People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Banda says PAC will contest the 2021 general election as an independent political party despite being in the opposition coalition.

Banda called in Hot FM’s Red Hot Breakfast show, Tuesday, where he clarified that the opposition alliance was not formed for purposes of fielding a sole candidate to defeat President Edgar Lungu in 2021, but only to unite and speak with one voice on issues of common interest.

Banda added that the alliance did not mean the 10 opposition leaders whose parties had come together stopped functioning independently.

“There seems to be a lot of misrepresentations on the reason why the alliance was formed. The alliance was not formed to prepare for 2021, as far as we are concerned in the People’s Alliance for Change. This issue was not tabled when we discussed coming together. We only discussed coming together for the purposes of issues of common interest. Things that affect all of us, such as electoral reforms, the Public Order Act, media reforms, etc. So, that was the first stage of the alliance; these other issues of forming an alliance to challenge the PF in 2021 was something that could have been discussed after we had passed the first stage. Now, we need to understand that as a party, we are not breaking any cords of the alliance; that’s the reason why we are participating in the Sesheke by-election. If you asked anyone from the alliance, they won’t tell you that we are going against what we agreed,” Banda explained.

“But there are also other issues that we need to look at. We are a growing political party, we just turned three years about last week and we are full of emerging leaders. So, I think we owe it to a number of Zambian people to present them with a new generation of leaders, and that is the principle of why we…”

At this point, Banda was interrupted by the presenter who asked if PAC had made its decision to contest the elections in 2021 prematurely seeing that the alliance was yet to agree what it was all about with the other political party leaders.

But in response, Banda said the alliance did not mean that the united parties should stop functioning as independent parties.

“Well, like I mentioned, the issue of presenting one candidate in 2021 has never been tabled by the alliance. But we cannot stop other alliance members who feel like that to discuss the issue. It’s within their right. Just as much as it is within our right to continue participating in elections and continue mobilising for 2021. So, it will be strategically wrong for the People’s Alliance for Change to fold hands and forget about mobilising for 2021, with the hope of fielding one candidate. We are a growing political party; we need to continue working; we need to continue growing. What if the alliance doesn’t work? It’s not even a guarantee…but once it’s works, once the first stage is done, then we can start thinking to say, how do we mobilise individual political parties for 2021? In any event, it is important for members of the alliance to continue mobilising so that come 2021, if we have to come together, we should bring different fruits on the table so that we can have enough people to top the PF. But for now, that issue has not been discussed,” replied Banda.