By OLIVER SAMBOKO
UPND government has an uphill battle to convince the people to get immunised against the Covid-19, because while in opposition, the party claimed the pandemic was a hoax, former Health Minister Jonas Chanda has said.
Dr Chanda observed that the nation now finds itself in a fierce fight to get a herd immunity as a deadly wave of Covid-19 approaches. Dr Chanda said the lies peddled by the UPND hampered the fight against Covid-19 and have come back to haunt them as it will be hard to go back to the people to convince them that the pandemic is real.
Dr Chanda even asked why the UPND government is relaunching the Covid-19 campaign when in the past they claimed that the pandemic was a hoax. Dr Chanda also observed that had the UPND not boycotted the fight against the pandemic when in opposition and looking at the number of votes the party garnered in the last general election, the country would have scored highly against the pandemic.
Dr Chaanda also revealed while the party was openly claiming the pandemic was a hoax, a number of UPND MPs in the last Parliament secretly got vaccinated at Parliament clinic. “If the 2.8 million people who voted for UPND were encouraged to get vaccinated, we could have been in a better position in terms of the immunity herd, but the leadership in that party decided to politicise the fight against Covid-19,” he said.
Dr Chanda said Covid-19, is political party blind and that the people the country has lost to the pandemic are not just from one certain party but affected all Zambians regardless of their political belonging. He said UPND while in opposition should have realised that people’s lives are bigger than politics. “They politicised the issue of Covid without realising that they were risking the health and lives of the citizens,” he said.
Dr Chanda said it was wrong and a miscalculation for the UPND to accuse the PF administration of using the pandemic as an excuse to stop others from carrying out their political activities ahead of the general election at a time when the country was hard hit by the pandemic and people were dying.