By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
CORNELIUS Mweetwa warns that the ruling UPND can be removed from power by the people and the first instance comes in 2026, “if we do not do what the people want”.
And Mweetwa says the media which was suppressed by the PF regime played a major role to ensure the UPND won the August 12
The Choma Central UPND member of parliament who also doubles as party spokesperson and Southern Province minister, said Zambians decided to keep quiet under the brutal PF government and waited for August 12 when they spoke loudly leaving the former ruling party in disarray.
Addressing UPND councillors and party officials at Woodlands Lodge, Mweetwa called on the ruling party members to defend President Hakainde Hichilema from baseless political attacks.
“We as UPND are capable of being removed from power by the people and the first instance comes in 2026 if we do not do what the people want,” he warned. “To do what the people want it is not for the party, it is the government of UPND under the ‘New Dawn’ administration under the leadership of President Hakainde Hichilema. Hence the need for us as a party to be ready to defend His Excellency so that he and his administration are left to work for the people of Zambia, instead of defending themselves from unnecessary attacks coming from the opposition Patriotic Front and its surrogates. Some of them like Sean Tembo [PeP leader], we all know that when he was impersonating himself as an opposition political party leader he spent more time attacking his fellow opposition leader at that time Hakainde Hichilema.”
Mweetwa said Tembo was the one superintending over PF corruption by not attacking the then ruling party but instead concentrated on attacking Hichilema.
“Now that we have formed government he has continued to attack His Excellency the President of Zambia Hakainde Hichilema…so it is not about attacking government, it is because he is bitter, attacking an individual,” he said. “So you the party members don’t leave such people
unattended to. And get me clearly, I am not talking about violence. I am talking about responses. This government is too new to be indented with with a lot of criticism from these people who are saying they are confused. The beauty is that the people of Zambia have seen that whatever they are trying to say is all about bitterness.”
And Mweetwa noted that without the media the UPND would have not made it, because the then opposition political party and its leader
Hichilema was being disallowed from campaigning.
He said Hichilema was denied permits to fly to any place in Zambia on several occasions.
“So to emerge victorious under such a very hostile environment was not an easy task. So the President knows who this victory belongs to. It belongs to the people of Zambia generally but for you gathered in this room it belongs to you personally because you went into the fields to
go and campaign…” he said. “We as a party are happy that the challenges of the campaign did not reflect the outcome of the results. The results were so resounding and in unison at all stages and the UPND and its alliance won.”
Mweetwa warned UPND members countrywide not to resort to factionalism.
“There should be no faction here in Livingstone, like there should be no factionalism in Choma or indeed in Chipata or Kaputa. The party now is no longer an opposition and requires every member to be at their best in terms of loyalty, in terms of hard work. Because when we were in the opposition that was easy politics. Attacking the ruling party is easy politics because you can say anything you wish against them including things that are baseless and substantiated. You can say them through the enjoyment of the freedom of speech,” he noted. “So what I am saying is that to attack as an opposition is easier than to defend government policy and decisions. To defend government decisions you require a united and strong party so that when the opposition PF come up with attacks at our government, things that are political in nature – that are not government policy, we as a party should be at our best to engage the PF at party to party level. They should leave government alone.”
Mweetwa added that leaving the government spokesperson to respond to political attacks on the ruling party from the opposition would be putting pressure onto the government.
“The government spokesperson is there to protect the government policy, measures and decisions and to defend those decisions. The government spokesperson is not there to defend President Hichilema from uncensored attacks from Sean Tembo, Raphael Nakacinda and Given Lubinda,” he said. “These people are still suffering from a hangover of a heavy defeat. They are confused to borrow the words of Hon Given Lubinda.”
Mweetwa lectured Lubinda on why the PF lost the August 12 elections.
“He (Lubinda) should not continue to be in a state of confusion together with his friends. Let them come to terms that a government is a creature of the will of the people and not the leaders who are in government. And when people decide to change a government they accordingly change it…Why they lost, I am here now to provide answers why the PF lost and I will sum it in this way,” he said. “The now opposition PF lost the just ended general elections because they suppressed the media and also suppressed alternative opposing voices that were going to be reminding them of the things they needed to avoid so that they are in sync with what the people of Zambia wanted. The unleashed cadres on the media, shutting down Prime TV, The Post Newspaper, attacked radio stations that were broadcasting even recorded programmes from the opposition. Anybody who wanted to speak against corruption was an immediate enemy of the PF. Judges, senior lawyers like my former lecturer John Sangwa SC, when they wanted to speak they were called cadres of the UPND and invited that they meet the PF in the field. So people of Zambia decided to keep quiet and waited when they could speak once and they spoke once and loudly and the PF are still in disarray.”
Mweetwa asked the UPND to quickly regroup and allow an open door policy for its old members who had joined the PF because the PF is gone and cannot be rebranded.
“Instead of rebranding with paint, repent for your corruption and violence – that is what they need to do. There is no question of PF. So let’s go to those structures of the PF…I am on hunt to join the district chairman and the province to receive these people when they come,” said Mweetwa.