COPPERBELT based Anglican priest Richard Luonde is an ordained Rainbow Party cadre who should not assume the role of Patriotic Front (PF) spokesperson to advise citizens who President Edgar Lungu and his Government should associate with, Brian Hapunda has said.
Mr Hapunda, the PF media and communication director said Fr Luonde was an ardent supporter of Rainbow Party leader Wynter Kabimba and must be reminded that he should be more concerned with the inability by his party to win the favour of Zambians.
He said the PF was a democratic party and citizens had a democratic right to belong to political parties of their choice without being coerced or bought by money and gifts as was the case in the Rainbow Party.
He told the Daily Nation that it was not up to Fr Luonde to choose political parties for Zambians and that the way he joined the Rainbow Party should be the same way other citizens should join their political parties of their choice.
He said President Edgar Lungu had consistently preached unity, forgiveness and reconciliation and that it was shocking that Fr Luonde had chosen a divisive path by condemning and maligning citizens joining the PF.
Mr Hapunda said the PF was going to have as many friends and sympathisers as possible and that it did not matter where the friends were coming from because freedom of association was a constitutional right.
Mr Hapunda explained that Zambians should realise that the country should not be polarized by the differences citizens were having and that was why President Lungu had embarked on a path of political healing.
He said President Lungu in his wisdom had seen that the country was politically fractured and was determined to reconcile Zambians whose differences were not only political but regional.
“It is not a secret that Fr Richard Luonde is an ordained cadre of the Rainbow Party and an ardent supporter of former Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba. When Mr Kabimba was the secretary general of the PF, Fr Luonde was full of praises for his self-anointed leader. Fr Luonde aggressively championed the interests of Mr Kabimba and it is not surprising that when his leader left the PF, he went along with him,’ Mr Hapunda said.
Mr Hapunda explained that the PF had become the strongest political party with President Lungu as its leader and that Zambians were happy that for the first time, leaders were preaching love, peace and unity.
Mr Hapunda said politics of vengeance, vindictiveness and retribution were only negating the democratic gains the country had achieved and called on Zambians to reject political leaders whose style of governance was anchored on hatred.
He stated that peace and tranquility had returned to the PF after the exit of its former secretary general who he accused of having embarked on a path to destroy political careers of other citizens under the guise of fighting corruption.