UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka has accused President Edgar Lungu of cheapening the position of the Republican Presidency with the continued buying of councillors from the opposition.

Reacting to the defection of Mpulungu Katwe Ward Councillor Patrick Mukolele to the PF, Katuka expressed disappointment that the President was targeting opposition councillors around the country under the disguise of inspecting developmental projects.

“Well, that is what they have been doing; most of the councillors who have gone, have not willingly gone away. There have either been lured, enticed and bought! That is how they get there, but you see, this is how we have cheapened Presidency. An entire President of a Republic going to target one councillor, that is how Edgar Lungu has cheapened the Presidency,” Katuka said.

“In the days of Kaunda it was not easy for the President to even talk to a councillor, or these other presidents before. But for Lungu, he can travel all the way to Mpulungu in the disguise that he is inspecting projects just to target one councillor.”

He said it was clear that President Lungu did not care about Zambians with the continued fostering of by-elections in an already stressed economy.

“And this creates a by-election! Right now, we are losing lives in these by-elections. We were in Roan and someone lost a life; now, in Kaoma, a life has been lost again so he is enjoying that lives are being lost! He is not a responsible President who is taking care of Zambians! He is not there to serve anybody; he is there to serve himself! He is not concerned about the cost of the by-elections because that is tax payers’ money being spent. But for him, as long as it will add a number to his number of councillors, he is happy,” he said.

“This is how irresponsible he is as a President, and completely unconcerned with what is happening to the country. The country is going through a very difficult time where a serious President should have sat down to reflect, analyze and find solutions. No wonder he went to Parliament with no solutions to the challenges that the Zambian people are facing.”

And Katuka warned councillors that defecting from one party to another would finish their political careers.

“For him (Mukolele), there is no issue. For him, he is creating another by-election, if possible, he can buy off so many other councillors. But my warning to those councillors is they should be careful that, because that is the end of his (their) political career because he will not be able to stand again in any other by-election; so meaning that is the end of their political career,” warned Katuka.