UPND vice-president Mutale Nalumango says no amount intimidation will prevent UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema from contesting this year’s general elections.

In an interview, Wednesday, Nalumango said it was unfortunate that government institutions were being used to intimidate Hichilema and the UPND by digging out cases relating to negotiations between individuals.

She added that the ruling party was scared of Hichilema that it was trying to find every means possible to try and keep him from being on the ballot.

“It doesn’t confirm anything else but persecution and fear from those that are in government. Using government institutions to persecute and intimidate president Hakainde Hichilema and the UPND. That is all it is about. You cannot start digging cases of that nature, of negotiations between individuals and you go digging people to find what they can say about it. We have even heard of cases where some people are probably alleging that they were not paid enough. What kind of contract is that? They didn’t pay enough? They didn’t pay you what you agreed on? So basically it is a very clear case that the Patriotic Front is so scared of Hakainde and the UPND that they have to find every means that they can, including illegality, to try to keep Hakainde from being on the ballot. It confirms how suitable he is and how well Zambians have received him thus far,” Nalumango said.

She cautioned the PF against abusing government institutions, saying they would not stop Hichilema from contesting the elections.

“Therefore my caution to the colleagues in the Patriotic Front who are misusing, abusing institutions of governance that includes; the police, the Anti-Corruption Commission or whatever institution they are using, that they should stop it. Because whatever national issues they have, whatever wicked plans they have, they will not stop Hakainde from by being on the ballot paper. Zambians through you must demand that he should be on the ballot paper. You cannot wake up a year into the elections and you start digging cases and some even swear ‘I swear he will not be there’. Are you sure it’s justice you are looking for or injustice?” Nalumango questioned.

“Why should you swear that somebody will not be on the ballot? Right or wrong, you have to have a reason why he should not be on a ballot. Where are these cases coming from? They are politically motivated. And when they intimidate Hakainde like this, let me speak to Zambians through you, today it’s Hakainde, tomorrow it will be you. Like Queen Esther once said ‘the fact that you are in a palace today does not safeguard your future’. The fact that you have intentions of being a President doesn’t support this behaviour because it will catch up with you in the future.”

Nalumango further stated that the ruling party had squeezed the democratic space for other players on the political scene.

She said people should not be deceived by the defections because UPND still had numbers.

“PF has been very undemocratic. There is no democratic space. You and I agree totally that they have squeezed the democratic space for other players on the political scene. This is the space where we are. We have survived this far and [we] will continue to survive and Zambians have decided for change. Don’t change your mind because you see the kind of defections they (PF) are doing for example what I saw, people who have gone a long time, bringing people from different provinces together so that they can look like they are so many. UPND, you should not fear. Let us soldier on because many are those who are with us, against those that are with them. We have many many people that are with UPND but because of the behaviour of the PF, whether its in the economic scene, people are scared to come out in the open. They are many who have hope in us including civil servants, so hold on. Professionalism is coming back. Police officers, you will once again be called ‘Boma’ because we will follow the rules of the land, you will not be harassed by cadres,” said Nalumango.