FORMER Home Affairs deputy minister Colonel Panji Kaunda says the PF will have to work extremely hard if they want to convince Zambians to trust them again.
And Col Kaunda has advised the PF leadership to genuinely apologise to Zambians and to rebrand themselves, arguing that the country needs a strong opposition for UPND to govern properly.
In an interview, Col Kaunda said the PF leadership became arrogant and did not listen to genuine advice.
“The arrogance that went into the PF officials was that they could not listen to anybody. Anyone who tried to advise them was called names but we had genuine advice of telling them ‘this is what went wrong, so listen to us’ but they never listened. Bemba’s say ‘umwana ashumfwa, amenene umwefu kwikoshi’. This is what has happened to these guys, they were never listening and the axe has fallen on their heads and that is so. The PF will have to work very hard to convince the people because their results were very bad,” he said.
Col Kaunda said PF did not appreciate every Zambian because only party members had exclusive access to the country’s wealth.
“It is the mental change. They have to change mentally for them to change. When you hear the SG [Davies Mwila] stand up and talk to the councillors saying ‘you councillors if you have 500 plots, reserve some for cadres and why are PF cadres allowing UPND cadres to occupy spaces?’ Such utterances are unZambian. I hope the UPND will learn from this. This country should be open for every person who lives in Zambia whether it is PF, UPND, MMD or whatever. They must have access to the wealth of this country,” he said.
“What the PF was doing is literally denying every person who was not a PF cadre, they would not have anything. They made this country as if it was personally for the PF. A government must appreciate all Zambians because they belong to this country and they must benefit from the wealth of this country. So the PF must change their minds towards how they handle things. If this leadership will not change, then they will not change. A new leadership must come in and maybe they will be attractive.”
And Col Kaunda said the PF did not honour their initial campaign promises of lower taxes and more jobs but instead focused on infrastructure projects.
He further advised the PF leadership to genuinely apologize to Zambians for the wrongs.
“A manifesto is a document that will highlight what a party intends to do. In terms of PF, they were going to employ our youths, put more money in pockets, lower taxes but all those promises were hardly honoured. Development was based on the infrastructure that was built in Lusaka which made it even look uglier than it was before. They thought Lusaka was Zambia but people in other areas were suffering. The economy went down, people could not afford anything. So the whole country came to a standstill. Come to the economy, we were almost bankrupt. So many things went wrong,” he said.
“When it came to election campaigns, we definitely put tribalism as the point to our campaigns as PF and Zambians don’t like that. That is the reason they have come out in masses that we are not tribalists or thieves. So these are some of the issues that PF needs to do redeem themselves, they must look into. I hope and pray that they are going to re-examine themselves and honestly say sorry to Zambians and will rebrand themselves because we need a strong opposition for government to govern properly.”
Meanwhile, Col Kaunda said PF lost focus after the death of its founding leader, Micheal Sata, adding that the new leaders took government as a personal business to make money.
“Most politicians in Africa when they form government lose sight of what their aim was before they joined government, which is to serve the people that ushered them into government. So PF lost that focus when we lost the founding father of the party. The people that took over, took the government as personal business to make money. We saw a lot of corruption amongst ourselves; we put caderism as a tool during elections. We forgot that Zambians were suffering by being harassed at the bus stops and markets and wherever they needed to get a service. Those who were giving services in government, you needed to pay something as a bribe. So those are some of the things that they lost out on. We did not fulfill the promises that were indicated in manifestos,” said Col Kaunda.