THE Patriotic Front (PF) has slammed the United Party for National Development (UPND) for criticising the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for allegedly failing to intervene in domestic political matters in Zambia the way the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has intervened in Gambia.
UPND president Hakainde Hichilema said the ECOWAS had done what SADC and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) had failed to do in Zambia.
But PF deputy spokesperson Frank Bwalya said there was nothing that had taken place in Zambia’s post-election period that could be compared to what transpired in The Gambia after elections.
Mr Bwalya said opposition party leaders that felt SADC and COMESA should have at any point intervened in Zambia were suffering from panic and desperation to rule the country.
“One wonders how a person who wants to rule Zambia one day could mix up events the way they are doing,” he said.
Mr Bwalya said the role of SADC and COMESA was different from that of ECOWAS because the two regional bodies, to which Zambia belonged, were founded on the promotion of trade while ECOWAS, on the other hand, was founded to partly deal with challenges of dictatorial tendencies and coup d’etat that the region was facing at the time.
ECOWAS intervened in The Gambia because the incumbent leader lost an election, conceded defeat and later changed his mind.
In Zambia, the incumbent won and there was no dispute.
The United Nations, SADC and ECOWAS acknowledged the election outcome and congratulated the winner, President Edgar Lungu.
Mr Bwalya said that those proposing forceful removal of a legitimately elected president were proposing an illegality.
Political analyst Alex Ngoma has also charged that it is day-dreaming for the UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema to suggest that SADC should have compelled President Lungu to vacate office following the
outcome of the general elections in August last year.
Dr Ng’oma said the two cases were different because The Gambia had been embroiled in a political crisis while in Zambia President Lungu won the election which was held peacefully.
“The elections in Zambia were not disputed for the SADC to come and settle the dispute. Mr Hichilema is just day-dreaming because there is no political crisis in Zambia,” he said.
Dr Ngoma said it was unfortunate that Mr Hichilema had tried several times to win sympathy from the international community but had failed.
He said the opposition leader should allow the country to concentrate on national development rather than dragging the country into election matters that had already passed.