OUTGOING President Edgar Lungu has revealed that some of his colleagues pressured him to consider petitioning the presidential election results.
And Lungu says the PF has lost power just after 10 years because of violence, further advising President-Elect Hakainde Hichilema to put an end to the vice if he wants to go beyond five years.
Addressing mourners during the burial of the late PF North-Western Province chairperson Jackson Kungo, Wednesday, President Lungu said he decided against petitioning the presidential election results because a lot of damage would have been done to the country during the stipulated 14-day period.
“When Mr [Michael] Sata died and we had a chance to decide upon ourselves as to who takes over from Mr Sata using the constitution, there was an issue of whether it was me as acting president by the time he died or whether Mr Guy Scott should act as President. When I realised that jostling for power will lead to disintegration of the government and the state and indeed the Zambian people, I said to Dr Guy Scott, take the power and lead us for 90 days because Zambia is much more important to me than power,” he said.
“Even this time around, I felt under pressure from some of my colleagues that we should consider going to court and petition the election results. I said it’s a waste of time because at the end of the day, the tension that we experienced in 2016 was not worth it because by the time we finished the 14 days, a lot of damage would have been done to the Zambian people. I said let’s just give up. Those who want to go and contest for their Parliamentary seats can do so but I think the Presidential petition will not help us. That’s how I abandoned it. I have assured the President-elect that you take over because Zambia is not worth dying for. Your Presidency, my Presidency is not worth dying for.”
And President Lungu said the UPND government would not go beyond five years in government if political violence was not curbed.
“I will tell you one secret. When we met President-elect Hakainde Hichilema, I told him point blank; UNIP lasted 27 years and they went because of violence. MMD lasted 20 years and they went down because of violence. We as PF have gone down 10 years because of violence, and you will be lucky to go beyond 5 years because of the violence I’m seeing today in Zambia. I’m saying this because I’ve seeing trending videos showing harassment of police, ordinary citizens, torture of members of the Patriotic Front, destruction of property, we have seen this. When I said we went to President Hakainde Hichilema, I said please control your people, and he says you are still commander-in-chief you should be the one to do it. We are doing our best but I can assure you that unless he comes out forcefully and sorts his people, his government will not go beyond five years because Zambians are fed up,” he said.
“I want to assure President-elect Hakainde Hichilema that we will work together within the realm of the law to ensure that this country will remain safe and I will hand over power in a safe manner. It is for that reason we have been appealing to PF cadres and officials to calm down and look for police protection until we hand over office because when we begin to fight back, this country will plunge into civil war. What happens when two people fight, the beneficiaries are others who are not in this fight. So if we destroy this country, others, not Zambians will benefit from our wars, they come here as peacekeepers, they will come here to do mining, they will come here to do everything while we will be looking for a peaceful solution to go into the future.”
The Head of State said the late Kungo was murdered because assailants thought he was trying to rig the elections.
“The attack on Mr Kungo by a gang of criminals masquerading as UPND party cadres, protecting their vote was unwarranted as he, the late Kungo, was going about party functions. As you may be aware, political parties are required by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to buy and provide voter registers to their polling agents and on 12th August, 2021. This is exactly what Mr Kungo was doing. He was our PF North Western chairperson, he was just taking these registers to polling agents. We know they had targeted him amongst many others in the North Western Province as teams to be slaughtered because they thought he was influencing the change in the Province in favour of PF,” President Lungu said.
“The killers used the opportunity of his visit to the school and accused him of carrying pre-marked ballot papers to rig elections. They dragged him out, tortured him, and they were overwhelming in numbers, not even security men there could save his life. Our members were attacked and maimed in similar situations in Western Province and most of all in Southern Province where we recorded another death on that same day. All this was in response to the advice of their party leaders that whoever you see from PF coming near the ballot boxes, or polling stations, please sort him out because they are bringing pre-marked ballot papers which was not the case because we haven’t seen any pre-marked ballot papers in this election.”
Meanwhile President Lungu urged citizens to coexist peacefully, regardless of which party they belonged to.
“We were told by UPND that they will create more jobs for us when they form government, but they are killing jobs before they even take over government. Where will the new jobs come from? When we see Zambians courageously and openly carry guns, machetes and different weapons in the name of politics, then it is clear that we are rapidly departing from the values of who we are. We need to love one another and coexist regardless of political affiliation,” said President Lungu.
“We are blaming UPND for all this because the winners were UPND and the people who are destroying were actually celebrating the victory. When we won power in 2011, we celebrated as PF. Did we destroy properties, did we kill people because of being joyous? MMD in 1991 won power and most of us were there. Did we take to the streets and begin looting and killing people? What we need to know is that those properties that were destroyed affected people’s livelihoods. Whether it is ECL Shopping Mall, the people who work there, earn a living from there, have no livelihood anymore until God knows when.”