Democratic Party president Harry Kalaba says he is not President Edgar Lungu’s enemy although the Head of State refers to him as such.

In an interview, Kalaba said having a difference of opinion on whether or not ministers who stayed in office when Parliament was dissolved in 2016 should pay back salaries and other emoluments accrued during that time could not make him an enemy.

“The President misled us that we should continue staying in office when Parliament was dissolved and now we are being told that we should pay back. And I am the only who said that I will pay back the money. I said I will payback when I was still Minister and when I resigned, I said give me the modalities I want to pay back and then the President said ‘some former minister is saying that he is going to pay back [is] our enemy’, I am not an enemy, I am not an enemy of the President. Since when did we quarrel with the President?” Kalaba asked.

“He must be seen to be serious with issues of the constitution are adhered to. But he was busy defending Ministers not paying back. Busy saying ‘how are they going to pay back this one is difficult’, if this one is difficult why did you agree with the same Constitutional Court, when they said that there is a third term and you quickly grabbed it and said ‘this is a good judgment’. Then they are busy telling us that ‘being in State House is like a prison’. Come on, you will not fool us. If it is a prison, why are you clamoring to [stay there]? Even when everything has collapsed, why are you clamoring? Let us all rise up and give President Lungu a red card.”

And Kalaba expressed confidence in forming government in 2021.

“I am forming government in 2021! When I resigned from the PF, everybody in Bahati constituency from the structures, in fact, even the districts, nobody remained in the PF. They all followed, all the wards and constituency, they all followed together with the people there. You will see what will happen in 2021, when we have elections. We understand that we are a multi-party state and we should accept that Zambian political views will always be aired. I don’t even believe that thing of stronghold. People have been asking what is my stronghold? But I have said I don’t have a stronghold, Zambia is our stronghold. This issue of stronghold has divided this country. It has encouraged ethnicity, it has encouraged regionalism, and it has encouraged people to begin defining themselves by provinces instead of being Zambians. So as a Democratic Party, we will insist on our strength and not our weaknesses. If the DP wins government, we will reach out to all political parties because we are a plural society,” said Kalaba.

“And as DP, we have intentions that we have private and quiet dialogue meetings with our fellow political parties without blowing the trumpets; because now we have seen that it is difficult for political parties to sit around the same table because the intention of the ruling party the PF is not genuine. On the other hand, they are smiling [and] on the other hand they are teargassing other.”