THREE traditional leaders from Southern Province have embarked on a national wide campaign on behalf of the United Party for National Development (UPND) ahead of the August general elections, Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) president Wright Musoma has said.

And Patriotic Front (PF) deputy spokesperson Frank Bwalya confirmed at a press briefing yesterday that the PF had credible information that three traditional leaders have embarked on a serious campaign national trail for the opposition political party.

The United Party for National Development (UPND) have allegedly incorporated three traditional leaders in their campaign team and  were set to be flown around the country for the UPND rallies where they would denounce the Patriotic Front (PF) candidate President Edgar Lungu.

The traditional leaders are reported to have resolved that time had come for a person from Southern Province to a republican president.

But UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka said he was not aware of any traditional leaders that had been parading with their  campaign teams. “But Lungu has been parading traditional leaders at State House and we have never complained,” Mr Katuka said.

Some traditional leaders were also allegedly spotted on Friday last week at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC) supporting Mr Hakainde Hichilema and Mr Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba during submissions of their nomination papers before the elections chairman Justice Esau Chulu. But Mr Musoma said it was wrong for traditional leaders to be incorporated in a national campaign team of any political party.

Mr Musoma said the traditional leaders who had been moving with the UPND campaign team had reduced themselves to insults and should not complain of being disrespected when youths from other political parties decide to politically respond to them.

“It is unacceptable for traditional leaders to reduce themselves to money or a bottle of wine. We shall embark on a campaign to persuade government to de-gazette traditional leaders who are campaigning for UPND,” he said.

Mr Musoma said the UPND shouldn’t abuse and brainwash royal highnesses by giving them money or a bottle of wine.

He said the UPND shouldn’t think that Zambians would vote for him by parading traditional leaders in his campaign programme.

“If he has failed to campaign with Sylvia Masebo, Guy Scott and GBM he should not abuse traditional leaders,” he said.

And Mr Bwalya has warned traditional leaders to stop going round the country de-campaigning the ruling party.

Speaking at a press briefing Mr. Bwalya said the ruling party had creditable information that three traditional leaders had embarked on a campaign trail for the opposition political party.

Mr Bwalya could, however, not disclose the names of the traditional leaders, adding that a press briefing was only meant to alarm the situation.

He said it was unfortunate that traditional leaders had resorted to openly campaigning for political parties when they were supposed to be non-partisan.

Mr. Bwalya also took time to dismiss media reports which suggested that President Edgar Lungu had been evacuated to South Africa because he had fallen ill.

He said it was unfortunate that the Post Newspaper had continued to publish stories to discredit the leadership of President Lungu.

Mr Bwalya said it was unacceptable for the Post Newspaper to continue misleading the nation and appealed to the management to realise that Zambia was a Christian nation.