Patriotic Front (PF) media director Sunday Chanda says the ruling party is aware that the civil society organizations (CSOs) that have accused it of being a danger to the country’s peace and stability are all clamouring for relevance to their pay masters.
And Chanda says despite being the most insulted leader since Zambia’s independence, President Edgar Lungu is tolerant.
On Tuesday, a consortium of civil society organizations held a press briefing where they alleged that PF’s political architecture was a danger to peace and stability of the country.
The CSOs further said the appetite to cling to power by the current crop of leaders was worrisome and undermined the country’s democracy.
But in an interview, Wednesday, Chanda charged that some CSOs had gone to bed with the opposition.
“We are aware of civil society organizations that have gone to bed with the opposition in this country. And we know that the so-called consortium of civil society organizations is clamouring for relevance. They are fishing for issues that would make them relevant, issues that make them attract donor funding. I listened to those so-called consortium civil society organizations who are bent on driving a sponsored foreign agendas because we know that he who pays the piper dictates the tune. It is not in the interest of the so-called civil society consortium to see the dialogue and recommendations that came out for a better governance in this country. Theirs is to ensure that they continue to mistake dialogue for reconciliation, theirs is to ensure that we remain with incumbencies and the inaccuracies that we would have in the current legal framework in this country, to ensure that the lacunas persist because that is the only way that they can remain relevant to the donor community as well as to their bed fellows in the opposition,” Chanda said.
He said despite being the most insulted leader since Zambia’s independence, President Edgar Lungu was tolerant.
“There is no political administration in the history of this country that beat Patriotic Front political will to bring about the much desired political and governance reforms in this country. And unless people want to be dishonest with themselves, they can agree that under the Patriotic Front, freedoms have thrived more than any other administration before the administration of President Edgar Lungu. Today we have a President who is the most insulted president in the history of this country. He is insulted by civil society activists, and they still can manage to go back to their homes, they still can manage to sit in these air conditioned conference rooms and drink coffee,” he said.
Chanda wondered where the CSOs, drew the mandate to criticize the outcomes of the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) when the process had wide representation from all cross sections of society.
“We have provided for an opportunity by way of the National Dialogue Forum which attracted representation from a wide cross section of society including opposition political MPs and members of the UPND. We had professional bodies represented. Who is this consortium of eight civil society organizations? where do they draw their mandate? Who do they represent apart from capital and singing the tune of their funders? If they were civil society organizations worth writing home about, they would have been present at the NDF to raise whatever issues they want to raise. So let them criticize us all they can but what they cannot do is to dilute Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s governance record in this country,” Chanda said.
Chanda said the only reason why PF was delivering development around the country was so that it could stay in power.
“We can only advise the consortium of civil society organizations to transform themselves and convert themselves into a political organization and contest elections in 2021. There is no political party that goes into elections to lose power. The reason why the Patriotic Front is the only party with a manifesto in this country is because we want to deliver and the reason why we want to deliver is because we don’t want to get out of power. So we are not even apologetic. We are going to deliver to the expectations of the Zambian people so that we remain in power. We are sorry that their bed fellows have an appetite to remain in the opposition,” said Chanda.
“Look at this, unless the so-called civil societies are blind, they drive on the roads that the Patriotic Front is constructing across the country. They can see how we are transforming this country for the better. If they don’t understand the role of infrastructure in economic development, in attracting foreign direct investment, it is not our problem. And when they say we are borrowing, we are not borrowing for consumption. We are borrowing because we want to develop this country, we need to cure Zambia’s infrastructure deficit and ensure that this country becomes land-linked. Zambian must become an inter-connector in the region.”