ARCHBISHOP Telesphore Mpundu says the ruling party is trying to use frivolous allegations to eliminate UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema from the 2021 race so that one crook, President Edgar Lungu, “remains in front”.

And Archbishop Mpundu says the current government is totally irresponsible.

Commenting on the shooting of two unarmed citizens by police in Lusaka last Wednesday, Archbishop Mpundu said Zambians had freedom of movement and the right to follow whomever they wanted.

“This country is not a concentration camp where people are forbidden even to move in support of someone, not even to demonstrate. No, this is wrong! Some people must tell them that this is very wrong. It is just harassment of someone, who is in opposition. Why harass him? That piece of land was purchased in 2004, today it is 2020 where were they all this time? Where were they? Now it has become an issue? It is just a way of just trying to find a fault against him so as to disqualify him for from the Presidency and to leave only one crook in front and that crook is the present President, there are no two ways about it,” Archbishop Mpundu said.

“So, it is wrong! It is totally wrong! You don’t claim victory when you have eliminated all opposition. It’s like a soccer team playing itself and declaring they have won. This is how primitive we are, we are very primitive in this country. Politically, we are in the Stone Age.”

And Archbishop Mpundu said the current government was irresponsible.

“It is totally irresponsible for the government to behave the way they behaved. I think they are playing with fire! One day, some things will start, which won’t be stopped and that is bad. Why during Christmas time ask someone to go to the police to deal with an issue, which is already in court? It is not even a criminal thing, it is a civil thing. Then people say, in sympathy, ‘we’ll go with him.’ [There] is no political space whatsoever,” Archbishop Mpundu said.

“So, this is unacceptable! Very irresponsible on the part of the government. They should be condemned with all the words we can find. That is not right. I terribly regret that this happened. Unnecessary deaths of people, what for? It is going to boomerang against the government! Those in opposition will be saying, ‘you see what’s happening to this government, killing people?’ Innocent people for nothing.”

Archbishop Mpundu lamented that freedom of expression was abused to the fullest in 2020 because Zambia was being ruled by an emperor.

“In 2020, freedom of expression has not been possible. How come those children, young people had to go into the bush to demonstrate? Can you imagine? In other countries, people even have a right to laugh at the President, ‘Haha, this is absolutely nonsense’ and so on. Here, you can’t do that because we have an empire here, this is not a republic. This is a Zambian empire like that empire from Central Africa. People must keep saying it, ‘we are in an empire and the emperor is Edgar Chagwa Lungu.’ Do we want to hold on to an emperor? No way!” said Archbishop Mpundu.