UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka says it is a sign of fear for President Edgar Lungu to stop opposition political parties from campaigning when that is exactly what he is doing under the guise of inspecting projects.

During his press conference, Friday, President Lungu said he supported the police command for stoping political gatherings because this was not a campaign period.

Reacting to this in an interview, Katuka asked President Lungu to allow the opposition to mobilize freely so that they could “bruise him nicely in 2021.

“He has been going round the county in the pretense that he is inspecting government projects. At each of the rallies addressed, during his inspection of projects that is when he has been announcing that he is standing in 2021 and he has also been castigating other political parties at those rallies isn’t that campaigning? It is campaigning for sure! He should leave the ground open for all of us, so that we bruise him nicely in 2021. Lungu would be easy meat to beat in 2021. We would really love to see and meet Edgar Lungu in 2021. We would win by 11 O’clock,” Katuka said.

He argued that President Lungu had not been in politics long enough to understand how it works.

“You see the man amazes me. He doesn’t seem to understand he is supposed to be a leader. He should know that freedom of association and freedom of movement are fundamental human rights. People should be free to decide where they want to go. Being a politician now, I know his period in politics has been too short for him to become a President. He joined mainstream politics in 2011 and 2015 he is [become] President of a county; so the experience is not there. He has no experience that is why he doesn’t know how political parties operate. You know that president Sata (Michael) immediately he lost in 2008, the following day he hit the road running, campaigning for the next elections?” Katuka asked.

“So similarly, political parties should be engaging, how do we send our message to the people if we are not mobilizing and if we are not recruiting? I mean elections are not an event but a process; it starts from somewhere till election day. We should be able to engage the people and send our manifesto to them. People do not decide who to vote for on the voting day. People decide way back and they do that based on the messages you have been giving them. I think the man (President Lungu) doesn’t understand what politics is all about because of the short period he has been in politics and landing a very big position like President of a country. He needed a little experience for him to become a President than he has for now.”

He said the UPND would not stop mobilizing.

“It is a known fact that without mobilizing, you can’t win an election. Now he (President Lungu) is living in fear! He knows that he has no message for the people of Zambia, but we have a message for the people. And because of his failures, he doesn’t want us to tell the people how he has lamentably failed. That is why he is saying it is not campaign time, when it is campaign time,” said Katuka.

“We will continue mobilizing because that is our role as a political party. We can’t be a political party that does not mobilize. They (PF) are creating by elections, how do we participate in by elections if we are not mobilizing? And how do we win those by elections if we are not mobilizing? So we will continue and we will not listen to that nonsense!”