Eight opposition political parties have jointly called for the formation of a broad alliance aimed at challenging the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) in Zambia. The parties express their concern over the shrinking democratic space in the country.
United Liberal Party President Sakwiba Sikota, speaking on behalf of the opposition coalition, emphasized the need for unity among opposition forces. The eight political parties include United Liberal Party, Patriotic Front, New Heritage Party, Citizens First, National Democratic Congress, Golden Party, Economic Freedom Fighters, and Forum for Development and Democracy.
Former President Edgar Lungu, addressing the press alongside leaders of the opposition parties, stated that the collaborative effort aims to create a mass movement to reclaim power for the people. Citizens First President Harry Kalaba added that the alliance formation is geared towards defending the nation.
However, Chief Government Spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa dismissed the opposition alliance as a mere collaboration of convenience among power-hungry politicians. Mweetwa argued that the opposition lacks moral authority to call for such an alliance, citing past activities during their governance that allegedly traumatized citizens.
Mweetwa, who is also the Information and Media Minister, challenged Edgar Lungu to provide evidence of his claims regarding sponsors of the UPND. He asserted that the sponsors of UPND are the 2.8 million Zambians who voted the party into office.
Addressing the ongoing debt situation, Mweetwa stated that the government has made substantial progress in negotiations with both official and private creditors to alleviate the debt burden, some of which, according to him, was accrued during the leadership of opposition figures.
The Chief Government Spokesperson emphasized the improved democratic space under the UPND administration, allowing opposition leaders to campaign freely. He highlighted instances such as Citizens First President Harry Kalaba’s one-hour interview on the state-owned ZNBC Sunday Interview program, suggesting that such openness was not prevalent under the previous regime.