UPND Deputy Secretary General Patrick Mucheleka says PF Luapula Provincial chairman Nickson Chilangwa’s directive to District Commissioners to be campaigning for the ruling party during elections is an example of how the PF has been disregarding the law.

And Mucheleka says PF Secretary General Davies Mwila is not the right person to claim that Bahati constituency is a PF stronghold because he was defeated by an independent candidate in neighbouring Chipili constituency in 2016.

In an interview, Monday, Mucheleka condemned Chilangwa’s directive.

“The PF have reached a stage where they think that they are above the law and you can hear such careless statements from people like Nickson Chilangwa directing civil servants to be partisan in their favour. Those civil servants are paid using tax payers money and the reason the constitution doesn’t allow them to be actively involved in partisan politics is because they are supposed to work for all citizens regardless of their political affiliation. Now PF want civil servants to be leaving their offices to go and campaign for them or they would fire them, what kind of reasoning is that? How can you continue disregarding the law in such a manner? Chilangwa was abusing his authority to bully civil servants and it’s just a matter of time before such people are held to account for their actions. This is the reason you find that they leave well qualified people and employ PF cadres so that they should be puppets and use public resources for party activities. In Sesheke, there were a lot of Civil Servants; District Commissioners and others, who instead of being in offices to serve people, they were busy campaigning for PF. But despite using civil servants and state resources, they lost terribly because the people now know what they want,” Mucheleka said.

He wondered how government could fire Sesheke police officers for allegedly being partisan when the ruling party was encouraging civil servants to be involved in politics.

“The law is very clear, it does not allow civil servants to actively engage in partisan politics. However, under the PF, there is serious breakdown of the rule of law and we have reached a level where the PF are breaking the law with impunity. What they don’t understand is that sooner than later, there will be consequences for those civil servants who are encouraged to participate in politics. You have seen how they have gone ahead to retire in public interest, national interest, innocent people they perceive to be supporters of the opposition, especially the UPND but themselves are encouraging civil servants to be partisan,” Mucheleka said.

“But then we have the electoral commission of Zambia which is expected to enforce the electoral code of conduct which is very clear and it completely bars civil servants from participating in active politics, but because we have a useless, a moribund, good for nothing ECZ, it is allowed and we have seen how the PF through minister of home affairs have hijacked the responsibility of running elections. They have put in the ECZ, commissioners who are PF cadres and some of them are foreigners, how can they enforce the electoral code of conduct?”

And Mucheleka said it was laughable for Mwila to claim that Bahati constituency was a PF stronghold.

“It is laughable to hear Davies Mwila claiming that Bahati Constitutency is a PF stronghold, which stronghold? In case some people don’t know, Bahati shares its boundary with Chipili constituency where Davies Mwila lost an election to an independent candidate, honourable Javis Chabi. He was walloped hands down despite having been a serving minister of home affairs. He failed to convince the people to vote for him despite all the resources and influence, how then can Davies Mwila be the one to claim that Bahati is the PF stronghold when the constituency neighbouring Bahati rejected him? How can he claim that the PF is popular in Luapula when he was rejected himself by the people there, and he is now secretary general of the PF?” asked Mucheleka.

“They are claiming that they love Luapula and that it’s their stronghold, how can you claim to love a place as a government with such a high poverty rate? Luapula Province is one of the poorest provinces with the poverty rate at about 80%. Look at the performance of pupils at grade 12, Luapula was the worst performing province last year with 53%, they were at the tail end on number ten. Southern Province was the highest at about 75% pass rate. So how can PF claim that they love Luapula and it’s their strong hold, without working towards improving the living standards of the people? And if you check, you will observe that most ministers, former high ranking army officers who have been arrested for stealing state resources are from Luapula, they only care about themselves, they forget the suffering of the people.”