UPND national chairperson Mutale Nalumango says President Edgar Lungu is scheming to arrest her party leader Hakainde Hichilema because he fears to face him on the ballot next year.

And Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo has asked all UPND supporters to stay away from reacting to statements from chiefs “who survive on people’s pockets”.

Meanwhile, UPND Lusaka Province chairperson Obvious Mwaliteta says UPND members will put their heads on the chopping board to protect Hichilema until 2021.

Speaking at a joint press briefing which was held at Hichilema’s residence in Lusaka, Wednesday, Nalumango said the PF, led by Bizwell Mutale and Brave Mweetwa, had hatched a scheme to embarrass President Lungu in Southern Province and blame it on UPND.

“Our concern is what we hear that in fact, the PF and President Lungu have arranged PF thugs to be present in Monze, Maala or anywhere along the route of President Edgar Lungu and his entourage for them to disrupt his tour of the province. They want to do this so that they can blame it on the UPND and president Hakainde Hichilema. They have also arranged some of our members in UPND to be part of this scheme. We are have names of people that have been lined up, names like Bizwell Mutale who probably will be meeting some of the chiefs in Southern Province, names like Brave Mweetwa former DC for Siavonga, we are aware that there is a man commonly known as America 2 who is actually Mozambican by origin. Those are some of the people that we have learned are part of this scheme to cause confusion, disrupt and then blame it on president Hakainde and the UPND,” Nalumango said.

Nalumango charged that President Lungu wanted to arrest Hichilema because he feared competing against him in 2021.

“Why should this happen? It is because at the end of the day, President Edgar Lungu wants to arrest president Hakainde Hichilema all because of fear, and because he doesn’t want to see his name on the ballot paper come 2021. He also intends to buy some councilors, if he will manage, so as to perpetuate by-elections that are generally violent which he also wants to blame on UPND and president Hakainde Hichilema. We are aware of this scheme,” said Nalumango.

“We therefore warn them that such a scheme is evil and criminal in nature and should not be allowed at all. For us as a party, we want to advise our people to stay away from any of the activities that President Edgar Lungu will be carrying out. He can go there but let our people completely stay away so that we have no room for him to create the impression that he wants to create in order to arrest our president. We are aware that some of our members may be used to testify against the president.”

And Nkombo said police had allowed PF to hibernate under their operations to commit atrocities.

“There has been a general belief and some of us have seen it for ourselves, the issue of Zambia Police collaborating with PF. I think it’s no longer a secret that the Zambia Police under the leadership of Kakoma Kanganja and a few senior members have been allowing PF to hibernate while committing atrocities. I would like the country to remember that the last visit which President Lungu made in Monze East where PF cadres indiscriminately attacked villages in Bweengwa and the police did not record any single arrest. The plan that the PF have associated with the President’s visit, we would like to address the police to ensure that they exclude PF from their operations. They must exclude themselves from PF intentions because the truth has no disguise. Should it be the case that the police are going to allow PF to hibernate under their operations in order to cause disruptions on the President’s visit which is supposed to be well meaning and the President is supposed to be welcome, posterity is going to judge them harshly,” Nkombo said.

“The nation will hear most likely statements from the host chiefs Chona, Hamaundu, and maybe chief Mwanza, remarks that appear to be disparaging the UPND and it leader. We would like to pre-empt those statements by stating that it is very clear what the chiefs that I have mentioned stand for. And because they are our parents, we will not shy away from talking with them and also about them…So, even before they make their statements that we know have been coined by Bizwell Mutale and his group, we would like them to do some introspection. They must not put themselves in a mortgage cage because the visit of the President is only going to last for one day and after that one day, they will continue to co-mingle and associate with the people who they lead.”

Nkombo also urged his party members to stay away from commenting on statements that would be made by chiefs during President Lungu’s scheduled visit to the province.

“It is our wish that the chiefs remain with the respect, the decorum that comes along with that responsibility. However, we cannot control their thinking. It will be wise for people to know that you can fool people sometimes but you cannot fool them all the time. We have been down this road before where chiefs have been asked to make statements and they don’t even believe in themselves because of the envelops and money. So, we would like to tell our supporters countrywide that when you hear statements coming from chiefs who may be operating from people’s pockets, just take them on face-value. Continue respecting them as chiefs because it is their inherent inheritance and we cannot go in that domain,” said Nkombo.

Meanwhile, Mwaliteta said he was ready to put his head on the chopping board to protect Hichilema from any harm until 2021.

“We are going to protect HH from today up to 2021. HH will be protected and we are going to put our heads on the chopping board. If it means biting the bullet for him, we will bite the bullet. Whoever is planning to touch HH will touch us all. And this is not just talking. If you want, try it and see, I want to die as a person who ready to fight for this country,” said Mwaliteta.