UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa says PF should understand that tribal politics are no longer selling in Zambia because people are now enlightened and only want a government that will bring about economic emancipation.

And Mweetwa has condemned PF Lusaka Province chairman Paul Moonga’s claims that the people of Katuba voted for a tribe in the just ended Parliamentary by-elections saying its uncalled for even if the ruling party’s member of the Central Committee is trying to justify how he used all the money that the party pumped into campaigns.

In an interview, Mweetwa wondered why PF always wanted to call victory “tribal” only when it was in favor of the opposition.

“The comments by the campaign manager for the losing PF in the just-ended by-elections in Katuba are very unfortunate and democratically unfounded. His comments are not just highly misplaced, but they are a direct insult to the people of Katuba. PF is insulting the people of Katuba to call for an elections which you only want to win. When you win, then it’s democratic but when you lose you say people were voting for a tribe, it’s very unfortunate. But it speaks to the intellectual disposition of PF and their campaign manager because on the ballot, there were candidates standing on three political parties and the people of Katuba exercised their democratic right to choose a candidate who they felt met there aspirations. They decided to vote for a candidate who had worked with them,” Mweetwa said.

“Mr Moonga knows even as he’s talking like that, that the preferred candidate of choice for the people of Katuba was Bampi Kapalasa, regardless of which political party he was going to stand on, he was favoured by the majority because of the work he has done on the ground and standing on the UPND was even a bonus. UPND is a party of choice in Katuba, it is party of choice in Central Province and it is a party of choice now in the whole country. You can see our performances even in Lubwa ward in Kitwe, where people were trying to make issues with why UPND was participating in Kitwe, but you saw the results.”

Mweetwa said it was disheartening to note that Zambia still had leaders who wanted to thrive on politics of tribal divisions.

“But I understand him because I am told that he was given a lot of money to manage that campaign and he’s trying to justify where that money went, that he lost elections. So he can be excused for coming up with such tantrums that do not reflect what is on the ground. Time has come to be issue-based, they can continue to trumpet tribalism but people have realised that this is a political gimmick to divide the people. People now want to vote for solutions to the economy. Issues of tribe are no longer selling because we are all suffering, they lost in Katuba because of the bad state of roads in Katuba, lack of schools and clinics,” he said.

And Mweetwa wondered why Moonga would claim that the opposition was blocking development in its strongholds when most areas in the ruling party strongholds were underdeveloped as well.

“I have traversed this country myself at public account, to all the ten Provinces of this country I have been there, many constituencies that are under PF, some of them are the most highly underdeveloped in this country. Luapula is the most underdeveloped Province in Zambia, but it is wholly under PF. Why are they not developing it? It is because they lack capacity, development should come from the central government, regardless of who the MP is. And in any case, who told Paul Moonga that the opposition MPs have been preventing government from taking development? Where has he ever found me for instance telling government not to bring in Choma because if Choma is developed then credit will go to government? We are always lobbied government to bring development to our constituencies, the late honourable Patricia Mwashingwele was always on the floor of the House lobbying for development to go to Katuba. So when he’s talking about opposition stopping government to bring development to the area, it is a sham!” Mweetwa said

“In case he doesn’t know, me as MP for Choma, I work with the government of the day by holding them accountable in Parliament, by asking them where they are taking the money we approve in the national budget. When we have anomalies, we question them on the floor of the House, so that they explain and we hold them to account. That as how we as members of parliament, whether ruling or opposition work with the government of the day.”

Meanwhile, Mweetwa tipped the PF that tribal politics and vote buying were no longer selling in Zambia because people were enlightened.

“We are now approaching a convergent zone as Zambians where we are saying leadership must be based on merit; not on divisions, deceit and vote buying… those votes PF got in Katuba, which they are happy that they are closing the gap, which gap are they trying to close? More than 80 per cent of those votes that they got were in exchange of mealie-meal, money, chickens. But us we went into Katiba without a single piece of Chitenge, we went with a credible message that resonated well with the people of Katuba. That is what PF needs to begin to learn. If they continue to go into an area because they are in the ruling, to continue to trumpet divisions in order to divide the country on tribal lines, it is over. That is the reason why UPND recently won a councilor seat in Petauke, in what was formerly a stronghold of PF but it’s no longer, because the people of Zambia are fed up with deceit,” said Mweetwa.

“Time has come for all of us to give our country the best. So divisive rhetoric can no longer hold water.”