Zambia cannot have genuine elections when the ruling Patriotic Front is always buying off members of the opposition just to maintain its winning slot, says United Prosperous and Peaceful Zambia (UPPZ) president Charles Chanda.
Speaking when he featured on the Lusaka Star programme on UNZA Radio, Monday, Chanda said he had evidence that the ruling party was involved in a ‘slave trade’ because his adopted candidate for the Kasenengwa seat Abel Ngwenya was also approached by the PF, asking him to ditch the UPPZ.
He also challenged the “social media political leaders” who have been all over the Internet politicking to leave the social platforms and begin contesting elections if they really meant well for Zambia.
“When you look at Kasenengwa and what happened, there have been a lot of blame games which one may understand, but at the end of the day, we need to look at things holistically. We are having a situation where other parties, let’s not even talk about the UPND, what about MMD and all these parties? Where are they? If you go on social media, do you know that Zambia has got so many presidents on social media who are not on the ground? I don’t even know what they are doing there because you cannot just be talking; today it’s this one, ‘issue number 200’. You can’t just be talking, you must get into elections! So, we had to get into Kasenengwa and there is a reason why we did that. Yes, we are a new party, but we are understanding the game. My own candidate, for the public out there, be informed that he was almost swept away. He was approached to be paid out by the ruling party so that he doesn’t file in the nominations. The PF offered him money, so basically, they didn’t want anyone to participate,” Chanda alleged.
“So, because we understand the game, we had put out a strategy that should our friends who are now buying candidates come, because they can’t produce candidates, they just want to buy; we should be able to overcome. And we had a candidate as well as another one on standby who was waiting just in case…because anything can happen in Zambia where you have leaders who have no direction! So, we did our homework and we successfully managed to file in and it happened that we are only three now, it’s just PF, UPPZ and PAC. The question comes to say, ‘how are we making it?’ Some people didn’t even know that we are in Eastern Province, but we are really serious with the transformation of Zambia. We want to make a change and I think people need to take us seriously now because some people thought we are just a ‘Muliokela party,’ some even call me ‘a one man party’, but I am proud that if I can be one man and I can compete with big parties then I am a great man, then it’s a great party with a great man! Somebody who is able to sponsor an election when big parties are depending on Chinese money.”
He further alleged that the UPPZ had evidence the PF was buying off people, especially nominated candidates from the opposition.
“People should not even say allegations, these are realities I have got evidence in my hands; my candidate was almost bought off by PF! But then where have things gone wrong? I think this has to do with the kind of leaders that we are raising because you cannot be buying off people. And I am actually against some of these by-elections, which are artificial and are being created by PF, but you cannot do that even if it’s in a democracy. We know that the country has no money, the little money we are having, we must buy cars then we must also begin to have elections? That shows you that you are being led by people who do not care about the welfare of the country. Look at PF, we know where their strongholds are and where they are not strong. So, the only way for PF to get votes in places where they are strong is by getting people who are already councillors on [the] UPND [ticket]. They want to penetrate UPND strongholds and the only way to do that is be buying off UPND councillors,” added Chanda.
“If you have become popular, why do you have to buy somebody? That is slave trade! Some political parties are involved in slave trade and I am saying, no! We cannot go that way, let us have proper elections, let us have well-groomed and well-mannered elections. If I were in the ruling party, I wouldn’t have to pay money to anyone to see that what I am doing is for the good of the Zambian people. I can just be using my influence; I can set up fertilizer blending plants for people so that people are attracted to me. The PF is in a position to do good so that people are just attracted naturally. But when a ruling party is losing popularity, they can use any gimmicks and sometimes, they use gimmicks that are so dirty that even a person who is partially blind can be able to see.”