MPOROKOSO PF member of parliament Brian Mundubile says there is currently no political violence in the country because PF has accepted the election loss and recognised that UPND is now in government.
And UPND deputy secretary general Gertrude Imenda says there is no way people can vote for PF in the forthcoming by-elections slated for Thursday, no matter how they can be temporarily dissatisfied with the new dawn government.
Commenting on President Hakainde Hichilema’s post that people were enjoying peace because of the UPND, Mundubile said unlike the UPND, PF had accepted defeat.
“You see, the pictures you are seeing are genuine where us as the political parties we are meeting in the same environment. You must understand why that is so. It is so because when we lost elections, we accepted that we lost the elections and began to respect our friends who were governing. We recognise the President, President Hakainde Hichilema and indeed our friends who are in leadership positions. I have been a minister before, if a minister comes, I will give them the respect. That is the peace that you are seeing. What was difficult back then is that our friends, first of all, did not accept that they lost the elections. They did not recognise the republican president as president of this country. If they could not recognise the president, they did not of course respect the presidential appointees, including ministers,” he said.
“So most of the violence was emanating from that particular background. Why it is easy now is because we have accepted that we lost the elections and we said our friends are in government and they are the ones who are governing. We are giving them all the respect, that is the peace that you are seeing. It is not because of the UPND, had we also resisted, if we had denied that we lost that election, we would have been walking out of Parliament each time the President walks in. That would have created tension even outside, remember that it starts from the top, how you the leaders, Parliamentarians, Ministers act is what goes down on the ground. Our civility is what is translating on the ground. So it is not because of the UPND, it is because the PF accepted defeat and they have given chance to those that want to govern.”
Mundubile said despite some fractions of violence being recorded at the beginning of the campaigns, the campaigns remained peaceful.
“At the beginning of the campaign, yes there was violence, there was one particular incident where our camp was raided by known UPND cadres. A number of people got injured. But of course, we are hoping for the best going forward, we have come in, we are talking to our friends, telling them that your government is preaching about peaceful campaigns. So I think that so far so good, apart from that incident we have now seen a peaceful campaign going forward,” he said.
Mundubile said the party was confident of scooping the Lukutu Local Government Ward by-election because the UPND had lost popularity.
“Here in Lukutu ward, we are doing very well. Remember that it is a seat that we had won in the general elections, we only lost because of the petition. It is clear that our friends have lost popularity, being on the ground and seeing how the people are complaining ranging from the non-supply, delivery of fertilizer, the high cost of living, unfulfilled promises and so on. That is the reason why you have seen the President traveling at great cost from Lusaka to come and campaign in a ward with 1,600 registered voters. It should not be taken lightly. So I am leaving it up to the Zambian people to judge whether 1,600 votes would really call for that level of expenditure,” said Mundubile.
“If you go back in our time, naturally a ward election is an election that is managed at provincial level. Even the adoption doesn’t come to central committee. When you see the President descending into a ward, just know that they are not doing very well. For me it is a constructive admission by the UPND that they have lost popularity. There are more vehicles that are coming in Lukutu than the number of voters. This is supposed to be their honeymoon. You see, in the first 10 months, really some of these by-elections were supposed to be very easy to manage. In our time as PF, the first two, three years we were just sweeping, sometimes we would just leave it up to the district chairman to campaign in the ward and win. In the case of our friends, the popularity has gone down really quickly that the President himself has to come. We are doing very well and that is why the President has to come because all the lieutenants that he sent, I think failed to deliver a message that they could convince the Zambian people.”
But Imenda said the wounds left by the PF were still fresh and that nobody could vote for the former ruling party.
“What the PF are saying would not hold water, they are losing especially this one, the Mayoral election in Western Province, they are losing. What popularity are they talking about, them being popular from where? The wounds that they have left both economically, physically, socially and psychologically on the people of Zambia, they are still fresh for any Zambian. No matter how [one is] temporarily dissatisfied with the new dawn government, there is no way they can vote for PF, [they] would rather even vote for another small party, but certainly not PF. Let them (PF) continue romanticizing and so on, maybe it is good for their psychology. But as far as we are concerned PF is dead and buried,” she said.
She said there was nothing wrong with the President campaigning for a by-election.
“Forget about how they themselves were saying they were winning. With us, it is unfortunate that things have happened and then we are having by-elections within the first [seven months]. Even in Luwingu, we are winning, people still remember the wounds that PF left on this economy, this society and the community. Now people can vote in peace, people who are working who are civil servants, they are saying ‘we were under so much pressure, now we are free, we can work freely without any undue influence and so on’. That pressure is not here, so we are winning these elections. Then on the President, it is his Constitutional mandate, what is wrong with the President [campaigning]? Wasn’t Edgar Lungu going everywhere to campaign? They were campaigning,” said Imenda.
The Mongu District Mayoral by-election in Western Province and two Local Government Ward by-elections in Lukutu Ward of Luwingu Town Council in Northern Province and Katimba Ward of Monze Town Council in Southern Province are expected to take place on April 14.