MAZABUKA Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo says PF’s assumption of an easy election victory next year is “wishful thinking” because their popularity is at its lowest owing to Zambia’s current economic crisis.

Commenting on PF chairman for elections Yafwa Mukanga’s remarks that Zambians had no option but to re-elect the PF because the PF had changed their lives, Nkombo described the PF’s confidence in winning next year’s general election as wishful thinking, saying the public mood had dramatically shifted against the ruling party since 2016 owing to the economic crisis.

“That is just wishful thinking and it is allowed for people to think wishfully. It is clear we are standing in two different positions, so depending on where you are standing, you view the world differently. This is not a call for any of us political players to play a psychological game with the people. We are going to be running for mandate for the people based on whether or not they think that the people who are leading us now have realised the full potential of this country or not. If they have realised the full potential as they claim that every one is happy as they claim…I also listened to the Head of State that he is surprised that people are complaining,” Nkombo said.

“It is clear that we are on two different viewpoints and if they (PF) cannot see the difficulties that many Zambians are going through right now it means that they have desensitised to the issues that affect the very people whose interest and aspirations they are going to take care of. Because of that, I think let us leave it to Zambians to make a decision, which will be the turning point for us players to understand they are, indeed, satisfied with the way the affairs are being run. But from where we stand, we think that the popularity of PF is at its lowest now. So, again I emphasise that depending on where you are standing, you see things differently. So, as far as we are concerned, we depend on the people, who have demonstrated they are ready for next year.”

And Nkombo argued that prisoners’ voting in next year’s polls would not advantage the UPND as PF remained the only party in regular contact with inmates.

“Well, human beings by their nature are very gullible. We think that the ECZ, much as they are acting on the judgement for the court, have rushed into this thing because, clearly, part of the guidelines are that none of us are going to be permitted to go inside the prisons to campaign. So, it means that the prisoners must pretend on the information that they have from outside to make a determination of who they want to vote for. So, clearly for us, we are of the view that the custodian of prisoners is government and government is run by PF, therefore, we will not be too far from the truth to think that the issue of prisoners voting may not be to our great advantage because we have no contact with them,” said Nkombo.