[By Chimweta Luyando and Tobias Phiri]
THE UPND women wing in Lusaka Province and the party’s national youth wing has sternly warned PF operatives against framing Hakainde Hichilema for an arrest.
They say before touching UPND leader Hichilema, “you should kill all of us.”
Lusaka Province UPND deputy chairperson Grace Chivube and the party’s national information and publicity secretary Samuel Ngwira were the speakers at a media briefing at the party secretariat in Lusaka on Friday.
Some PF officials have been issuing couched statements about the danger Hichilema is inviting upon himself, for telling the government to decisively show leadership over gassing attacks in selected parts of the country.
Ngwira said UPND youths had reached a point where they could not tolerate PF’s “stupidity,” especially against Hichilema.
“We’ll stand up and defend what is right,” Ngwira warned.
He explained that the calamity any nation could have was having an insecure government.
Ngwira indicated that Zambia’s government was so scared of a citizen in Hichilema.
“We want to tell Mr Edgar Lungu and his crooks in the PF that Hakainde Hichilema is not going anywhere – whenever elections are called, he is going to be on the ballot paper. Hakainde Hichilema is today popular. Is becoming popular a crime?” he asked.
“The popularity of Hakainde Hichilema today is because Zambians have come to realise that they have been putting someone on the bench when criminals are holding instruments of power. Today’s problems in Zambia are as a result of the PF itself and Mr Edgar Lungu, and not Hakainde Hichilema.”
Ngwira recalled that prior to Hichilema’s cruel arrest in April 2017, and consequent treason charges, “we heard cadres in the name of Sunday Chanda, Mumbi Phiri talking about treason and in no time, HH was abducted and charged with treason for no reason.”
Ngwira noted that it was not a coincidence that the same undertones were now reverberating.
“We have seen that some of the same cadres who at that time said HH will be charged with treason have started saying the same again. But we have a message for you; you may have succeeded to abduct HH last time but this time, we are telling you that can you think twice. Before you touch HH, you should kill all of us. Don’t put Zambia on fire!” Ngwira charged.
“I want to tell the youths of UPND that time has come for us to defend the president and the party. If you call yourself a youth in UPND, nchito yaoneka (there’s work now). We have a responsibility and an obligation to make sure that we protect and defend the president.”
He pointed out that President Edgar Lungu’s worst opposition now were Zambians because: “he has failed to deliver for them”
“Today youths have no jobs but your (Edgar Lungu) preoccupation is to continue being President of Zambia, even when you are doing nothing! What kind of a leader are you? People like Mr Edgar Lungu, in the first place, should not even have been anywhere closer to power. [But] we brought a monster to power!” he complained.
“But the Constitution of Zambia is very clear that the same powers that we use to elect a government are the same powers that we can use to remove a government.”
Ngwira also observed that President Lungu had not “just become corrupt” but also a burden on Zambians.
He indicated that Hichilema was a responsible leader who had no time to send disruptive people to do any criminal activities.
“If HH was that careless and heartless, in 2016 we could have seen civil strife in this country. He doesn’t want to take over a country that is ravaged…” Ngwira said
“We have told our youths countrywide that they should be on alert. Whenever you try to make any funny move on our president, you are going to kill us; all of us. This country belongs to the 17 million Zambians.”
Ngwira explained that a citizen who was seeking public office should not be criminalised.
“We realise that for the PF, the only crime that HH has committed is for him wanting to become President of Zambia,” noted Ngwira.
Meanwhile, Chivube told PF leaders that “we all know what you want on HH.”
“Those tricks you are doing to HH won’t go far because Zambians are watching. Zambia Police are in a better position to know who is behind the issue of gassing,” Chivube said.
“But police officers have been replaced with soldiers, as if there is war in Zambia. Shame upon the PF leadership! We are today telling you that you have mistreated HH for far too long.”
She called on women to raise a red flag to the PF’s profound ill-treatment of Hichilema.
“They are indirectly threatening to arrest HH and then declare a curfew. We are not going to allow them to do that! Let those in the PF know that should they do anything funny on HH this time around, there will be a serious reaction from us,” Chivube explained.
“HH was born out of a woman, like every one of us. Don’t bring Idi Amin’s autocratic manners in Zambia! Within eight years, you have shattered this country, as if you have ruled for 40 years. Shame upon the PF! We are not going to accept the plans which [home affairs minister Stephen] Kampyongo and his PF are making.”
She further stressed that the PF must stop its evil schemes against Hichilema.
“You can’t make HH feel undesirable as if he is not a Zambian. Go ahead and arrest him and you’ll see what you have never seen,” said Chivube.
And UPND provincial chairmen say they will not allow Hichilema to be treated like an animal and given treason charges again.
In a statement, the provincial chairmen warned the PF not to arrest Hichilema.
“We the UPND Provincial Chairmen from all the 10 provinces wish to seriously warn the PF not to stretch their luck too far, in trying to falsely implicate president Hakainde Hichilema in the on-going gassing and alleged ritual killings in some parts of the country. We will not allow a repeat of the trumped up treason charges that saw HH treated like an animal, tortured, humiliated and stripped of every form of dignity,” they said.
“Reading from the mood of the people due to the untold suffering they have been subjected to by the PF government, the nation is on a threshold of a catastrophe and would only need a little spark by the PF induced falsehoods. The false implication of Hakainde Hichilema will set an environment that will be a threat to peace, stability and security of our nation. The air is pregnant with such an atmosphere.”
They stated that PF social media and their sponsored surrogates were inundated with indicators that there was an advanced plan to link and arrest Hichilema and falsely accuse him of sponsoring the alleged gassing of communities around the country. “This is too much! Why can’t the PF allow peace and tranquillity to prevail? Today it’s spewing of hate against tribes, tomorrow it is all kind of accusations, just on one man because of the fear of the unknown!” they stated.
They asked: “What sin has Hakainde committed that he must always be accused and hounded and hunted like an animal? Wasn’t Hakainde also born from a woman like all of them? Isn’t HH made of flesh and blood like any human being? Does he not deserve decency and enjoyment of equal universal human rights and human dignity like any other human being?”
They said they would; “not allow any tricks of removing HH from the ballot nor are we going to entertain any form of detention so that he is harmed. Twakana. Enough is enough! Don’t even think about it!”
The statement was undersigned by Elisha Matambo of the Copperbelt, Obvious Mwaliteta for Lusaka, Benjamin Thole for Eastern and others.