UNIP president Tilyenji Kaunda says he does not mind that the PF swept to power with a stolen election in 2016 but wants them to perform and better the lives of Zambians. In an interview after gracing the party’s card renewal exercise in Lusaka’s Matero Constituency on Thursday, Tilyenji said Zambians were suffering and needed their problems to be dealt with by a service-driven government.
He said even the issue of political violence must be dealt with by the PF.
“The person in charge right now is President Edgar Lungu and he must stop this. No one else, not UPND, not UNIP, not anybody else can stop this. He (President Lungu) must lead. If they don’t want, in 2021 we are uprooting them Nikuv or no Nikuv, we are taking them out,” Tilyenji said.
He said UNIP’s objective was to recruit up to 500,000 card-carrying members by the 2021 in order to be a formidable contender in that year’s election. Tilyenji said the current leadership was a self-serving one that did little to relieve Zambians of their problems. He cited lack of access to clean water, poverty, unemployment and delayed delivery of farming inputs as some of the problems that needed urgent address by the PF government.
“God decides and allows things to happen. God allowed for the PF to come in with stolen votes, we don’t mind that, but let them perform,” Tilyenji said. “Let them put aside their personal greed which is in every human being. Let them put in a code that says they must work for the people of Zambia. We don’t care how they came in. God has chosen, that’s fine. But they must perform for the people. People are suffering, truly suffering.”
Tilyenji said the governments that came after UNIP (MMD and PF) had extremely underperformed and reversed the strides the country had achieved under UNIP.
“This is the reason UNIP is mobilising. Our job right now is that we are going to make UNIP robust enough to make sure that the people have a choice in 2021,” Tilyenji said.
He complained about the growing tribal hatred in the country which he blamed on politicians. Tilyenji said ordinary Zambians were not tribal but politicians driven by greed were the driving forces of tribalism.
“Greed and politicians are the driving force of tribalism. If you go around Zambia, you will be welcomed anywhere by any tribe, that’s the Zambian nature. There’s no tribalism from the people, it’s from the leaders,” he said.
Tilyenji said Zambia was also experiencing a problem of political violence which he squarely blamed on the ruling Patriotic Front.
“Zambians are one. Arming party cadres with knives and pangas [machetes] is nonsense. Government must stop this. There is a problem of violence in this country and the problem is the PF. The President has sworn to protect us, our lives and our property. It doesn’t matter whom you belong to, it doesn’t matter what tribe, it doesn’t matter your political party, he is supposed to protect us,” he said.
On UNIP’s non-participation in by-elections, Tilyenji said the party was not prepared to spend money and time in elections that would end up being manipulated. He said election observers from the European Union, African Union, SADC and America were toothless bulldogs who have no capacity to handle a fraudulent election. On the economy, Tilyenji said it needed to be controlled by Zambians.
“Our economy is in the grip of outside forces. We don’t hate foreigners but we are supposed to be in control. UNIP is saying a better economy, a better life for Zambians. We must be in charge. We would rather let the copper stay in the ground than let it go outside for free,” said Tilyenji.