PATRIOTIC Front deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri says President Edgar Lungu has not been holding public gatherings but people have been following him as he inspects developmental projects.

And Phiri says the Central Committee is yet to discuss the date for the general conference.

In an interview, Phiri said people get so excited when they see President Lungu, they follow him in reference to public meetings the Head of State had in Kafue, Rufunsa and Luangwa.

“Wasn’t there social distance? People just get excited, we know that we are supposed to keep social distance, he went to inspect projects. I was in self isolation for a month when this disease just came, you don’t need anyone to whip you. The President didn’t say he was going to visit the people of Kafue, he went specifically to inspect some projects which are not human beings. But human beings decide to go there, they are putting their lives at risk. But people as usual, that is how they are even if they are not invited, they go. I think us Zambians, we are used to gatecrashing events. That is why we gatecrash funerals,” Mumbi said.

Phiri said the meetings which the ruling party had been having were allowed by the council and the police because they adhered to COVID-19 regulations.

“We have Mr Hakainde Hichilema he was calling for a total lockdown and if you have noticed, Mr Hichilema is in self isolation. That is why even when you hear him making statements or he is featuring on a radio program, he is connecting at his house. That is his choice. Our President said whatever he is going to do will be based on science and if you look where he has been going, he is not greeting people, there is social distance. I can give you an example where they were defectors in Mufulira, people have been guided to follow the regulations,” Phiri said.

“When people are having meetings, they should call the council, they have a department of health and then you go to the police you are have police permit. If you ask the Commissioner for Copperbelt Province (Charity Katanga) she will tell you that the meeting which the PF had, they had these documents, they were cleared by the council and the police. The difficulty we have is people don’t want to follow simple things. Even the churches, the restaurants that is the same procedure before you open, that is what they are doing. We are in the new normal and the President did not lock himself even when it was tough. He went to inspect floods in Luapula, he also went to inspect projects under the new normal. He is keeping social distance. If you see the entourage he is going with, it is very small.”

Phiri wondered why UPND was insisting on holding intra party elections during the pandemic.

“I am baffled. I read a statement from honorable Charles Kakoma who said ‘the PF is stopping us from having elections’, we are also victims. We haven’t gone for the convention, we were supposed to have it in July, and it’s a health risk. We should be mindful. It is the same people who we want to risk their lives who we are going to ask for votes from. Even us, we are not having these elections. I was shocked that the UPND were boasting that we had a hidden district meeting, they are not promoting anybody, it is for their own good. If they are ready to die, that is their problem, we will bury them,” Phiri said.

Meanwhile, Phiri said the Central Committee is yet to discuss the way forward on the general conference which was scheduled to be held next month.

“We haven’t yet sat down, we haven’t had any meetings at Central Committee level. Hopefully, since things are easing up, we are looking at when exactly we can have a meeting. I can’t predict because I am just an individual, we have to brainstorm as Central Committee, it is not for an individual, it is a collective agreement,” said Phiri.