PATRIOTIC Front deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri says UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka must question why lives are lost whenever their leader, Hakainde Hichilema, embarks on a gathering or is summoned by police.

And Phiri has insisted that Hichilema’s umungulu (purposelessness) caused the death of state prosecutor Nsama Nsama and UPND sympathiser Joseph Kaunda.

In a statement, Tuesday, Phiri said demanding that President Edgar Lungu should step down was a clear admission of panic and defeat.

“Demanding that President Lungu steps down is a clear admission of panic and defeat before we even go to the 2021 polls by Mr Katuka and his fellow leaders in the UPND. We are in a democratic dispensation and as such, Zambian citizens by law are the ones that elect a President. There is no handover on a silver platter as was the case in UPND in 2006 when power was handed over to Mr Hichilema. That culture will not be brought to statehood. Mr Katuka and his party should know better. UPND should allow police to conduct its investigations exhaustively. We urge Mr Katuka to be exemplary in his statements and avoid being prejudiced. If he has knowledge of the shooters as indicated by Mr Hichilema that snipers were placed in the crowd on that fateful day, let him assist police in identifying the killers. Mr Katuka should ask himself why it should be that each time Mr Hichilema embarks on a gathering or is summoned by police, innocent lives must be lost,” Phiri stated.

“Why is it that people have to die around him in very suspicious circumstances? When PF leaders are summoned, they ensure peace prevails among those offering them solidarity. Why is it the opposite with Mr Hichilema? Two of these incidents are well documented with videos taken and released by UPND cadres within minutes of the killings. It is our utmost hope that our colleagues in the UPND will sober up and desist from name dropping, finger pointing and panicking.”

She accused Katuka of issuing conflicting statements.

“We have noted with amazement the levels of panic and name dropping that has engulfed the UPND to the extent of party secretary general Mr Stephen Katuka issuing conflicting statements. It is first and foremost important that we respect institutions that govern this country. The level of disrespect in the UPND hierarchy towards President Edgar Lungu and his office leaves a bitter taste. It is not in our culture to publicly address elders and those in high office (especially the President) on first name basis. This speaks of a level of bitterness and disregard among UPND leaders for the very office they aspire to one day run. In his statement, Mr Katuka accuses President Lungu of questioning why UPND cadres escorted their leader to the police. I challenge him to show the nation where and when President Lungu mentioned UPND in his statement? The president categorically used the word “citizens’,” she said.

“Such naivety by the UPND is symbolic of guilt and panic. His queries over police presence at the funeral of the late UPND cadre yesterday are neither here nor there. It should give him comfort because police were there to ensure law and order prevails. We have seen how reckless, untamed, unruly and destructive UPND cadres become during funeral processions. Last time around they ran amok in the streets of Lusaka and damaged public and private property. If he has further queries on that, he should engage the police. We are surprised that today Mr Katuka questions the President and accuses him of instructing police to man the funeral when he has been at the forefront asking for police protection in UPND activities. The President is Commander-in Chief. Mr Katuka should be glad that police ensured a peaceful burial of the late UPND cadre and that is what every Zambian of goodwill expected.”

Phiri emphasized that politicians must use their own biological children as frontline political activists and not other people’s children.

“Let me conclude by reminding the UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka that I have always cautioned against placing other people’s children in harm’s way. So to Mucheleka let me repeat that politicians must use their own biological children as frontline political activists and not other people’s children. Stop those crocodile tears, enough is enough! Umungulu wakwa HH waingila muli Mucheleka nama cadre bakwe mwaipaisha Nsama Nsama Chipyoka and Joseph Kaunda.” stated Phiri.