UPND spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa says only Zambians who are harbouring a lot of malice do not understand the recent fuel price increment.

In an interview, Mweetwa said the conflict between Russia and Ukraine was negatively affecting the world economy and, therefore, it would be malicious to argue that it’s the UPND government which is causing the fuel price hike.

“The issue of fuel adjustment is that fortunately many Zambians understand unless those who are harboring a lot of malice. The war which is obtaining between Russia and Ukraine has begun to bear negative fruits for the world economy. We already inherited an economy as a country which is struggling and carrying a heavy burden of unsustainable debt. We are barely having the economy to stand up and begin to walk. The support mechanisms we are relying on currently as the war is raging, we are seeing the world, the EU becoming united in terms of pushing resources in one direction,” Mweetwa said.

“The supporting mechanisms that were supposed to be directed towards to our economy, in part could be affected. It will not be surprising that some of our projections now begin to give a negative outlook because it is under duress. So to be able to shift perception from the reality on the ground to say it is the UPND government that is causing the fuel prices to go up, I think will be highly malicious and deliberate attempt to frown upon the realities of the moment. We think that all Zambians understand this very clearly and categorically.”

Mweetwa said Zambia was currently far much better than it was seven months ago.

“We only hope that this war can come to an end soon so that there should be international stability so that we begin to place emphasis on investing in the economy. We will not be surprised that some people will take advantage of this fuel increase to begin to point fingers at government but we are very confident that the people of this country understand. As we stand now, the Zambia we live in today is far much better than the Zambia we lived in seven months ago,” he said.

And Mweetwa said he did not see the need to have the debate about people rejoining the UPND.

“I do not know if there are any contradictions between those who left the party and those who are coming from the Patriotic Front. All I know is that to belong to a political party is a human right. It is called the right to association. It may not be written in the constitution but the right of association is to belong to a grouping that you feel will serve your interests better. So I do not see why we must have this debate about people joining or rejoining the UPND. I am fully aware of the frustrations of many UPND supporters especially members,” he said.

“This could be harbouring given the democratic background of the recent political activities in the country ahead of the 2022 elections. Our people were victimised in very strange ways that one could never imagine happening in Zambia. There was a lot of discrimination, victimisation and people thrown out of employment. People were thrown out and denied opportunities without any credible reason. At a time when it was extremely difficult to advance against the Patriotic Front and progress was being made, some people opted to leave. Some people take that with serious offence and others consider that the same people who were brutalising us are the ones who found it fancy to come.”

Meanwhile, Mweetwa said Zambia needed to get rid of the narration that belonging to a ruling party was a ticket to access opportunities.

“Some people feel that when someone comes to join, they are coming to take a front seat of access to opportunity. It should be far from that kind of thought. I have also encountered a very difficult situation where opportunities appear to be aligned to government leaning to the political party in power and not on the basis of being a citizen. That is what we under the leadership of President Hichilema are determined to dismantle. We know that we shall not be in government forever,” said Mweetwa.

“There will come a time when we will not be in government but we are still able to access protection and opportunities in Zambia like any other citizen. That is the way it should be. Those who debate about who should join UPND and who should not, really I do not really understand where it is emanating from because politics is about numbers. Granted, we have to respect the fact that many people are frustrated with the way they were being victimised as if they were not Zambians. We have a country to govern and move forward and rewrite the history of this country. We cannot remain stuck to the past of the previous administration. We must move on and open new doors of opportunities of hope and progress. It must be all of us versus the challenges that we are facing as a country. Politics of division belong to the past.”