UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka says he is confident that his party will emerge victorious in the 2021 general election because there is a wind of change sweeping in its favor.

And Katuka says the party has put in place strong mechanisms to ensure that the PF do not manipulate the 2021 general election like they did in 2016.

Meanwhile, Katuka says the party will usher in a new vice-president when the party goes for general conference.

In an interview, Katuka said the PF was campaigning for the UPND by poorly running the country.

“In fact, the other opponents who are saying: ‘no, they can’t reach 50 per cent plus one, they can’t do this’, those are interested parties. But I think Zambians have decided by now. I sit here, I receive calls, I receive people from the office, I can assure you it is very encouraging now than ever before to sit here and listen to people who are talking. The mood is change! The campaign is already being done by the PF itself for us. What they are doing is adding to our numbers. It will not be even 50 per cent, it will more than 60 plus if not 70,” Katuka said.

“They (PF) are annoying everyone through their mistakes! They are annoying the Zambian people who put them in office. For them, they believe that there is competition between them and the people, which shouldn’t be the case. The people put them in office in order for them to provide leadership, but now, they are fighting the people! You could see the arrogance of Edgar Lungu (during his media interaction), saying ‘Bill No 10 will go on whether people like it or not!’ That is a clear testimony that they are fighting against the people. Any responsible government knows it’s there for the people and by the people.”

Katuka said the country had reached its lowest levels with regards to the economy and respect of the rule of law.

“The PF are fighting the people. So, all that is helping us, it is campaigning for us. The hunger situation in the country, the electricity blues all that is campaigning for us because Zambians are not happy and they are complaining every day! People have been around since 1964, we have never had a government like this. We have never had a situation that we are in now before. The economy is collapsing, the rule of law is not there; it has collapsed, freedom of the people has collapsed! So, you can see that there are a lot of issues that are helping us to grow our numbers,” Katuka said.

“We can assure that we will be your servants because we are not going there to earn a living like our friends who went there to fill their pockets. They had no agenda for the people, they had an agenda for themselves. Which Minister is not richer than when he went in Parliament? Some of them, I know them, they learnt how to drive a vehicle already in Parliament and bought their first vehicles in Parliament. And today, they have 10 vehicles parked at home! We are not hungry for positions; we are not hungry to go and make money in government; this I can assure you. The UPND, under the leadership of Hakainde, will not do that. Even those who will be appointed as ministers in the party (UPND) should brace for harder times for themselves and not for the people.”

And when asked how the UPND would guarantee and safeguard their votes, Katuka said the party was working on implementing strong mechanisms, but fell short of detailing if a robust Parallel Voter Tabulation (PVT) would be enforced at the 2021 polls.

He explained that the UPND was not comfortable in revealing its electoral strategy on how it would ensure that votes would be safeguarded after next year, but assured that the party was on the ground in setting up strong measures.

“We can’t be discussing strategy in the papers! If we do that, then the enemy will get wind of it and they will find a way to counter that. So, that is a high-level discussion. So, what we intend to do will not be for public consumption. We will definitely protect our votes. Our principal, now, is that we have two pillars one; is to win and win big, and secondly, to protect the votes and form government,” Katuka said.

“We won’t allow them this time! We will keep our eyes on the ball. Wherever the ball goes, we’ll be seeing it and ensure that history does not repeat itself. We can’t allow history to be repeating itself. This time we are ready for them! We know what they did last time, where they rigged from, how they did it, we know. So, it will be foolish for us to allow it to happen again. So, I repeat: we will not allow them to steal from us again.”

Meanwhile, Katuka said the party was not in a hurry to select a new vice-president as the position would be filled at the party’s general conference.

“We are not in a hurry to appoint (a vice president) because it is said once bitten, twice shy. We appointed Canisius Banda and he disappointed us; we appointed GBM (Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba) from a cadre in another party we made him vice president, which was a very big leap and he disappointed us! So, we have been bitten before and we are cautious, treding very carefully. So, we do not want to make another mistake. We are going to general assembly soon, which you normally call convention. So, when we go to the convention, all these positions will be up for grabs,” said Katuka.