UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka says PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri should not insult the intelligence of the Zambian people by saying President Edgar Lungu does not hold public gatherings but that people follow him as he inspects developmental projects.

In an interview, Mucheleka vowed that the party would hold gatherings with or without permission from the police.

“They must not underestimate our intelligence, Mumbi Phiri must not insult the intelligence of the Zambian people. How can you say ‘people are following the President?’ Who mobilizes those people? Is it not the PF who are mobilizing people to be where the President is? Why can’t they refuse saying there is COVID-19? Before President Lungu arrives, people already gather waiting for him. She speaks as though she is speaking to dull people. Zambians are very intelligent people. The issue of COVID-19 appears as though it is a God-given gift for them to use it against the opposition. If a party loses popularity because of corruption, poverty and unemployment which have become the features of the PF, they get scared of the opposition to mobilize,” Mucheleka said.

“As a party, you will find that we always adhere to the health regulations, including wearing masks, social distancing and applying hand sanitizers. We are doing all that but for them, it is still not enough. They will come and pounce on our people. They are exhibiting serious signs of dictatorship. President Edgar Lungu, senior officials in the party and his MPs have been moving everywhere, gathering without adhering to COVID-19 regulations and you will not see the police pouncing on them. For us, we have become accustomed to the leadership of the PF. As I speak to you, we are holding intra party elections across the country, we are almost done. Our people are able to go in the bush and hold the elections, with or without the police because it is our constitutional requirement.”

He said the party would not succumb to the ruling party’s intimidation.

“PF is doing everything possible to frustrate us but we are beating them at their own game. As they attempt to stop us, we are finding ways and means to communicate to our people. No amount of intimidation will slow us down, it will not work,” vowed Mucheleka.