Harry Kalaba has advised President Edgar Lungu to start preparing for his exit in 2021 because even if he tries to use violence to perpetuate his stay in office, Zambians will vote him out.

And Kalaba has observed that government’s decision to legalise the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes at the proposed license fee of US$250,000 means the business is not for ordinary Zambians but for “friends of the President and the PF regime”.

Kalaba, the Democratic Party leader and former foreign affairs minister who resigned early last year, said in an interview that leaders must learn to leave power when it is time to go.

“We will not allow the PF to use violence as a tool to perpetuate their stay in government. Mark my words, we will not allow them! Some of us are prepared to go all the way and take the battle to their door steps. We will not allow PF to intimidate us. Anyway, for me, they can’t even intimidate me, this is not the time that I can be intimidated. They can use their cadres as much as they want but they are going out,” Kalaba said.

“Gambia tried what PF is doing, they tried to use youths and violence but it never worked. When the time to go comes, you just have to go. In Zambia, whether President Lungu relies on the youths or he doesn’t rely on the youths, he is history after 2021, and he better begins preparing for his exit. If I were him, I would want to behave honourably because violence is what has divided this country and right now, we don’t have a leadership that is committed to ending violence. I was in Sikoongo and they have been lying that it is the opposition parties which are violent. But it’s them, the PF. I was in Nchelenge and they came and attacked my delegation from nowhere and our vehicle was smashed. We were in Samfya but we were teargassed by the police for no apparent reason even with a permit in our hands, simply because they know power is slipping through their hands. We were in Kasempa and we were attacked. By who? By the PF.”

He said the PF’s time in power was up.

“Their time is up; they are not going to use violence to intimidate anybody. They have used those tactics [before] but have they scared us away? No they haven’t! If they want, they can use times 10 of those tactics, we will continue forging ahead to ensure that the Zambian people are liberated…,” Kalaba said.

And commenting on the legalisation of cultivation and exports of marijuana for medicinal purposes, Kalaba said the business was not for Zambians because the license fee was beyond the means of an ordinary citizen.

“There is nothing strange about legalising cannabis, developed countries do it. But I am only worried myself with the license which they have pegged at USD $250,000. It simply means it is not for Zambians. Open your eyes, it’s not for Zambians. It’s for the friends of the President and the PF regime. It’s got nothing to do with Zambians. USD $250,000 is equivalent to about K3.5 million at today’s rate. Who would afford that kind of money? Who? Nobody would afford amongst Zambians. But their friends have convinced them to say ‘we can make money out of this’,” said Kalaba. “For the PF, anything that they can make money out of, they will rush for it, it’s got nothing to do with the poor Zambians, it’s got everything to do with themselves. So what will happen is they will be getting money and our youths will just be given weed to smoke. They will just end up confusing our youths, the money is going to go out of this country.”