FORMER NDC leader and PF member, Chishimba Kambwili has insisted that the discouraging of public rallies by ECZ due to the COVID-19 pandemic will also disadvantage the Patriotic Front in this year’s general elections.

And Kambwili says he will not underrate political opponents but focus on selling the PF to the Zambian people.

In an interview, Kambwili insisted that PF, UPND and all political parties needed public rallies as they were a cardinal part of the electoral process.

“It is the ECZ that is discouraging the holding of campaign rallies. But my view is this and I will continue saying it, I do not think there can be elections without public meetings. Both the PF and the UPND and all the other political parties need public rallies. Public rallies are a cardinal part of the electoral process and they cannot be done away with. We can learn lessons, in Malawi there was Covid but they held public meetings, Uganda there was Covid, there were public meetings. The US where the numbers were out of this world, they held public meetings. Why does the ECZ want to disadvantage political players? Because that is a disadvantage to the PF as well, big disadvantage,” Kambwili said.

“We look at radio and TV receptions everywhere and even though, how many people have radios and televisions? So how are you going to reach out to the people? Through newspapers? How many people read newspapers? And you see, it is not every member of a political party or who goes door to door that know what PF really stands for or who can interpret the PF manifesto. That is left to the senior members who are left to do that. But can these senior members be able to go door to door telling the people about the PF manifesto? The answer is no. So my position on this one is very clear, we need public meetings because they are the only way you can reach out to the people and explain what you stand for and new things that you are going to do in order to win elections. That is my point. So I appeal to the Electoral Commission of Zambia to look into this issue and rescind their discouragement.”

And Kambwili said it would be wrong for him to underrate political opponents as his job was to make sure that he sells the PF to the people.

“It will be wrong for me to start saying that the UPND is not a factor or that they will not win. I should and we should concentrate on selling the PF to the people. Telling the people why the PF is the best, why they should not vote for the UPND or they should not vote for another political party, that is my job. And obviously to focus on the living standards of the people. My main concern is to uplift the living standards of the people. I am not going to start underrating other opponents. This is a race. And in a race when you start underrating your opponents you lose focus. I want to be in the field and campaign, tell the people why PF is the best and not other political parties including the UPND. So I will not say they are weak, they are strong but my job is to make sure that I sell the PF to the people, period,” said Kambwili.