UPND secretary general Batuke Imenda says the ruling party needs to win big in 2026.

And UPND chairperson for elections Gary Nkombo has charged that former president Edgar Lungu sponsored political violence during his tenure, challenging him to take him to court if this is inaccurate.

Speaking when he received defectors in Mongu, Saturday, Imenda said despite receiving defectors, the party would not forget its members who suffered for the party.

“As we were campaigning, we promised the people of Zambia that we are going to bring development and just as an example, I will give you the CDF allocation of K25.7 million. That 25.7 million is meant for the youth and it’s meant for the women so that they can prosper. The last election was not just an election where people go and vote and win but it was a fight for freedom, it was a fight for independence, it was a fight for liberation to liberate this country from turmoil. Our party must be seen to grow so that by 2026 we must not only win but win big. We have people here, the people that have come to the realisation that the PF and these other small parties will no longer rise to come and challenge us,” said Imenda.

“The best way to bring Zambia forward is by coming to join the red family. As we welcome our brothers and sisters to join us, we will not forget our brothers and sisters who were in the trenches with us. President Hakainde Hichilema has a program for the youth to ensure that those that are there in the trenches will be rewarded for the hard work they did. It is for the same reason that they are calling for the cooperatives to be formed.”

And Nkombo accused Lungu of sponsoring political violence in the last five years.

“What the ECZ did, what the PF did, they did not want especially here in Mongu, they did not want those children who had reached the voting age to get National Registration Cards. But in certain areas especially border towns where they thought they were strong, they even allowed foreigners to come and vote for PF. What kind of football match is that? After everything was said and done, you people went to vote and God up there helped us to win those elections,” he said.

“There was too much blood in PF, there was no meeting like this one where people could go home without blood, every time people gathered, whether they were 10, whether they were five, it is either the police beats them up in the name of Public Order Act, it is either the Ministry of Health stops them because they said there was COVID here. God answered our prayer for we must thank him. I would not be wrong to say it because I have said before and I am going to say it again, the violence that was sponsored by PF, it was sponsored by PF and Edgar Lungu and all those people. There is no doubt in my mind because I am speaking here in Mongu, if anyone wants to take me to court, I will say it again, the violence was sponsored by the government. So when the government is wrong, it was dangerous to be right. So now I am challenging the PF through their former leader Edgar Lungu that if I have tarnished your name, take me to court. I will produce evidence that the violence in this country was sponsored by the Patriotic Front.”

Nkombo said his prayer was for PF to get zero votes in the upcoming Mayoral by-elections.

“Because of this election, I want you to put another stamp for UPND. Mr Hakainde Hichilema is a serious individual, after he became President [he said] one word ‘there will be no cadres bothering people’, and the cadres were gone. We have now freedom, what is better than freedom, I would rather be a poor man in my grave than become a slave for another human being, we were slaves under PF,” said Nkombo.

“To win an election, the election is won at the polling station. I want to urge you to revive all the polling station committees that you had in the last general election. That is the only thing that wins you an election. We will target each voter by voter and what I want, what I pray for to my God above is that PF should get zero.”