UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka says the PF government is more concerned in having more councilors than fighting COVID-19.

In an interview, Katuka said the announcement of the date for the upcoming by-elections by the Electoral Commission of Zambia in Nakato, Imayo and Bulilo wards indicated that the PF was more concerned about having more numbers in politics than fighting COVID-19.

ECZ set Tuesday June 9, 2020 as polling date for those wards.

“That goes to show you how unconcerned they are with the fight against the COVID-19! In one vein, they are saying there is COVID-19, so people should not meet; people should not gather in public places but when it comes to politics, as long as it comes to an extra ward, to them they will go ahead. They respect politics more than the lives of Zambian people. When we had Nangula by-election, we wrote to ECZ advising them not to go ahead with the by-election amidst this COVID threat; they went ahead and had this election. After that election and they won the seat, you heard Davies Mwila making a statement that we will appeal to ECZ not to have by-elections during this COVID arrangement. That is what Davies Mwila was saying and the same people now, they have announced more by-elections. After all, they induced those elections themselves,” Katuka said.

“So, we are not serious in the fight against COVID-19 that is what it means as a country. We are not concerned, no wonder the people are moving around, life is normal in town. People are just moving around and nobody is wearing the masks and so on. That shows how mediocre we are as a country or to say those who are governing us; because they are the ones who should respect this first but they are first ones to declare by-elections, meaning life must go on.”

He wondered how parties would campaign without holding meetings and public rallies as prescribed by the ECZ.

“How do you campaign without having a meetings, without talking to the people? In any competition, you have to sell yourself. How do you sell yourself? How you market yourself is by telling people who you are and what you stand for. So if we can’t tell the people who you are and what you stand for, how can we say we are marketing ourselves? So, I think in a nutshell, I can say the PF are not serious about this, no wonder they started gassing people. So, they are ready to kill us and remain in power without people. The PF are more interested in winning elections than looking after the welfare of the people,” he said.

When asked if the party had decided to take part in the elections despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Katuka UPND was yet to decide.

“We have to decide, we will meet and decide as a party whether we will participate or not. You know, it is suicidal at times for a big party like ours not to participate. It is difficult for us to avoid participating. So, we will decide whether to participate but it is dangerous for us not to participate because if we do’t participate, what will happen, they will go unopposed. I do not see these small parties going to challenge them. Even if they did, they will not even feel the impact, they will think it is a honeymoon for them,” Katuka said.

And Katuka expressed concern at how PF was using the COVID-19 pandemic to campaign.

“You see, this is how the playing field is not level. For them, it’s campaign full throttle, They are campaigning, they are printing those masks. They are conducting their elections. Remember, I announced intra party elections in the party and when we were supposed to start, then there was this COVID thing so we had to suspend but them, they have continued. I have been reading that honourable (Frank) Ng’ambi in Chifubu on Thursday was distributing the 12.5kg DMMU bags of mealie meal, that is campaign already,” said Katuka.