UPND national spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa says President Edgar Lungu’s pronouncement about Zambia having free and fair elections to the Diplomatic Corps is a sign he has realised that this country has seen too much blood.

And Mweetwa has observed that the PF have hit a brick wall in that they have now returned to their own vomit by pleading with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an economic bailout package after earlier insulting the international community.

Commenting on President Lungu’s remarks where he assured the Diplomatic Corps that the country would hold free, fair and transparent elections, Mweetwa said that the Head of State’s pronouncements were a realisation that Zambia had endured too much bloodshed.

The President’s pronouncement to diplomats comes in the wake of the police’s killing of State prosecutor Nsama Nsama and Joseph Kaunda last December.

“So, to talk about free and fair elections, it is nice to hear it from President Lungu and I would also hope that perhaps there is change of heart and I think that maybe he has realised that Zambia has seen too much blood, Zambia is not used to this and following the killing the of Nsama Nsama and Joseph Kaunda, we saw pronouncements being made by the Minister of Home Affairs (Stephen Kampyongo) that, ‘this is the last time this is happening, police will never do this again.’ I think that they did smell that blood and realised that that blood was spilled and lost needlessly, and I do hope that there was a point of convergence in accepting that you cannot continue on this trajectory to lead a country from peace to violence; from a state of law to lawlessness, especially realising that those endowed with political power presently will not wield it forever because whatever goes up one day must come down. And you don’t want that day when you are out to be held accountable that you were the one who left the country in the doldrums of violence and disorder,” Mweetwa said.

He, however, bemoaned that the opposition and the independent media had been under attack from the PF since 2016 to-date.

“For now, what has been happening from 2016 to now cannot go with that kind of assurance because a free and fair election starts years before the actual election is done. An election is not an activity, it’s not an event, it’s a series of events that culminates into the ballot to have an outcome, that outcome is a product of which years of engagement by political players with the citizenry. In the last four years, you know that the opposition and the media have been under attack from both the PF political leadership, the PF thuggery and the police. You are aware that the PF leadership using mainly DCs have stormed radio stations that are carrying out interviews of the opposition to purport to close those radio stations, disrupting the interviews. The nation is also aware that the opposition on many occasions have not been left to enjoy their constitutional rights of assembly, police would not allow gatherings and COVID-19 came as an added advantage to their appetite not to allow for political public gatherings. So, COVID-19 came as a bonus to them,” he added.

“You are also aware that a radio station carrying out an interview, even on phone with the opposition, has been attacked, just airing and not hosting per se, that’s how deteriorated our democracy has become under the leadership of President Lungu who, unfortunately, is a lawyer. Because one would have expected a lawyer to understand that politics is a marketplace, it’s a marketplace where contesting political parties should go and merchandise their views to try and persuade to gain public acceptance. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case, I do not know if it is a question of being outnumbered by those surrounding him who may not be dispositioned to understand these simple aspects of democracy and governance and the rule of law; I don’t know, or it is self-submission or in fact it is in his blood or DNA so to speak that he has forgotten that he is there by virtue of a vote from the people and, therefore, he should act as a leader and not a ruler because a ruler is one who has assumed authority or power by means of force or by means of ascendency through some lineage, now that is not the case.”

And Mweetwa, who is also Choma Central UPND member of parliament, observed that the PF had hit a brick wall as they had now returned to their own vomit by pleading with the IMF for an economic bailout package after earlier insulting the international community.

“It cannot be denied that the PF government has hit a brick wall, their fantasies and political honeymoon is over. If you recall, when President Lungu was opening Parliament, I think that was 2017, he bragged in the presence of the Diplomatic Corps who were in the gallery of Parliament. When opening Parliament, he said, ‘no one is going to choose who our friends are.’ He mentioned certain countries that were their all-weather friends and everybody else ‘can go to hell!’ They even went ahead to say they do not need an IMF bailout package, but where are we now? They have gone back to using political language, which Chishimba Kambwili was using to say, ‘I cannot go back to my vomit, I can’t eat my vomit.’ PF have gone to eat their vomit! They are now on their knees pleading with the international community, the IMF, to bail them out. We think that we would have a better country if the international community were to come to the aid of Zambia. The beneficiaries are Zambians, they are the ones who are suffering. These colleagues who are in PF, even when the economy is at its worst, when everybody else is suffering, the suffering does not concern them because they are not concerned,” said Mweetwa.