GOVERNANCE activist Brebner Changala says UPND Lusaka Province chairperson Obvious Mwaliteta’s statement that UPND cadres will set up branches everywhere, including markets, is a recipe for anarchy.

And PF member of the Central Committee Antonio Mwanza says Mwaliteta’s remarks indicate that the UPND leadership has endorsed what their cadres are doing in markets.

In an interview, Tuesday, Changala said Mwaliteta’s statement should not be entertained because President Hakainde Hichilema is on record denouncing cadreism.

“The statement by provincial chairman Mwaliteta to maintain structures in markets and bus stops is totally unacceptable and a recipe for anarchy. The President of the republic, who happens to be the supervising officer on Mwaliteta has clearly put it that there is no caderism anywhere, that includes the markets. The UPND has got structures and offices which they have been maintaining for the last 23 years and let them stick there,” he said.

“If UPND opens any office in the markets, they must allow Socialist Party to do it, they must allow PF to do it, they must allow MMD to do it and that is a recipe for chaos. So the UPND must not take us backward. We are looking forward and we have advanced a step further since the 12th August general elections. So out of failing to look after their cadres, they must not inconvenience the people of Zambia who rose in mass to free themselves. So Mwaliteta’s statement is null and void, it will not be entertained.”

And Changala said the PF rebranding exercise was bound to fail provided the same old people were chosen to lead the party.

“PF rebranding is a serious necessity but the problem is how they go about rebranding. The general election is over and the PF lost terribly and the cause of their loss is well known to the citizens and most importantly to the PF itself. What cost them an election was arrogance, corruption, caderism and the breakdown in the rule of law, anybody will do anything they want. Now for them to rise and say ‘we are rebranding’, my fear that their rebranding exercise is bound to fail is that the same flag bears on the PF, the image builders are the same people who want to rebrand. So they are bringing nothing to the table. So the best they could have done is to dissolve the entire central committee, do a postmortem and disappear in thin air and allow a new breed of leadership especially the youths to take up positions,” he said.

“So I wish them well but they must not walk the route that they walked into the general elections. They still have got arrogant people like Nakacinda, they have got the vice-president Mr Lubinda and a couple of luggage that need not to stay on the political scene because they are highly toxic to the management of our local politics. Maintaining the current crop of leadership in the PF will definitely be in vain to rebrand it. PF needs a new face of leadership. It doesn’t need the previous leadership which carries a tag of a corrupt political party, of a cadre-inspired criminal organization; they need to disappear in thin air. Given Lubinda’s political career has come to an end and he must accept it. So is president Edgar Lungu, so is madam Inonge Wina, and so is madam Nkandu Luo, so is Chishimba Kambwili. No matter how much he wants to take over that political party, he is equally politically gone by his own design.”

Meanwhile, PF member of the Central Committee Antonio Mwanza said Mwaliteta’s statement was an indication that the UPND leadership had endorsed what their cadres were doing in markets.

“In this country, it is like we don’t have the President because he doesn’t say anything about the cadres that are being beaten every day. People are being beaten in full view of people at courts. They are beating people at police stations and he is quiet. What Mwaliteta is trying to do is to officially tell you and me that what they are doing in those markets, they want to legitimize it by bringing it to the fore using an official platform. Mwaliteta cannot have a press briefing without the blessings of the leadership of the UPND,” he said.

“The markets should be free of politics. For him to have a press briefing, it is because the leadership of the UPND has endorsed what cadres are doing in the market. So what Mwailiteta has done is to tell them officially that cadres are taking over the markets. What would they be doing in markets if they are not running them? They are not serious.”

Mwanza charged that UPND had chased 89 drivers from Kulima Tower bus station.

“There is a matter in court where bus drivers from Kulima Tower alone have been chased from operating by UPND cadres. Even this morning, the complainants who are the drivers were in court today (Monday) because there was an injunction that was filed in the High Court to stop those UPND cadres from chasing the drivers, that injunction that was given out by the High Court has been disregarded by the UPND cadres. So the drivers have gone back to court and the hearing was today because the Judge wasn’t present; they have rescheduled to another date,” said Mwanza.

“The reality of the matter is that every person who is seen to be PF or they associated themselves with PF has been chased. The UPND cadres are charging to operate in the market, you have to pay. The issue is that cadres have taken over and the Minister of Local Government has admitted that cadres have taken over and he has made a statement that he will be meeting drivers who have been chased from the bus stations, but up to now has not met them. He has to meet those affected drivers and sort out that mess.”

Speaking during a briefing, Sunday, Mwaliteta said UPND cadres would set up branches everywhere including markets, but would not be collecting levy.

“Minister of local government my colleague, you have a task my brother. This PF, if you go to Simpsons there are those new markets, you cancel the list of those people who are going to occupy those markets and start afresh. Before street vendors are removed, we cannot remove street vendors without a solution. Can you restart afresh. All those shops the PF took over, they have taken 15 [each] person. These are greedy people. And I want to say this, my cadres will have branches everywhere including the markets,” said Mwaliteta.

“The only thing they won’t do is to levy, to take charge of the responsibility of the council. But our branches will be there because we are a political [party] with numbers. We are not going to take over the responsibility of the council, but branches will be there for UPND. So honourable Gary Nkombo, that new market which was built opposite Simpson, don’t entertain any list, it’s coming from the PF. It’s a trap. You will become a very unpopular minister if you do that. The way I know you, you are hardworking, consult us.”