In an interview, Phiri explained that it was difficult for the PF to provide an updated position on whether or not the much-anticipated general conference would still go ahead amidst COVID-19 that had wreaked havoc worldwide.
“Yes, we have plans and we have put everything in place, but again, we have this challenge, which the devil has brought in this world called the COVID-19. We were supposed to have provincial elections in Lusaka, you saw what happened, it was disrupted to keep away from each other. As I am speaking to you, this outbreak has caught us unaware; let us wait and see where the situation will take us. After that, we will get back to you and tell you our plans. We have heard other countries, like in Uganda, made a pronouncement that the (general) elections will be held in 2023. We don’t know where we are going. How can we contemplate in this situation? I don’t know if this COVID-19 will take three years to finish, nobody knows. It is difficult to contemplate. When HIV/AIDS came, it was called a pandemic, has it gone? It is still with us!” Phiri exclaimed.
“Remember when this disease was reported in China? I have noticed the way we Zambians want to blame everything on government. Some people felt the government was not doing enough to evacuate the students from China. If the President (Edgar Lungu) bowed to the pressure from people who were saying, ‘he should bring back the children’ can you imagine the situation we could have been in today? Were we going to manage? I thank God he has given us a President, who is stable, who listens to his inner-self and doesn’t act on impulse.”
And Phiri called out on members of the public to be helpful to people who did not have food during the disease outbreak.
“I am urging all of us Zambians to put our hands together. Where I live, there is school of nursing, which has closed and there are some foreign students who are in this school, what I am doing is to extend a hand to them. I am giving them what I am able to give them; I have invited them to get vegetables from the farm. I have given them mealie meal. We have our brothers and sisters, who are living hand to mouth, if you know your neighbours are suffering, let us extend a hand because if your neighbour dies from hunger, remember what the Bible tells us; that I was hungry and you didn’t give me food,” said Phiri.