UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka has vowed that the party will commence mobilisation activities despite the call for parties to refrain from social gatherings.

In an interview, Katuka said it was unfair that President Edgar Lungu had continued to go round the country in the name of inspecting projects when he was in fact campaigning.

“President Lungu has not led by example in the COVID fight. This is why we should also start going around with or without COVID. We should start going on the ground, politics is a game of competition and we must send our message to the people how this government has failed them and we can only do that if we are engaging the people but he doesn’t want us to engage the people, he should be the only one telling people what he has done. People are not foolish, they have seen what he has done over the past four years so they will be able to judge even without him going to tell them, they have already made their decision. They know where this government has failed and what it has failed to do, Zambians know,” Katuka said.

“So him going round does not add value. It won’t change a thing, people are already resolved. They have seen that this government is full of deals, corruption, high deals in the PF pop up like balloons and people have been following. His going round, I think he is just playing games otherwise the people know what he is doing. We must mobilize, we are competitors in this game. We will also be going round whether permit or no permit, we are ready to start going round. We can’t be told to sit at home when he is traveling, he is all over the country.”

He said government’s handling of COVID-19 had raised doubt in people’s minds on the severity of the pandemic in Zambia.

“You can see the type of leadership we have, this is flawed leadership. This COVID fight is just window dressing. They are not serious with this fight and they can’t win this fight. That is why citizens are doubting whether it’s true or not. You saw when Dora Siliya came out that she was positive, people doubted that. Citizens were doubting that whether it is true or not because of the way they were handling this COVID fight. So, there is nothing serious about this government over the COVID thing. No wonder even patients are dancing in the confinement centre,” Katuka said.

“Nobody takes it seriously. It is the type of behavior of the government, through President Edgar Lungu, that makes people doubt how sincere they are with the fight against this COVID. There is always politicking around it, you can see the tell us that there is COVID you can’t assemble, you can’t do anything, meanwhile he is going round the country campaigning, what project is he inspecting? He is just campaigning for we all know. He is campaigning and getting gold from Mwinilunga.”

Katuka said President Lungu was using COVID-19 to restrict opposition political party movements.

“I saw somewhere where the President went and people had no masks and he never said a thing. If he was serious with the fight against COVID, he should avoid attending such meetings where he sees people are not observing the regulations but he has gone ahead to address such meetings showing that he is not convinced that there is COVID around. President Lungu does not believe that there is COVID around he is just using it to confine or restrict others from going outside the country so that he will take advantage himself in his usual style of trying to play hide and seek,” said Katuka.