UPND national chairperson Stephen Katuka says government needs to pull up its socks and address challenges which citizens are facing.
And Katuka has cautioned individuals against joining the ruling party with a view of getting jobs or party positions.
In an interview, Katuka said government should find short and long-term measures to the problems affecting the nation.
“My appeal to our people is that let us pull up our socks, let us address the issues that affect the people and we move on. I am saying, us in government, we must pull our socks to address the nation, the challenges that the nation is facing. Finding short term measures and long term measures to the problems that affect the nation. Where they (government) are lacking, let us pull up our socks and move on,” he said.
“Five years is a long period, we have only done six months, not even one year yet. We must not listen to armchair critics, we started very well and we can continue, so criticism will be there, some negative and so on. When it is coming from people that had an opportunity already, it should be ignored because it is not positive criticism. Criticism coming from the citizens is credible criticism, because those are the people we swore to serve. When people are talking, we must listen.”
Katuka however said people needed to be patient as the beginning was always rough.
“The beginning is always rough, so everything we do there is what we call acclimatizing. So we took office seven months ago and the people must appreciate that it is not like pressing a button and things start happening. People have to be patient, there are turbulences that they would go through but it is part of the process of delivering development. We also have issues that are beyond our control like now, we are talking of the fuel increase due to the war in Ukraine. That one has not only affected Zambia, it has affected all other countries. So this has happened but people are working round the clock to find the solution and make life bearable for its citizens,” he said.
When asked whether the challenges the country was facing would result in UPND only ruling for a term, Katuka said that was impossible because there was no credible opposition in the country.
“No, that is [impossible], after all, we don’t have credible opposition now. There is no credible opposition, these are jokers, we have jokers as opposition. I am telling you people are not serious. Ours is to deliver the promises to the people and development, theirs is to provide checks and balances. All these two must be in the best interest of the people, that is our point of intersection. These problems will not last forever, it is not a Third World War, it is a war between Ukraine and Russia. As this is happening people are finding solutions,” said Katuka.
“It is impossible, we will have no opposition in 2026, have you seen how many [want to join the party]? If I tell you how many are calling me, wanting to come and join the party, you will be surprised. Christopher Mulenga has come and so many others are coming, but you see we are cautious [about] how we move. We don’t want to behave like they are behaving by just going to make a smokescreen that so many have joined. We want real warm bodies and that makes an impact. We don’t want just anything as long as it is a human being defecting and we are happy with that, we want credible people that will add value to the party. We are cautioning all those coming, they should not come with a view to get jobs, they should not come with the view to get positions in the party. They come as ordinary party members. So that if we identify their skill set, then we can find them what to do in the party. It is not mandatory just because Mulenga was defence Minister, now if he comes, he must be chairman for defence, no! He is an ordinary party member.”