*…accuses the PF of using COVID-19 to bar opposition from campaigning*
UPND Alliance leader, President Hakainde Hichilema has charged that nothing will stand in the way of UPND Alliance to prevent it from ushering in the much-needed change come 12th August.
Speaking shortly after a meeting with ECZ, Mr Hichilema stated that change was written on the faces of Zambians including that of flowers.
And Mr Hichilema says the UPND Alliance will no longer be taking unlawful orders from the Police, charging
“Come rain, come sunshine, there will be change of Government on 12th August. Change is written everywhere: on your lips; in the sky and on flowers. Chapwa! kabiye! Longa! The group here (Alliance partners) are civilised to allow for peaceful transition of power. I want to assure you and guide you: from now onwards, we will not obey unlawful instructions. From what happened in Kanyama yesterday, a large procession-does it mean COVID-19 only knows the faces of opposition?” wondered Mr Hichilema.
Asked to comment on cancellation of two UPND Alliance Road Shows scheduled for Munali in Lusaka and another one in Kitwe, Copperbelt, Mr Hichilema stated that the party couldn’t proceed as Police refused to give a go-ahead.
“The cancellation of the Road Show is one of the issues that came through in the meeting with ECZ…that there must be equity, fairness and avoidance of using the COVID-19 as a weapon to deter the UPND Alliance from exercising the fundamental rights of citizens such as the freedom of Assembly. We also raised issues of the ECZ’s failure to play its role as referee in the Electoral process of the country,” said Mr Hichilema.
Mr Hichilema stated that PF’s intention was to stop the UPND Alliance from selling their message to the electorate.
“The intention of the PF is to stop us from campaigning and from reaching out to the people. The intention (by PF) is to stop us from campaigning. The Police are used to advance the cause of endesha; chapwa; longa (Edgar Lungu). I want to assure you that courtesy of the people of Zambia, come rain, come sunshine, there will be change of Government on 12th August,” Hichilema said reassuringly.
Commenting on the UPND Alliance’s meeting at the same event, Alliance Chairman, Charles Milupi accused the ECZ of failing to execute their mandate of running the country’s electoral systems, adding that the Electoral body had instead surrendered the role to Zambia Police.
“We had a very serious meeting with ECZ at which we raise a number of issues concerning the elections. We also highlighted what we have seen in the ECZ who have failed to manage the elections. We have seen an ECZ who are willing to delegate their duties to the Police. We asked them why they are quiet when the Police are discharging their duties. We also raised issues of juveniles, minors registering as voters. We expect the ECZ to play their full role as referees. We also raised issues to do with the period for the announcement of results,” he said.
And UPND Alliance Vice Chairperson, Ernest Mwansa of ZED, accused the Police of taking the UPND Alliance’s willingness for dialogue as a weakness.
“Some of the things that we raised to the ECZ that we feel that must work on and take responsibility is the Voter Register which up to this time we do not have. Our concern is that we should have been able to verify the Voter Register. The other issue we raised to do with the Public Media, particularly ZNBC which has continued to be a tool for the ruling PF. We are concerned because the law has made it clear because the law provides for public run MEDIA to offer coverage to all political parties. The issue of Coronavirus: we are concerned that it sis being applied as a weapon to stop the opposition from campaigning,” he said.
He charged that the Police were creating an environment in which violence had become an alternative.
“Even the roadshows which they have allowed, we have police armoured vehicles trailing us. We want to make it clear that we are available to the Police Command. We are available for dialogue that will ensure that the elections are run properly,” he said.
He expressed concern at Inonge Wina’s continued use of public resources such as helicopters to carry out campaigns on behalf of the ruling party.
Mr Mwansa also appealed to the ECZ to take responsibility by conducting elections in line with the provisions of the law.
“The ECZ must not depend on Government to carry out their duties. The Electoral processes is in their hands. We will not expect Internet to go. To ensure that they protect the vote themselves is not a responsibility that they can run away from,” he said.
UPND MEDIA TEAM