mwanza taunted the UPND and its leader on various issues ranging from the party’s failure to ever accept results of any election, to criticising them on the party vice president Geoffrey Mwamba’s pronouncement that Zambians should vote for UPND because its officials were rich.
“I want to go after the UPND leader who was saying that the PF was buying voters in Chilanga by offering them promises that once elected into office their children will go to school for free because the PF will be paying for them. I think the UPND must be sincere, first of all, this claim that UPND has that those who don’t agree with them or those that vote against them are either illiterates, they are poor people and that they are unenlightened… that notion must come to an ended. UPND believes that they are this elitists who are above everybody else and once you don’t agree with UPND then you are illiterate. If you don’t agree with UPND, you are a poor novice from Kalingalinga township [in Lusaka]. But that is an insult on the intelligence of a Zambian voter, it is an insult to believe that if people don’t agree with you then they are less worthy than you. UPND believe that they are special ones, they believe that Zambians owe them the Presidency and that if they come in all our problems will go because they are he most educated and they are the richest,” Mwanza said.
“You’ve heard the UPND vice-president Mr Goffrey Bwalya Mwamba saying ‘vote for us because we are rich’. But if they are rich then why are they not using there money to buy off Zambians if the Zambian people can be bought? Why are they not using the riches to buy the voters? I was in UPND in 2006 and I can tell you that the only qualification that made Mr Hichilema become President at the UPND convention were two, that ones he was Tonga and two that he was rich. But you cannot use riches as a qualification for leadership. And they must be able to understand that being rich and being educated does not equate to leadership. Leadership is a gift that you must learn.”
And Mwanza accused the UPND of being undemocratic due to the party’s failure to go for a national convention.
“We really don’t care, what UPND does is not our baby and we really don’t care what UPND decided to do with their leadership. They have a right as an independent party under the constitution to decide their own fate. But it is also important that the UPND must be held accountable for not satisfying the requirements of the republican constitution and that is not just to UPND, it is to all political parties. The constitution is very clear in article 60 that all political parties must hold regular elections and UPND cannot be exempted from that because it is a constitutional requirement. So when we raise these issues, it’s to deal with the constitutional requirement. And then thirdly, we raise these issues because UPND have got a tendency of saying that PF and President Edgar Lungu in particular are dictators. This is a line that President Hakainde Hichilema has been using. But we have to remind the people of Zambia and to remind Mr Hichilema that President Lungu was elected at a convention and President Lungu will be subjected to another election at a convention in 2020,” he said.
Mwanza further said that Zambians had lost confidence in the UPND, as could be seen in the way people had stopped voting for the opposition in the previous elections.
“It is very clear that UPND has failed to play it’s role as the opposition party, it has failed to provide alternative policy and people have lost confidence. If people had confidence in the UPND, there members in Lusaka would have stood up to vote. In 2016, 150 thousand UPND supporters voted for UPND mayoral candidate Maureen Mwanawasa but this time around the number collapsed from 150 thousand to 36 thousand. So for us as PF we have won. Whether we have two or three people who are PF. We are comfortable and it doesn’t matter the turnout. The Patriotic Front still remains popular. We are however concerned as a political party that apathy is not good for democracy, it is not good for this country.
“And as a political party, we will embark on a programme to identify the causes of apathy. One of which we’ve already identified is the fact that our people knew that we would win this election because there was no competition. Secondly, we need to sensitise and educate our people to continue to exercise their right to vote. The issue of skipping to ECZ as an escape goat for losing is sad, specifically for the UPND who have continued to give lame excuses for their poor performance which doesn’t hold water. To begin with, ECZ is mandated by law to operate in the manner it is operating in terms of managing elections and if there are any problems that the commission is facing in terms of capacity, in terms of rigging, it is up to UPND to take these cases to court,” said Mwanza.
But when she called the station, Phiri guided Mwanza to stop talking about HH and his party.
“I would like to encourage Antonio, when you are on radio don’t talk about HH. To us as PF, he is the easiest target we can defeat. Let them contintue with Wamuyayaya business type of leadership. Ilya ine yali mu UNIP (let them continue with the eternity type of leadership just like what UNIP used to be. ‘KK wamuyaya, HH Wamuyaya’, its their choice but for us its an advantage,” said Phiri.