ALLIANCE for Development and Democracy leader Charles Milupi says opposition UPND should tell Zambians whether the peace talks with the PF mean it has succumbed to the ruling party’s pressure.
He said Zambians valued multiparty democracy a lot more than “even these two political parties.”
Milupi said UPND should also tell other opposition political parties whether it had given up on being the opposition’s vanguard.
He said if the UPND was not careful, the so-called peace talks would lead the country into a one party State.
Commenting on the on-going PF-UPND peace talks, Milupi said it was clear that what the PF was interested in was the destruction of the main opposition political party UPND.
“Now, what makes us wonder is that in the midst of all these things, we are seeing the UPND being eaten, the PF creating expensive by-elections…but you can see that at the higher level, the secretary general level, they are continuing with these meetings. Is it being done without the knowledge of their presidents? Is it possible that UPND SG [secretary general Stephen Katuka] can meet PF secretary general Davies Mwila and his deputy Mumbi Phiri without Mr Hakainde knowing? Can they meet without permission from Mr Hakainde? Is it possible? Now when he had his press conference, he said his youth were not guided. Now, if they were not guided how can we see it going up to secretary general level…in other words, is UPND now succumbing to the PF pressure that has been applied?” Milupi wondered.
“If that is the case, are we now moving into a one party procession? That is how a one party state started. This is the direction we are moving into. I don’t think that the two presidents are being honest. They are giving the impression that these things are being done at the lower organ. The whole country knows that those lower organs cannot meet without their knowledge. Secondly, when we look at the statements that have been made by a section of those people in the past, very harsh statements…Hakainde will be confined like a rat to…[Mukobeko Maximum Prison] then the following day the exact [opposite] thing happens. Are we now saying that all those things have been forgotten, it’s now kiss and make up? What does it mean to the political landscape of this country?”
Milupi said it was indisputable that the PF – UPND peace talk was confusing.
“I think like everybody else, I am also confused about this PF – UPND peace talk. I am wondering what is happening. I would have thought that there was a peace strategy…because all cadres and all [those] listening to what top leaders say, I would have expected that the presidents of these two political parties would have been the ones to meet to send a message to the people…that they now don’t want to tolerate violence…that there should be peace and there should be a relaxation in the way the public order is maintained in terms of the Public Order Act (POA)…that the opposition are able to hold rallies, meetings. We would have seen a relaxation in the way elections are conducted but we don’t see any of that. We are still seeing intimidation,” Milupi said.
“In other words, we don’t see the good will that will demonstrate to all and other countries that politically we have changed and that we have turned a page. Quite clearly, in terms of the political dispensation, the main political parties are UPND and the PF. So, what they do matters. They almost shared the country in the last election if you look at the statistics. We cannot pretend that there are 42…I don’t know how many political parties people think we have. The main players as of now are the UPND and the PF. But what we see is very low organs of the UPND and the PF meeting to talk about peace. On the political landscape we continue to see the intimidation, the violence, the misconducting of the elections. We have seen the incomprehensible defection of people from one party to another which may alter the political landscape of how the electorates had set it up in 2016.”
Milupi said Zambians have invested so much in the UPND being the vanguard of the opposition to maintain the political democratic dispensation of Zambia.
“Are they giving up that role and if so, should the Zambian people if they want to continue with the democratic dispensation think of another direction in which they can continue? So, I think there is a lot more than meets the eye…I think there is a certain level of dishonesty being displayed by both political parties. They need to be open with the Zambian people and democracy in Zambia is a lot more valuable to the Zambians than even these two political parties. Zambians should watch this carefully. If they value that there is something to be gained by proper application of democracy, these manoeuvres taking place should be watched carefully so that if need be, they must look at alternative ways of maintaining the multiparty democracy…meaningful democracy so that they can offer proper checks and balances,” said Milupi.