UPND deputy national chairperson Andrew Banda says there is too much tension in the country because of the autocratic leadership.
And Andrew has urged Socialist Party leader Fred M’membe not to despise Hakainde Hichilema adding that, “Stop what you are doing like criticising our president, leave him alone.”
Addressing the press on Monday over police’s blocking of party leader Hakainde Hichilema’s convoy in Chingola on Sunday, Andrew said Zambians were going to fire Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja because they were the ones that hired him through President Edgar Lungu.
“Zambia is a democratic country. Never before has this country been in such a situation where there is tension. Never before has there been so much tension in our country because of a leadership that is autocratic,” he said. “I want to state here from the onset that this press conference is arising from the happenings in Chingola yesterday
(Sunday) where there was an attempted assassination on our president Hakainde Hichilema. This (Monday) morning I woke up in the morning and was going through social media, the police are denying that there was assassination attempt on Hakainde Hichilema and the police were threatening us with force.”
Andrew reminded Kanganja that he was a servant of the people of Zambia.
“You Kanganja, you are my servant. You are Zambian’s servant. You are a servant of our country. Our money is the one that pays you. We are going to fire you because we are the ones that hired you in the name of the President,” he said. “I want to state here clearly that in many countries where there has been turmoil and there have been third forces intervening, it is as a result of politicians from the ruling party instructing the police to misbehave in the manner they did in Chingola. I want to be clear that you the police we know your strength and if there is trouble, you cannot control it.”
Andrew said UPND would not leave Kanganja out of politics because he was behaving like a cadre.
He said Zambians removed UNIP from power because they were fed up with it.
Andrew said the MMD was very powerful than the current PF but they were removed by Zambians who were fed up with them.
“What am I trying to emphasise? Just imagine, with all the things that have gone wrong, are you sure that the Patriotic Front can go through in this election with all the fundamentals that have gone wrong in this country?” he asked. “They can’t. They know what they have done, no wonder the intimidation using the police. So we are warning you the police, we are not going to relent.”
Andrew said the law does not stop politicians from meeting the people.
“The Constitution states that when Parliament is closed like it was closed a few weeks ago, it means campaigns are open. Who the hell are you (Electoral Commission of Zambia) to stop us from meeting? We know you are colluding with the ruling party. You have tried everything to disadvantage the opposition using the public order Act,” he said. “Ulendo uno [This time around] we are not accepting that nonsense. We’ll go ahead countrywide and have meetings. Let’s see if you can manage to catch us. Kanganja and Nshindano should hear this.”
Andrew said the PF had tried everything to block Hichilema but that they have failed and “they want to clear him now”.
“You clear him at your own peril! Zambians are not stupid. There are those who are quiet, we don’t want to have a situation like in West Africa where third forces came in. We want our leaders to be elected through the ballot,” he said. “We don’t agree with ECZ to tell us to stop meeting in the name of Covid. The PF has been campaigning everywhere over the past two years. Yesterday (Sunday) when they were stopping HH, Nkandu Luo was in church. Why should we have double standards, a law for PF and a law for the opposition? We are not going to accept that.” Andrew said the PF should take responsibility for the failing economy and not blame it on COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Andrew reminded Dr M’membe not to despise Hichilema because they were in opposition together and their objective was the same.
He urged Dr M’membe to respect Hichilema and the UPND.
“Arrogance yamu (in the) newspaper, ku (at) Post Newspaper kwamene uko! (it should remain there). You (M’membe) you are talking about capitalism; you are the richest socialist in this country,” Andrew said. “So don’t talk about the capitalism of other people just because you hate them. Stop what you are doing like criticising our president, leave him alone.”
Featuring on Hot FM’s Beyond the Headlines programme last week, Dr M’membe said his party will take on anyone, regardless of whether they are in government or not.
Asked by presenter Kwangu Liwewe why he was attacking a fellow opposition party, Dr M’membe said there was nothing wrong since they were all competing for votes.
“In a multiparty dispensation, being in a different party does not mean hatred for other people. They’re stuck to the one-party mentality – it’s either you are with us or you are our enemies. No, we’re not enemies. We simply hold different positions; we simply hold different policies. It’s not hatred. What is the value of hating Hakainde? For what? Why should I hate him? For what? So, to love Hakainde I should join his pact? To love Mr Lungu I should join PF? If I’m not in the UPND Alliance, then I’m with PF? If I’m not in the PF alliance, then I’m with UPND? We are an independent political party with our manifesto clearly different from that of UPND and PF that are similar,” explained M’membe. “There’s no hatred. If being in a different political party from the other and opposing the policies of another political party means hatred, then let’s move away from multiparty political dispensation. And it’s not about personal relationships. I don’t need to have a personal relationship with Mr Lungu, I don’t need to have a personal relationship with Mr Hakainde to participate in the politics of this country. They’ve got their friends. Mr Hakainde has got his friends. Mr Lungu has got his friends. I have got my friends.”
On the same platform a week earlier, Hichilema accused Dr M’membe of hating him for unknown reasons.
“…A couple of things, very briefly: when you see an opposition party attacking a fellow opposition party, a genuine opposition party, you’ll only know two things. One, that opposition party does not understand politics, especially the Zambian politics. Two, that opposition party are actually part of the ruling party. They’re a surrogate of the ruling party – two things. And the two things in this particular case apply. Why will you attack the UPND and HH? Why? Our job is to provide checks and balances, to offer citizens an alternative which we have done through our manifesto. A very very good manifesto, Kwangu. Remember we talked about it?” said Hichilema.
“National manifesto, regional competitive advantage, what we’ll do in each province. It’s there. We fought against Bill 10 which was going to create Zambia into a one-party State, where was the Socialist Party? Where were they? What contributions did they make? We served the people of Zambia as genuinely so; tools of the people of Zambia. What would motivate the Socialist Party to attack UPND, to attack HH? Only two reasons. One, they’re inexperienced, they don’t understand the Zambian politics. Two, they’re surrogates of PF. What do I mean by surrogates? They pretend to be opposition, but they’re actually part of PF. They’re part of PF because that’s the only time you try and help the PF, so what they’ll do is help the ruling party. I won’t say the third issue. […]Just colossal hatred. Colossal hatred that comes way back…No, no, no; not between us. A little bit of envy, a little bit of jealous. A little bit of hatred – all sandwiched in there. It’s an old problem. Personalities that have never liked UPND from day one. And they used the tools that were available to them to demonise UPND from the day UPND was created in 1998. Go back and read the newspapers, go back and see who was demonising UPND throughout under [Anderson] Mazoka’s time. It’s the same individual. I just inherited that hatred. For what reason, I don’t know. Do I care about that? I don’t. Do I waste time on that? I don’t. I stay focused, we stay focused. You will see the results. You will see the results, Kwangu. And politics sobers you down. You’ll lift yourself to a certain level. I went through that process myself. 2006 I thought I was winning, right. This is the feeling of an infantile political party led by colossal hatred. You don’t run politics like that. We must all be working together to save the people of Zambia against a collapsed economy. Why would anyone support a party in office with this economy that has gone to the pool? I would have said a word that is not palatable because I respect you, I respect the people of Zambia. This economy has gone to the pool, has gone deep down the ocean – under the ocean. We must retrieve it…”
Meanwhile, Eastern Province UPND chairperson Johabie Mtonga urged the police and ECZ to be fair in their operations and not to side with any political party.
Mtonga questioned the rationale behind the banning of mass gatherings because other countries held elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the PF was scared of the UPND because it had a message for the people.