The United Party for National Development on Saturday celebrated 20 years in existence, hosting a vibrant fundraiser at Hotel Intercontinental to reflect on its achievements.

Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu said whilst some people would tag him UPND for attending the event, he was allergic to partisan politics but realized that everything which affected the people’s wellbeing was political.

“With my being here, I was told that tomorrow, they are going to brand you UPND. I am here because I am very alive to the teaching of the Catholic Church. And the social teaching of the Catholic Church is very firmly rounded in the scriptures. In the meeting that Catholic Bishops from all over the world had in Rome in 1962 to 1965, there is one area where the bishops declared, that was in 1965, we call it Gaudium et Spes statement meaning the joy and hope of the people of this world. The church says it’s the joy and hope…of those who are followers of Jesus Christ. So I come here not because I am a member of UPND, I am very much allergic to partisan politics but I am a politician myself,” said archbishop Mpundu.

“Quality education, not education up to basic, basic, what is basic education? That is a political issue. When you say more food on people’s tables, that is a political issue. We want meaningful development, it is political, everything is political and the church is interested in whatever affects the people not as partisan politicians but as political politicians.”

And UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, who was in high spirits, noted that the party had survived numerous storms, including possible extinction.

“Since its establishment 20 years ago, UPND has withstood various storms among them possible extinction,” he said.

“However, due to the nation’s faith in us, the party continues to thrive and this we owe to you, our people and the nation at large,” Hichilema said. “We have gone from a party getting 29 votes in Kaputa of Northern Province to now getting over 30,000 votes and having four councillors in the same constituency is not a mean achievement. From getting about 20 per cent of total presidential votes to now 48 per cent at the same level even amidst fraud and electoral malfeasance. This goes to show that our party, your party, UPND, is going forward and this is due to your hard work.”

Hichilema said the UPND would keep forging ahead.

“Over the years, this party has continued to grow from strength to strength and together with the nation fighting divisive elements. This is why we insist there is more that unites than what divides us as people of this great nation,” Hichilema said. “Like we said when we were elected for the first time to the presidency of this party, we do not seek public office to plunder government resources but to offer service to the nation and this is why we say Zambia and Zambians first. This was the desire of our party’s founding father, late Anderson Kambela Mazoka, whom we always thank for creating this platform for the people of Zambia as a unitary base for national development. Thank you Andy, how happy you must be to see this party grow from strength to strength and unite the people while placing development for all as a priority,” said Hichilema.

“This is the only place we all call home, we have no other place to call home as Zambians. Therefore, let’s work together, unite under the umbrella of the UPND and move our country forward. And thank you for your continued support for this party which does not belong to us but belongs to the nation as a unifying platform for national development. To our late party founding president Anderson Kambela Mazoka and other leaders now passed away, we say may you continue to rest in peace and ours is to take over the baton and continue where you left. People power! Our power! Our land!”

The event was also graced by leaders of other opposition political parties: Mike Mulongoti of People’s Party, Elias Chipimo of NAREP, Sean Tembo of Patriots for Economic Progress and Fresher Siwale of New Labour Party.