UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says in order to end corruption in the country, there is need for the Opposition Alliance to field one candidate in next year’s general election.

And Hichilema says the Judiciary and Army should emulate their Malawian counterparts and work in the public interest.

In an interview, Hichilema said NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili’s suggestion to field one candidate at next year’s crucial presidential election was the way to go.

“There is no option to unity of purpose. As we seek to rebuild the country, unity is the platform on which we can rebuild the country. Re-uniting our people for a purpose and re-constructing the economy destroyed by the PF is the basic minimum. I think that suggestion cannot be challenged by anyone seeking public office in order to serve, not to steal, as we see under the PF. PF is there to look after themselves. In order to remove an autocratic government of the PF, in order to end corruption, which has damaged our society beyond imagination, in order to bring our people to end segregation, which is quite evident. You can see from the appointments in the Cabinet, appointments in the ambassadorial appointment. So, in order to end this, we need unity of all well-meaning opposition parties,” Hichilema said.

“And not just political parties, other formations of right-thinking Zambians, other Zambians, who love this country, who retrieve it from total collapse. What I see in 2021, what is desirable is two groups as it has always been. In the early 1990s, it was Zambians who wanted democracy against the One-Party-State, Zambians won. As it was in 2001, somebody wanted to perpetuate themselves in office against the Constitution as they are doing now under Bill 10, Zambians won. For the fourth time in our history as a country, there should be one group that consists of the bad, the PF and their surrogate parties, and a small number of corrupt people, who are enjoying and benefiting at the expense of the people who cannot be allowed to talk and get arrested. And after getting arrested, they offer them a K30 million that is what corrupt people do. On one hand, they shoot you! If they don’t kill you, they rush to take you to the hospital and appear like they are good people.”

Hichilema argued that the sole candidate selected would represent the majority of Zambians.

“The other group is the nationalists, the genuine opposition political parties, like ourselves, it is the upright church that have stood on the side of the oppressed, it is the so-called disgruntled youths, it is the marketeers that are suffering, those who are retired in national interest from public service, those who go to bed without food, it is everybody. So, it will be them in PF versus the rest of us in the country, and we will win! The people will win as they won before in historical cases. We should not divide ourselves and this is what my colleague, Kambwili, was saying. We should front one candidate; around that candidate, the good side of Zambia will be represented or will galvanize themselves and avoid fragmentation,” Hichilema said.

“Any attempt to fragment it is an attempt to indirectly support the PF that has no respect for the rule of law, respect for freedom of expression. So, let us liberate ourselves. The invitation goes to all of us, who are called downtrodden, offended by PF. We are in the majority to rise and work together to use our democratic platform to deliver change in an overwhelming manner, and not to allow the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to manipulate the will of the people.”

He observed that Zambians could learn lessons of unity from Malawians after that country successfully conducted a peaceful election, which resulted in a change of government.

“In Malawi, we learn lessons of unity among the people of Malawi, who refused to be segmented on the basis of the region they come from, the language they speak. I am sure you know that in Malawi, since the first independent president, Kamuzu Banda, four presidents came from one region. In Malawi, they have three regions; the South, the Central and the Northern Regions. After the One-Party-State was removed in 1993 in Malawi, all the four successive presidents came from one region that was from the southern region,” he recalled.

“So, the people of Malawi said, ‘we can’t allow the doctorial to rule at the expense of development of Malawi. So, they all got together and they removed the dictator. And the people of Malawi were resilient when the dictator was threatening them with teargas. The Judiciary worked for the people of Malawi, not for the corrupt ruling party; we can learn from that. The men and women in uniform stood on the side of the people. The (Electoral) Commission of Malawi removed the corrupt chairman who delivered a false election. We don’t want the Lundazi issues of 2016 where wrong results are being announced.”

And Hichilema insisted Zambia did not need international observers who were siding with the government to witness elections in 2021.

“The Malawians did not depend on international observers, who come and drink tea in hotels and then say: ‘the election was free and fair,’ that is unacceptable! And the international observers must be ashamed of themselves. The Malawians told the observers that, ‘we did it without your help; in 2019, you declared Peter Mutharika duly elected.’ If it were not for the people of Malawi who went to the streets, the Judiciary, who refused to be corrupted, there wouldn’t be a new Malawi today. The international observers all said the election in Malawi was free and fair, what shame! We don’t want international observers, who collude with corrupt regimes as was in Malawi as in in this country, Zambia, in declaring a fraud election free and fair election,” said Hichilema.