People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Banda has advised newly-elected Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa to stop disparaging opposition political parties and focus on providing the free Wi-Fi he promised Lusaka residents.

And Banda has confirmed that his party will be participating in the Kasenengwa by-election slated for September 6, adding that PAC was looking for a suitable candidate to adopt.

Commenting on Sampa’s argument that opposition political parties pocket funds given to them by donors instead of using them for their respective campaigns, Banda said the newly-elected Lusaka Mayor did not have the right to talk about how the opposition parties spent their money for elections because it is not government money that they were using.

“Which money? Does that money come from the government? Because some of us, we sacrifice money from our pockets. So, do we chew money from our own pockets? I think the Mayor should just focus on providing Wi-Fi as opposed to start talking about why people win or lose elections, that’s not important. What we are waiting for as a country or as Lusaka City Council (LCC) is free Wi-Fi so that we can log in and start browsing [the Internet] properly! Otherwise the issue of chewing money…which money do we chew? Is it money from his pocket? Him, he is privileged because he gets money from PF government, but we don’t get our money from any organisation. We sacrifice our little money, which we are supposed to pay for children’s schools fees. We sacrifice them for elections so that we can see this country move forward. So, he shouldn’t think that we are in the same boat. We are not in the same boat! We use our personal money, we use our personal resources, we go into our personal bank accounts to withdraw money to do this and that. We are not as privileged as he is,” Banda told News Diggers! in an interview.

And Banda confirmed his party’s participation in the upcoming Kasenengwa by-election next month.

“I would like to confirm that our party is planning to take part in the Kasenengwa by-election, that is the reason why at the moment, we are in search of a suitable candidate to stand there. We have not yet found a candidate, but we hope that we should be able to find a candidate by Monday [next week]. As PAC, we feel that we have to continue participating in elections. There will be a time when the people of Zambia will stand up and say, ‘enough of the PF’. But we cannot gauge when that time will be, unless we continue participating in elections. Of course, we are going to be strategic in our participation, we are not just going to participate in every election, but we shall pick some battles that we feel are necessary. For example, there are also other local government elections that are going to take place, but we are not going to take part in those local government elections. Our focus is on Kasenengwa; this will also help us mobilise and create structures in such areas and also make sure that our party is known completely in all the areas,” said Banda.

“And like I have mentioned, the idea of people just complaining that, ‘no our votes were stolen’ is not okay, the problem we have with politicians in Zambia is that, they just want to complain over small, small things! We, as PAC, do agree that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) needs reforms, we need to change a few things. But then we cannot completely say that the system is fraudulent and that there is no need to hold elections until we have those reforms. I think we need to push for reforms in as much as we have to continue working with the current system. We must remember that the current system is the same system that ushered in the PF government and removed the MMD government and it was not perfect either. So, when people say, ‘enough is enough’, I think whether the system is not perfect or it’s perfect, I think you still pull through. But this is also an important election because Eastern Province for us is an important area. We have participated in elections there before and we want to continue to do that.”