PF deputy media director Antonio Mwanza says the ruling party is not interested in UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema because he is just an ordinary citizen who must face the law when he breaks it.

Speaking on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview, Mwanza dispelled assertions that the PF was mounting pressure on police to arrest Hichilema, saying the ruling party respected the autonomy of state institutions.

“First of all, I want to make it very clear that the Patriotic Front is not interested in Mr Hichilema because he is an ordinary citizen running a club called UPND, that is a club that is registered under the Registrar of Societies. He is an ordinary citizen who is not special in any way. Mr Hichilema is an ordinary Zambian just like any other Zambian. He doesn’t enjoy any immunity, he does not enjoy any special treatment and he is not above the law. So if Mr Hichilema is going to commit a crime, the law will be exercised on him just like it is exercised on everybody else,” Mwanza said.

“We as Patriotic Front, we do not have any special interest in Mr Hakainde Hichilema but what we are saying is that we were voted by the people of Zambia, they have given us the constitutional mandate to run the affairs of this country and it is in our interest as the ruing party to make sure that there is sanity, peace and the rule of law in this country. To make sure that everybody lives and abides by the laws of this country. It is our mandate and the people of Zambia expect us to provide that leadership. This is the reason why the President has created the Ministry of Religion and National Guidance to remind us as Zambians of the values and the principles that run us as Zambians.”

He cautioned citizens not to abuse their right to speak.

“You have the right to speak, but you don’t have the right to lie. You have the right to speak but you do not have the right to incite people to be violent. The public property and infrastructure that is being damaged belongs to the people of Zambia and the peace that we have enjoyed in the last 54 years should not be taken for granted. The Patriotic Front, as a government that believes in the separation of powers, as a government that believes in the independence of institution, we do not interfere with the operations of police. The police are governed under the Zambia Police Act…the Patriotic Front does not interfere in the affairs of any public or state institution. These institutions are independent, they are autonomous and they are carrying out their mandate in accordance with Acts that establishes them,” said Mwanza.