EMBATTLED Democratic Party (DP) president Harry Kalaba says Zambia is at a cross roads because President Hakainde Hichilema is evolving into a “puppet master” who wants to control government from his community house.

And Kalaba has accused Special Assistant to the President for Politics Levy Ngoma of having meetings with suspended DP members as well as the Registrar of Societies in order to distabilise the opposition party.

But Ngoma has denied these allegations, saying there is need to change how politics are conducted in Zambia.

Addressing journalists, Tuesday, Kalaba said DP was concerned that the President and his agents had elected to involve themselves in the activities of his party.

“We are at the cross roads of deciding whether we should further advance the democracy and independence that our forefathers fought for with their sweat and blood or go back to a One-Party repressive system where the rights and privileges of the citizens were trampled upon by those in government with impunity. Zambia is at a crossroads because we have a President who is speedily evolving into a puppet master who wants to be controlling the activities of government from his community house with little consideration of the oath he swore; to protect and uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia,” he said.

“We in the DP are concerned that the Republican President, through his Special Assistant for Politics, has elected to get involved in the activities of the DP. When the information of the President’s involvement in the DP was brought to my attention late 2021, I reluctantly called the President and asked him to keep away from internal activities of other parties as that was and is tantamount to abuse of his office as Republican President. The President categorically denied any involvement or sponsoring anyone to destabilise the DP.”

Kalaba said President Hichilema’s acts took away so much from the presidency.

“It is however of great concern that while the President continues to refuse his involvement and sponsoring anyone to destabilize the DP, his Special Assistant for Politics has been having meetings with the Registrar of Societies as well as the suspended members of the DP. As a matter of fact, the same Special Assistant had a meeting with the DP renegades on Monday 17th January, 2022 between 19:05 and 20:00hrs,” he said.

“The said Special Assistant has even been having meetings with staff from Registrar of Societies to try and influence their decision and get them to favour the renegade group that is purporting to be the owners of the DP in clear contravention of the Law of the land. The acts being perpetrated by the President do not just take away from the Presidency but also takes away the dignity from this great institution. It is our position that the President must restrain himself from meddling in the affairs of the DP and focus on fixing the economic challenges that Zambians expect him to be focusing on.”

Kalaba said President Hichilema was trying to distabilise the DP because he was afraid to face him 2026.

“Why are you sending your special assistant to the Registrar of Societies if you are not just afraid of Harry Kalaba to meet you in 2026? Leave parties to operate independently and do not meddle in their affairs. We are filing in our nominations because the ECZ’s letter was clear. All these shenanigans going on of wanting to bring us down to derail us from providing effective checks and balances is not going to work. While faced with all these challenges which he promised to address when elected on August 12, 2021, President Hakainde has instead opted to spend his productive time and effort on the DP and its president,” he said.

“These acts by the President and his hired agents are not just meant to destabilize the country’s hard fought democracy but rather to entrench himself as a hardcore dictator who is ready to destroy any perceived political threat. I have a message for you sir, you cannot fight the will of the people. A time is coming when the 2.8m will reach out to the 1.8m so as to put the interest of the nation at the fore and protect the country’s democracy. And judging by your actions in Kabwata, that time is fast approaching.”

He charged that the ACC and DEC were operating under instruction from those linked to the UPND government.

“I am calling upon you as the fourth estate to take keen and active interest in what is going on in the country by covering without fear or favour the ills that are being perpetrated in the name of the President. We have raised concerns over institutions that are meant to support governance such as the DEC and ACC being allowed to operate with independence and yet what we are seeing today is the exact opposite as these institutions are now operating under instruction from those linked to the UPND government,” said Kalaba.

“Abuse is abuse regardless of which party the perpetrator belongs to. And if an act was wrong under the PF, it still remains wrong under the UPND and I will continue to flag issues of abuse, corruption, tribalism and regionalism, bullying and if President Hakainde and his agents feel that by disenfranchising the DP, they will be able to silence me, they are wrong as my values are not driven by a party but a greater conviction for a fair and more humane Zambia, an equitable Zambia that protects the welfare of its citizens.”

But in an interview, Ngoma denied the allegations.

“Those are false allegations. Why should I respond to Mr Kalaba so that I should give credence to his false accusations? It is not even necessary. I think there are better things to attend to than talking about false things. We need to change the way we are doing our politics in the country and it cannot be business as usual. You go and accuse this person falsely, no. There are better issues to do with the social and economic issues that we are supposed to address than these false allegations. Otherwise it is a sheer waste of time,” said Ngoma.