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Real leaders show up – Dipak

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Presidents 1Opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) Campaign Manager Dipak Patel has lashed out at ruling Patriotic Front (PF) President Edgar Lungu over his decision to shun the presidential debate held Thursday evening at Mulungushi International Conference center.

The debate, which featured UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema, Movement for Multi-party Democracy’s Nevers Mumba, Forum for Democracy and Development’s Edith Nawakwi, Green Party’s Peter Sinkamba and National Restoration Party’s Elias Chipimo Jr., has been widely hailed as a success by a cross section of opinion leaders and members of the public.

In a statement released to the media today, Patel accused Lungu of showing disregard for the people he is seeking to lead by refusing to defend his party’s three-year tenure and avail their plans for the next two years for public scrutiny.

Below is his full statement:

Debate is the cornerstone of any democracy, if leaders refuse to expose themselves to public scrutiny we end up with no accountability. The PF have shown their disregard for the public by refusing to debate the numerous issues that have plagued their short tenure or their vision for the next 2 years. Not only once, but twice.

Edgar Lungu’s absence is unsurprising and further indicates his disregard for not only the democratic process but for the public at large. You cannot be a man of the people if your not man enough to address the people.

With 4 days to go Mr Lungu is still to clearly set out his vision for the country and open himself up to questions. His reluctance to expose that lack of vision on TV and radio makes him appear scared of the other candidates. If you cannot hold your own in a forum amongst your fellow candidates then you clearly do not deserve to be President.

Leaders face up to responsibilities, they expose themselves to public scrutiny and they have to stand by past decisions, whether they’re bad or good. Accountability is a by-product of debate and integral to a healthy democracy, without scrutiny parties are left unchallenged and the status quo maintains itself, at the expense of the people.

We have challenged Lungu to debate and yet he still does not show. Lungu’s unwillingness to defend his party on a national platform is worrying to say the least and is indicative of a government that has no vision and little concern with accountability.

Dipak Patel

UPND Campaign Manager

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31