By WALLEN SIMWAKA, KAPALA CHISUNKA and PETER CHIKWAMPU
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Michael Sata on March 19 pleaded with opposition political parties to help his party win this year’s tripartite elections by forming loose political alliances with his party.
But United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema has described the plea as a little too late “public relations” stunt which will yield no results.
Mr Sata, during his address, bragged that the PF is the undisputable leading opposition political party that should be assisted by what he termed “small opposition political parties” to oust the MMD from government in this year’s general elections.
Mr Sata, who claimed the PF is the biggest opposition said his party needs to accommodate smaller opposition political parties to strengthen his chances of winning the elections this year.
He made the plea to other opposition political parties when he opened the Lusaka Province PF conference at Garden House Hotel on March 19.
The PF leader said opposition political parties can co-operate and unite even after the alliance it entered into with the UPND collapsed.
Mr Sata has blamed the MMD for the demise of the PF-UPND pact, alleging that the ruling party manipulated the opposition political party.
The UPND has since announced that it will go it alone in this year’s tripartite elections but Mr Sata is still calling on “smaller opposition political parties” to consider working with the PF.
PF Lusaka Province chairperson Davies Chama has said his party regrets the collapse of the pact it formed with the UPND.
The UPND and the MMD have in recent weeks stated that the PF is not as strong as its leaders claim it is.
The PF has reportedly been sending emissaries to the UPND to try and keep the pact alive, but the UPND has categorically stated that the alliance is dead.
And on March 19, Mr Hichilema said during the UPND’s card renewal exercise in Lusaka that the pact failed to work because leaders in the PF were more interested in fighting for positions than focusing on fostering the interests of the pact and serving Zambians.
“As UPND, we are not ready to continue working with the PF and the pact. In fact, PF’s sentiments that they are willing to continue working with us and revive the pact are mere public relations,” Mr Hichilema said.
He said the PF should not be voted for because bringing the PF into power would be like recycling old politicians as most of the people in the PF have already served in previous governments.
“It is unfortunate that our colleagues in the PF were more interested in positions than in making the pact work. That is the reason they were always attacking the UPND through the media,” he said.
Mr Hichilema said the UPND joined the pact because their interest was in serving the people of Zambia and that was an objective they were still holding on to.
He said that any attempt to derail or mislead the party by the PF will not work.
Meanwhile, Mr Sata has castigated PF Lusaka members of Parliament for not protesting against Government when the Lusaka City Council was suspended.
Mr Sata described the MPs as docile.
Mr Sata told Mandevu member of Parliament Jean Kapata to stop threatening the police that she would undress but should instead go to the Inter-City Bus Station and undress in protest against the suspension of the council.
The PF Lusaka provincial conference was delayed by violence when PF and MMD cadres clashed, leaving some of them injured.
The Kanyama township residential area around Garden House Hotel, the venue of the PF conference, is an MMD stronghold.
The violence is said to have been triggered by some PF cadres who went to an MMD post and started removing the ruling party’s flags.
Kanyama MMD youth chairperson William Daka said that this infuriated his members, who resisted the attempt by the PF members to rip the MMD flags off the post.
The clash raged for about three hours, disrupting the flow of traffic on the Mumbwa Road until the police restored calm.
Lusaka Province officer commanding Mulekeni Zulu said the police dispersed the rival cadres.
University Teaching Hospital sources said three people were treated for injuries and that by press time two of them had been discharged.