HAKAINDE Hichilema says President Edgar Lungu knows what he did in 2016 but he is not like him.
But PF media director Sunday Chanda says Hichilema has failed to handle well his “perpetual losing of elections since 2006 and the sense of rejection is making his style of politics so toxic for the democratic space Zambians seek to create for themselves.
Speaking on Let the People Talk programme on Radio Phoenix yesterday, Hichilema said logic shows that President Lungu was worried about him.
“He knows what he did [in 2016] but we are not like him. When our time in office comes, we’ll not do what he did to us. We will not arrest people, including himself,” Hichilema said.
He appealed to Zambians to focus on why they were in problems.
“It’s the quality of leadership that is there – it is the corruption, the abuse of office, the violence, the disrespect for human rights, the lack of an independent electoral commission where wrong people are declared winners,” Hichilema said.
He said if people respect the rule of law, there would be no number plates called ECL 2021.
“Why should there be number plates HH 2021? There shouldn’t be. Whether it’s HH or ECL, the police should not allow it. [But] why is the police allowing it (use of ECL 2021 as a registration number of vehicles)? It’s because they fear to lose jobs. Why are they losing jobs? It’s because the politicians are above the law,” Hichilema said.
Asked if the UPND would hold a convention before the 2021 general elections, he answered in the affirmative.
“I can confirm that there will a convention and everybody’s position is up for elections,” Hichilema said. “But the convention will not be driven by PF. We don’t drive the PF convention [and so] why should PF drive our convention? It’s because they want to break down UPND the way they have broken other parties because they want a one party State. So, the issue of even Mr Lungu [saying] ‘replace HH’, he thinks HH is afraid. I’m not afraid! He says ‘HH is a weak competitor’. If HH is a weak competitor, why is he spending sleepless nights about him? He wants a weak individual there (at the helm of the UPND). He knows that in 2015, 2016 HH won elections. So, he wants a weak candidate but does he choose that for UPND? No!”
Asked if the UPND was violent, Hichilema underscored that the opposition party’s members had been victims of the cruelty of ruling PF sympathisers.
“The position of the UPND is that PF has been waging war in many forms, and it’s not just narrowed to elections in Chilanga. [But] they have been waging war in markets – certain marketeers are not allowed to access market stalls because they belong parties other than PF. Students have suffered, Church-goers have suffered; you are aware of the violence orchestrated in Church services! People have forgotten the Matero saga during a BIGOGA Church service where PF thugs went and beat [up] worshippers that particular Sunday. Bishops had to run through windows…” Hichilema said.
He recalled that PF supporters caused electoral violence during by-elections in Nampundwe ward, Kalulushi’s Luapula ward, and another ward in the “dreadful Shiwang’andu.”
On the issue of self-defence that has received criticism from the ruling party leadership, Hichilema noted that it “would have never been an issue of self-defence if the police could assist through their normal law enforcement responsibility by arresting perpetrators of violence.”
“The self-defence posture has been taken as a way of protecting private property and life. Is this legal? The answer is yes! It is in our bill of rights. The only people who are complaining [about the UPND’s resolve for self-defence when attacked] are those who were using the tool of violence to oppress citizens – take away land from citizens, to take away trading spaces from citizens,” Hichilema explained.
Asked by the programme host if he was agitating an already ticking time-bomb by urging UPND members to defend themselves when attacked, Hichilema responded in the negative.
“No! I did hear some PF sympathisers or surrogates saying that UPND members will be defending themselves from what? They take that angle of the argument. Self-defence, by definition, means there is an attack. So, we don’t even have to illustrate [who we’ll be defending ourselves from]. The attackers of innocent citizens are PF cadres – it’s common knowledge. The reason you have a lot of talking around this issue [of self-defence] is because the PF had a point where they believed that they can maim or shoot at people and nobody would complain, as long as the police let them free. They forgot that the people of Zambia constructed the Constitution in a manner that includes self-defence. Let me give you an example; why does Mr Lungu move with police [officers] around him? Even when he is outside the country, he will get the protection of the police from that country. Why? It is for self-defence! So, why is self-defence okay for Mr Lungu and the dreadful Kampyongo and is not right for ordinary citizens who are killed, beaten? Can Kampyongo go into Soweto market alone?” he asked.
Hichilema stressed that there was no one who should complain about the concept of self-defence.
“If they complain, then they must complain also about Zambia Army, they must complain about the police and they must complain about the security guard at your house. I hope this rests the debate!” said Hichilema who earlier pledged that a UPND government would re-structure Zambia’s debts.
“How will we reduce the debt burden? We’ll borrow less at a lower interest. Is the money there at a low cost? Yes, it’s there! We’ll re-structure the current debt – the debt which is expensive, at 10 per cent plus, the Euro bond from private windows, we’ll replace that by securing money at three per cent. From where? Multilaterals. There is a debt mountain today [and] your economy is only US$23 billion….We have a debt mountain and how do you climb down that mountain?”
But Chanda charged that UPND leader had lost his “political plot.”
In a spite-laced press statement yesterday, Chanda stated that listening to Hichilema speak, it was evident that the opposition leader had “overstayed his welcome and lost his political plot.”
“Mr Hakainde Hichilema has lost the plot completely. He has become so desperate that he can justify violence just for him to get into State House while placing lives of his innocent members in harm’s way,” Chanda stated, adding that it was clear that the UPND was led by “desperate thugs who wish to qualify violence for self-defence”.
“It is no wonder that when MMD was in power, it was UPND that clashed with the former ruling party using the Mapatizya formula and not the Patriotic Front (PF). To this day, UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has never condemned the violent Mapatizya formula, which was a bloodbath; he has never condemned the Panga for Panga; and he has never condemned the violent ‘F – word’, language by his vice-president. The careless talk and promotion of violence by the UPND thugs in the leadership has the potential to set Zambia on fire and Zambians must do the needful to tame, especially Mr Hichilema’s loose mouth.”
Chanda further stated that Hichilema could not claim that his 2016 electoral victory was robbed because “that is the same song he’s been singing since 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015 to date.”
“Clearly, Mr Hichilema has failed to handle well his perpetual losing of elections since 2006 and the sense of rejection is making his style of politics so toxic for the democratic space we seek to create for ourselves as a country. It is because of being rejected five times in a roll [sic] to a democratic process that Mr Hichilema has now engaged in overdrive, mischaracterising a call to violence as self-defense,” stated Chanda.