Patriotic Front secretary general Davies Mwila says the party has no time to respond to Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu’s recent remarks that Zambia is plagued with unbridled corruption because “he is a UPND sympathizer”.

During Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy programme last month, Archbishop Mpundu, the former Lusaka Catholic Diocese Bishop and president of the Zambia Council of Catholic Bishops, said corruption levels in Zambia were too high and described the country as no longer being a democracy but a kleptocracy ruled by thieves.

“This country is plagued with unbridled corruption and this has permeated on all the facets of our life. Many citizens, when they borrow a phrase from Nigerians…they jokingly refer to democracy as not a democracy but a kleptocracy. A kleptocracy is a dispensation whereby you have a government of thieves, by thieves and for thieves. That is bad, very bad! …When we come to our situation, it is very clear that this is corruption at the highest level; things are coming out; it is not things that we are digging up, no… A minister is found to be guilty, ‘no, I can’t throw him out’. Why can’t you throw him out?” wondered Archbishop Mpundu.

However, at a press briefing in Lusaka, Monday, Mwila said the party has opted to ignore Archbishop Mpundu’s remarks.

“Ba bishop Mpundu tatulefwaya ukubasuka (We don’t want to respond to Archbishop Mpundu). Baile (he went) as a special guest ku 20th anniversary for UPND. He is a sympathizer of UPND. Whatever he says, our position is that he is a UPND sympathizer,” Mwila said.

He said the party would not rig the 2021 general elections.

“Balebepa ati (they are lying that) PF has sold Zaffico, Zesco and the Airport to the Chinese. Bufi bonse (those are lies) just to get into State House, balya tabekengile mu (that one will never enter) State House,” Mwila said.

And Mwila said the central committee had resolved that President Edgar Lungu would stand on the PF ticket in 2021.

“Edgar Lungu is our candidate in 2021 the central committee has resolved because of the things that he has done as we are able to see. The central committee has given us a directive as secretariat that we will have to bring all the people who went and the new members to the party…We have done what the people wanted to do. We have done the roads, we have done the schools and the people of Zambia will vote for us. We are going to win convincingly by 50 +1. Rigging kubomba (rigging is working hard). Once we work, the people of Zambia will vote for us. Why are they jittery? They know that they are not going to win. Elo ba (and for) Hakainde eka (this is the) last [time], ngaba pona kwingila fye muchishala (if he loses in 2021, he will go into the garbage pit,” Mwila said.

He predicted that the party would win the 2021 elections by three million votes.

“Time is not with us. I appeal to all the structures in all the ten provinces, let’s go flat out and ensure that we take our children and get NRCs, this is very important. The Electoral Commission of Zambia wants to increase voters from six million to nine million, so three million must be ours. All the people who don’t want to work will be removed! The issue of load shedding and mealie meal, slowly mwebantu tulelwisha (we are working hard). We are going to have a central committee [meeting] on Saturday and these are the issues we will table. You are in safe hands under the leadership of Edgar Lungu,” said Mwila