The Ruling Patriotic Front Media Director Antonio Mwanza has said that it is impossible for the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), without even a Vice President, to win the 2021 general elections.
In reaction to UPND deputy spokesperson and Choma Central member of parliament Cornelius Mweetwa’s remarks that PF was facing a very wide exit door, Mr Mwanza said that UPND was relying on an obsolete manifesto which Anderson Kambela Mazoka left.
“It is impossible for the UPND to win the 2021 elections because they are extremely disorganised as a political party. They are not providing any alternatives to the policies of the Patriotic Front,” Mwanza said.
“UPND as a political party has failed even to have a vice-president. How can a political party which doesn’t even have a vice-president win elections? How can a political party which has failed to produce a manifesto win elections?”
He argued that the UPND was relying on: “an obsolete manifesto which Anderson Kambela Mazoka, may his soul rest in peace, left.”
Mwanza noted that, conversely, the PF developed and revised its manifesto in view of Zambia’s social and economic challenges and opportunities.
“[In] 2011 to 2016, we revised the manifesto and 2016 to 2021 we have revised the manifesto. We have developed the 7th National Development Plan and the Vision 2030,” he explained.
“These are the policy documents that we are using to implement the development agenda for the people of Zambia. [But] the UPND doesn’t have any such documents!”
Mwanza accused the UPND of failing to tell Zambians what it would do differently if it formed the government, “other than rejoicing on the misfortune which the country is facing as a result of natural calamities such as climate change.”
He also asked how many elections the UPND had won between 2016 and now.
“We have gone into their so-called strongholds and we have walloped them! We grabbed Chilanga, Mangango, Kafue and we have grabbed local government seats in North-Western and Western provinces. So, where is the UPND going to win elections and on what basis will the Zambian people vote for the UPND?” Mwanza mocked.
On allegations linking Hichilema to supporting homosexuality, Mwanza said: “Mr Mweetwa denies that Mr Hichilema was not in South Africa to discuss and support gay rights and homosexuality!”
“But I would like to challenge Mr Mweetwa; the Africa Liberal Network is an institution whose prime agenda on their charter is the support for homosexuality and gay rights. I challenge Mr Mweetwa to deny that very fact!” he said.
He further parried Mweetwa’s sentiments that the PF government was on a path of promoting tribal and regional division in Zambia.
“But from the map of Zambia, in terms of the voting patterns and the election results, it is very clear that the Patriotic Front is a national party. It enjoys nationwide support, uncompared to the UPND which is a regional political party,” Mwanza indicated, adding that the UPND had been abusing the people of Southern Province by using the tribal tag to manipulate them.
“The people of Southern Province are very good – they are not tribal. They are just like each and every other Zambian. But the UPND is trying to use the people of Southern Province for their own gain by bringing tribalism in the party. It is UPND which is tribal and not the people Southern Province.”
He challenged Mweetwa to tell Zambians what happened to the quota system of leadership in the UPND which party founder Anderson Mazoka left.
“According to the documents, Mazoka developed a quota system of leadership where there was supposed to be rotational handing over of leadership from one region to the other,” he said.
“But from 2006 up to date, the leadership of the UPND has remained with Mr Hakainde Hichilema – there is no rotation, there are no elections. Anyone who says ‘we have to go to the convention’ has been expelled.”
Mwanza told Mweetwa “who claims that the UPND is not a tribal party, to tell the Zambian people why all those who are not Tongas have been chased as vice-presidents.”
“They chased Sakwiba Sikota, Richard Kapita, Francis Simenda, Patrick Chisanga, Robert Sichinga, Canisius Banda and GBM (Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba) because they are not southerners,” he claimed.
“I would like to challenge Mr Mweetwa who claims that the UPND is not tribal to tell the Zambian people why we saw tribal cleansing of non-southerners in Namwala. That incident has been documented even by the Red Cross! Can Mr Mweetwa deny those facts.”
On the proposed electricity tariff hike, Mwanza said: “Mr Mweetwa and I went to the same school called the University of Zambia.”
“He sits in Parliament and he understands that there is no government in the history of this country which has invested more in the energy sector than the Patriotic Front,” Mwanza said.
“When PF took over the office in 2011, in terms of the rural electrification program, we had less than 21,000 households connected to the electricity grid. But today this Patriotic Front government has embarked on a massive project with the World Bank to connect 80,000 households to the electricity grid through the rural electrification programme.”
He explained that when the PF formed the government, there was only one per cent generation of electricity by way of solar.
“[But] today we have improved from one per cent to 10 per cent and through projects such as Bangweulu and Ngonye. We have connected 45,000 households to electricity,” he noted.
“Mr Mweetwa sits in Parliament and he knows and understands that this government has invested millions of dollars in hydro power generation projects. We have the Chishimba Falls, the Lunzua, the Lusiwasi, the Kariba which are going on and once these projects are completed, the issue of high electricity tariffs and load-shedding will be history.”
Mwanza pointed out that Mweetwa knew very well that the PF government had been subsidizing electricity and that: “he knows that as long as we continue to subsidise electricity, fuel, we cannot see economic growth.”
“So, for him to be playing politics with straightforward issues is very unfortunate. Him and me should be talking about issues based on researched facts because we have been UNZASU presidents [before],” said Mwanza