UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says it is petty for President Edgar Lungu to accuse him of being a tribalist just because he speaks out against the PF’s poor leadership which is affecting Zambian citizens.

On Sunday, President Lungu charged that opposition Hichilema would never get into State House because led a cult that thrived on tribalism.

“People who are in the opposition here don’t mean well, they want to portray this region as being tribal, a section of people who want to vote on tribal lines. Tell them that if they want to continue on that trajectory, they will never ever go to State House. No single person can champion political power and say we want political power because we are Bembas or Chewas, you can’t do that. You [should] want political power because you are national. That’s why I found it wise to come here and bring development despite getting very few votes,” said President Lungu.

“If there is a party which is democratic it is PF; if there is a party which is transparent, it is PF; if there is a party that is national in character, it is PF; not the one man party with a pocket agenda which is to take one man into State House. That is not a political party, that’s a cult. It’s a cult because when you lose so many times, you are supposed to go to the drawing board and say ‘what happened? Can we substitute?’ Then you put another player. They have never substituted their record breaking loser. He still wants to continue, you can’t win.”

But in a statement, Monday, Hichilema said he would continue fearlessly speaking out against hunger and other problems facing Zambians instead of being drawn into President Lungu’s pettiness.

“We won’t waste our time discussing petty issues amidst ongoing economic challenges. Standing for the people of Zambia against Lungu/PF failure and abuse is not tribalism, fighting PF corruption on roads, fire tenders, ambulances, contracts, etc is not tribalism; reminding PF not to over borrow and for consumption is not tribalism; telling Lungu that the price of mealie meal is too high and to declare hunger a emergency/disaster so that our people can receive food aid is not tribalism; calling on Mr. Lungu and his PF regime to find long lasting solutions to the current electricity loadsheding is not tribalism; fighting against the draconian Bill 10 is not tribalism, etc. We will continue speaking for the suffering masses without fear and will not be cowed by Lungu’s cries of wolf wolf and tribalism. Hunger and suffering knows no tribe as all our people across the 10 provinces of Zambia are suffering under the PF poor leadership,” stated Hichilema.

“Hope and help is on the way and State House does not belong to Lungu but to the people of Zambia who choose from time to time who temporarily occupies that residence to serve and not to steal from them.”

And in an interview, UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma insisted that the opposition party wouldn’t be forced to change its candidate.

“For the people of UPND, Hakainde is the preferred candidate, it is our choice and we have also heard PF members declaring that Edgar Lungu is the sole candidate it is also their choice. He will be the easiest candidate to beat. If they think that Edgar Lungu is a strong candidate, let them field him and they will be shocked. The issue of tribalism is long gone people are focusing more on issues that affect them. It has been forgotten by many Zambians they have seen how people are beginning to change throughout the country. Lupososhi which is the birth place of PF, we have beaten them! So for them to continue peddling the tribal issue, it will not help them,” said Kakoma.

“People are more concerned about load shedding. People are more concerned about the rising cost of mealie meal. People are more concerned about the hunger situation in their homes. People are getting more concerned about terrible situation at hospitals where people can’t find medicine. And in any case the PF have been saying that Northern, Luapula and Muchinga are no go areas for UPND and Hakainde Hichilema because HH is a Tonga that is also tribalism! To hell with that kind of thinking! And we are not worried about the issue of tribalism any more. It’s not Lungu to decide who will go to State House he should worry the least about that. The people of Zambia will decide.”