FORMER PF secretary general Davies Mwila says the UPND government needs to be tolerant and take advice, arguing that when they were in opposition, they would talk and no one would arrest them.

And Mwila says although former president Edgar Lungu is not an angel and could have made one or two mistakes, President Hakainde Hichilema must consult him on how he used to stabilise fuel prices.

In an interview, Mwila said UPND was not open to criticism.

“I am told that they are arresting anyone who talks against the government. We are in a democracy. Even when they were in opposition, they used to talk and no one was arresting them. So let the people talk and let them listen to the advice which is coming from the opposition. Once things change for the better, even us we’ll benefit. As of now, things are hard and the government must do something. When it comes to subsidies, we knew, and what the UPND should have done was to consult the people who were in leadership before. Why is it that they did not go to the IMF? Why is it that they had to subsidise fuel? They need to ask so that they are able to learn from the past experience,” he said.

“For them, they think they are clever and that they know everything. That is why we are in these problems because they are not listening and not getting advice. What we are saying is that even the former leaders, former president Edgar Lungu and the group, are not angels. They could have made one or two mistakes but Hakainde Hichilema can consult Edgar Lungu and how he managed to stablise the fuel price and how he said no to the IMF. That is the way you govern the country. They must be tolerant. When someone talks, they have to listen. But if someone talks then they start insulting those people advising them, it becomes a problem. We are in a democracy and people must have freedom of speech as enshrined in the constitution.”

Mwila said opposition political parties would capitalise on the fact that the UPND government had failed to lower the cost of living.

Mwila also condemned the removal of street vendors.

“The council is supposed to provide alternative places for them (street vendors). As of now, the UPND government has started removing street vendors. I remember Nkombo went to Northmead to ensure that people there were removed. You can also remember that when we were in government, we said that people can only be removed if the council finds an alternative place. You cannot remove people from the street or corridors when you have not provided an alternative. That is the complaint, that the government has to find alternatives. That is why we started building a new city market in order to remove street vendors and accommodate them there,” said Mwila.

“As opposition political parties, of course they will captilise on that. The cost of living is too high now and people have to survive to earn a living. So the bag of mealie meal will go beyond K200. People have to find ways and means of surviving. Of course opposition political parties will take advantage. However, opposition political parties need to provide advice and ensure that the government is doing the right thing. Government needs to listen to opposition political parties. If they are not listening, that will be their problem.”