PEOPLE’s Alliance for Change president Andyford Banda says the rising number of defamation of the president cases are a ploy by government to intimidate those who speak against leaders as elections approach.

On Monday, police arrested 21-year-old Alex Munganga for defaming President Edgar Lungu on Facebook, while another man identified as Lawrence Kasonde was arrested in Kitwe last week for the same offense, joining a string of others who are before the courts of law for disparaging and insulting the Head of State.

In an interview, Banda said now that the 2021 elections were around the corner, it was clear that PF only wanted those who sang their praises.

“This also shows that as we are going to 2021, the PF are becoming more and more intolerant, they always want to look good, they always want to look smart. So anything that is said against the President or the PF is received with resistance. That is the reason why the only thing they have to do is to actually use the police to intimidate the people that are speaking. It is also a plan for them to scare more people from speaking because they don’t want people to talk. It is a ploy to make people stop talking and that people should only talk nice about the PF,” Banda said.

Banda said Zambians were frustrated because too many things had gone wrong.

“People are now frustrated and are fed up with the PF, they are just waiting for 12th August 2021. I mean the UNIP government came out out of power because of high mealie meal prices. Mealie meal prices have gone up and a lot of commodity prices have gone up as a result of the fluctuating Kwacha because we are an importing country. So people are getting frustrated and there is no defence that the PF have, that is why people are even ignoring their so called development of flyover bridges in Lusaka. No one is even talking about them. People are just ignoring whatever they do. The unfortunate part is that people are so blind, they can’t see that this is what is happening,” said Banda.

“The degrading of Zambia’s economic status by Fitch Ratings was inevitable because of how things have been running. The worst things are supposed to be coming our way. So it is unfortunate that we have reached this point but this was inevitable. So, this will make it difficult for Zambia to borrow money, it will make it difficult for Zambia even to grow because the other issue that is going to happen is that most investors will not be interested in investing in this country. We believe that the only thing that can change things is when a new government comes in place.”