Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela says Patriotic Front members should not retaliate to any violent acts perpetrated by the opposition because that tarnishes the image of the ruling party.

Featuring on Mphangwe FM, Thursday evening, Chitotela wondered why Easterners were engaged in intermittent acts of political violence ahead of the by-elections in the area this month.

“I want to ask all the parties taking part in these by elections the PF and UPND kuti nkhondo yai! A President Lungu banakana nkhondo. Imwe, ba PF, we have the responsibility to govern. Our friends have nothing to lose. They will provoke you deliberately so that they say ‘this is PF,’ so don’t retaliate when provoked. Peace is number one as violence does not pay anybody. If we want to enjoy being citizens of Zambia, let’s maintain peace at all cost,” Chitotela said.

“Violence doesn’t build anybody; violence makes all of us losers and I have always appealed to our Zambian politicians that, that which divides us is less than that which unites us. Zambia is our heritage because before we belong to any political party, the first thing that comes in our minds is that we are Zambians.”

He wondered why Easterners should fight each other.

“You are all Easterners, why should you fight? Nkhondo siyifunika, tifunika kunkhala pamtendere. You can’t be a leader without people, you need people to call you a leader, even our chiefs they can’t be chiefs without people. They need people to call them mafumu, azisogoleri,” he said.

Chitotela also challenged the Eastern Province police command to ensure they intensify police presence in all the areas where by-elections were taking place to ensure property is protected and loss of life is prevented.

“I want to appeal to the police command. Please, intensify the police presence to prevented criminals committing crimes in these areas. The role of the police is to protect property and preserve life,” he said.

And on the poor state of the roads in Katete and Chadiza, Chitotela argued that the contractor was “confused” by the member of parliament, among others.

“The problem which was here is what I can call ‘organised confusion’ where the DC calls the consultant, saying ‘we want this,’ the MP will go there and say ‘I want this.’ So, I have told the contractor not to listen to anyone apart from the employer, who is Road Development Agency (RDA), no diversion, no variation to that instruction,” said Chitotela.

Meanwhile, the same day, Thursday, Chitotela kept Sinda District Commissioner Paradious Sakala and other district departmental heads waiting from around 07:00-17:00 hours with no update on whether he was going to show up for a scheduled meeting, a situation which irritated some civil servants.

“This is unfair! They should have called or notified us through the DC that he is coming or not manje apa kucoka mawa kuyembekeza up to now, no show, nicilungamo ici so? At least ija yakuti banyamuka mukatete matiuza better so that we would have done one or two things in our offices,” some staff were overheard bitterly complaining.