UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma says the Patriotic Front is aiding the spread of coronavirus by holding public gatherings.

Last weekend, Kabushi PF member of parliament Bowman Lusambo met over 400 taxi drivers in his constituency and donated K400,000 meant for empowerment packages.

But commenting on the development, Kakoma wondered why the COVID-19 regulations were relaxed only in favour of the ruling party at the expense of the opposition.

“What is happening is that the ruling party is breaking all the COVID-19 rules that they made. They have disregarded issues of social distancing, they have disregarded the issue of mass gatherings, they have disregarded issues of face masks and, basically, where they are meeting these people in big groups, there is no washing of hands and no sanitizers. There is lawlessness! With such kind of behaviour, it will be difficult to control coronavirus in Zambia. These issues of coronavirus should have ended a long time ago if this government is serious. But there are the ones helping to spread it. They do not care about the lives of the people. There is selective application of the law. The way PF is going about its business, they think that the coronavirus can only become dangerous and infectious if the opposition is gathering,” Kakoma said.

“But if they are gathering and disobeying all the rules of the game, they think the coronavirus will not affect the people and it will not spread. That is myopic thinking! This virus does not select whether you are in the ruling or opposition, it is still infectious and can catch anyone. How they think that they are insulated from the virus is unthinkable. Where did they get the notion that coronavirus cannot be spread when they are the ones having gatherings? We know that they are just using this coronavirus to stifle mobilization by the opposition. They are using it as an excuse to make it impossible for the opposition to mobilize. They are saying, ‘under the new normal, we must begin to do some things as it used to be in the past.’ But how can the rules be relaxed only for PF and not for others? That should not be the case.”

And he also accused the PF of stopping the opposition from holding intra-party elections so that they could use it against them to prevent their participation at next year’s general election.

“But we know that their strategy is to stop the opposition from mobilizing and campaigning. Even for the opposition to hold intra-party elections, they are being denied an opportunity to do so. They are saying, ‘no gatherings for the opposition.’ And they know that under the Republican Constitution, for us to participate in the general elections in 2021, we need to conduct intra-party elections. They are stopping us from holding intra-party elections when nomination time comes next year, they will say, ‘you never held your elections and, therefore, you will not be allowed to participate’ and that is the trap that they are laying for us,” bemoaned Kakoma.