GREEN Party president Peter Sinkamba says it is unjustifiable for government officials to argue that they have no control over the crowds that follow President Edgar Lungu.

And Sinkamba says it has been a very difficult time for the opposition to mobilize because of restrictions on public gatherings.

In an interview, Sinkamba said it was very easy for President Lungu to control crowds.

“One of the reasons why COVID-19 has been difficult to control in the US and in Brazil where we have some of the high number of casualties of COVID-19 has been as a result of public gatherings which are uncontrolled such that the leaders themselves have been justifying that the meetings have not effect. The fact is that those gatherings are responsible for the spike in the number of cases in those countries. We have also seen that kind of trend here where the excuse given by not only the ministers but also State House that the gatherings are uncontrollable. It is not true because at the State House today, you can’t find those gatherings. When you go to the State House, there is order there because they use security to prevent those gatherings, meaning that those crowds can be controlled since there is already an example of a place where gatherings are not entertained,” Sinkamba said.

“If the President really wanted to control the crowds that follow him when he travels out of town, he cannot have any difficulties at all. The same security which is used to control the crowd at State House is the same security they can use to control the crowds anywhere. So, we do not agree with the notion that it is impossible to control those people. They just like it that the President is being surrounded by a lot of people. And in so doing, they are risking the lives of several people and the cases will keep going up.”

He said it is saddening that PF had continued disregarding public health guidelines.

“It is saddening and we think more needs to be done to ensure that we don’t use rhetoric to address a very serious public health matter. We need to be more sober about it and do the right thing. Generally, the PF leadership, the President inclusive, have not helped so much. Wherever there is a PF function, they don’t regard public health guidelines as stipulated in the law. And that is the challenge that we have,” Sinkamba said.

And Sinkamba said it has been difficult for opposition political parties to mobilize since the COVID-19 pendemic begun.

“It has been a very difficult time for us to mobilize because most of us had planned to have the installation of new leadership structures at district, provincial and national level. This has been very difficult to achieve because the activities require us to physically meet and also visit certain areas where our presence is required. But again, we want to comply with the law. We can also do what the PF is doing but we think that is not the right way to do it. So, we are using social media and radio stations as a mode of communication and that is making up for the loss. We only hope that our colleagues in the PF can emulate what the opposition is doing in that regard to avoid escalation of this COVID-19 in the country because the levels that we are reporting now are very dangerous. So, we need to be very serious and we should not use political rhetoric anymore. Otherwise, our hospitals at some point will fail to handle the situation, and we don’t want that to happen,” said Sinkamba.