UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says PF is a dictatorial party which is already using the National Registrations Office to disadvantage citizens in certain regions of the country.

And National Democratic Congress (NDC) vice-president Josephs Akafumba says the PF can only hang on to power if they rig the 2021 elections.

Speaking to journalists after visiting the National Registrations Office, Wednesday, Hichilema lamented that people in Monze were being made to wait for long periods before obtaining NRCs.

“My message is to the people of Zambia, We have seen such behavior from parties in office before. We saw it during the one party state. We saw it during 2001. We are seeing again but in all cases the people of Zambia won. This is a third attempt of a party in office to try and manipulate institutions such as the National Registration Office, deliberately manipulate it so that they can behave the way they are behaving. When you are from Monze something is wrong you are not supposed to be a equal citizen to get an NRC within five minutes. If you are from Chiengi, you can get an NRC within five minutes. So they are creating a duality among the citizens,” Hichilema said.

“In Malawi we saw it, there was dominance of branding Malawi from the Southern region, the central region was discriminated, the northern region was discriminated. What the Northern and Central region did ,they came together, they said all those who are being discriminated, let us come together, we will see who has more numbers. Mutharika is out! If we are united, the one who is denying citizens NRCs would be defeated. NRCS must be issued to everybody who is 16 years old, that is what the Constitution says. We went to the office, they refused to see us. Our own institutions refused to see us the owners of the institutions that is what dictators do!”

Hichilema insisted that Bill 10 was targeted at keeping PF in office.

“We must see Bill 10 in the eyes of an autocrat that wants to stay in office, so is the issuance of the NRCs, so that we as the opposition parties cannot conduct intra party elections, when PF are doing it, we cannot do it, our people are arrested. That is what autocrats do!” Hichilema said.

“They stay in office to continue stealing to do all these things that they are doing. We have to reject this autocracy of staying in office with all these manipulations. I want to give hope to all of you, don’t lose hope because help is on the way. All of us who are being called disgruntled are in the majority. The reason why they have continued to manipulate us is because we are fragmented. If we unite, we will defeat them. Once we come together, the one who wants Bill 10 to amend the constitution to protect themselves will be defeated. Bill 10 goes nowhere. I put it to you that PF is a dictatorship!”

Hichilema wondered how the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) would manage to register nine million voters in 30 days.

“Can we have a dialogue platform to deal with all these issues, NRCs is one of them, Bill 10 being the other and the voter registration which they want to reduce to 30 days. How can they register nine million voters in the 30 days?” asked Hichilema.

And Akafumba said the only way PF can retain power in 2021 is through rigging.

“The appetite of the PF to hang on to power, I am using the word hang on because they have already lost the vote. What dictators do all over the world to hang on to power is to destroy all institutions of governance. That is what PF has managed to do from 2015 to date. What we have seen in Chiengi is just a tip of an iceberg. Lungu knows very well that he can no longer hang on to power without rigging. We are on guard as opposition partners and we are keeping on check. We cannot allow what is happening in Chiengi,” said Akafumba.