UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka says it will not be easy to remove the PF from government if the opposition does not unite ahead of the upcoming August 12 general election.

In an interview, Mucheleka said opposition parties should unite ahead of the general election to ensure that the PF government was removed from power.

“We, the UPND, are ready and are willing to join hands with people of goodwill. How many of our people have been killed silently because of what has happened at Honeybee? And then you are seated thinking single-handedly, alone, you can remove PF from power, who tells you? That is wishful thinking! Why not join hands with experienced, tried political parties, such as the UPND? The point I am making is that, you make it easier when you join hands with a political party, such as UPND, that is already on the ground with a lot of structures. UPND can defeat PF, but it will not be easy. Even for us in the UPND, we must not think and become arrogant that on our own it will be easy to defeat PF. This is why we are inviting and calling other political parties to join hands with the UPND,” Mucheleka said.

“It will not be easy, that is why we must come together. Let us work together. If someone says, ‘it will be a walk in the park…’ It will not be. It will not be a walk in the park. Look at what they are preparing. First of all, they have absorbed the authority of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). ECZ has become an extension of the PF. Look at the abuse of the Zambia Police, they have turned the Zambian Police into a killing machine! As we go to the elections, Zambia Police with (Kakoma) Kanganja as IG? As if that is not enough, they have brought to Kanganja another symbol of brutality, Charity Katanga (Deputy Inspector General of Police). Charity Katanga is a symbol of police brutality!”

And Mucheleka called on churches and CSOs to join the call for opposition parties to unite in removing the PF from government.

“I am making a call to political parties, let us come together and unite. We do not have fundamental differences amongst ourselves. If, really, we intend to save the people of Zambia, you cannot single-handedly nashalaneka party…(one-man political party). Some of these people yesterday were looting with PF and now they say, ‘we want to serve the people of Zambia,’ how? The Church Mother Bodies and the Civil Society Organisations with all these things that are happening cannot afford to remain watching from a distance. They must begin to engage political parties in the opposition and say, ‘why don’t you people work together,’ they must not be shy,” urged Mucheleka.

“Let them not be clouded into silence by the PF. In the past, we have seen the churches speaking out strongly and calling opposition parties to join hands. Once they do that, they should not be accused of being partisan. They have done it in the past. The bigger picture is about responding to the challenges of our times, which are basically the issues on corruption, which is killing our people. Even those who are in PF, it is time if there are at all men and women with integrity, who can begin to distance themselves from President Lungu and say, ‘we do not agree with this,’ they must walk away.”