UNITED Party for National Development president Hakainde Hichilema on Friday charmed Lusaka residents and marketeers when he made an impromptu visit to Northmead, Longacres markets and Woodlands Shopping mall. Hichilema was in the company of UPND Lusaka mayoral candidate Kangwa Chileshe and several other senior party officials.
Soon after appearing on Radio Phoenix’s ‘Let the People Talk’ radio programme, UPND strategist and mobilisation chairperson Sylvia Masebo led the opposition leader to Northmead Market to the awe of the traders.
The smiling opposition leader stepped out of his car and greeted whoever crossed his path.
He proceeded to interact with the traders as others jostled to take selfies with him.
Soon after his arrival, word went round that he was in the area and before long people thronged the spot but he said his goodbyes, leaving people yearning for his presence.
Clad in an Ubuntu hat, the opposition leader proceeded to Longacres where he visited Stanbic Bank, former LA Fast Foods, the filling station and the market.
His presence there attracted scores, who used the opportunity to take selfies with the opposition leader.
Most people assured him and Chileshe that they would vote for a better Lusaka.
Children from Lusaka Girls were not left out of the activities as they also gathered to not only have a glimpse of the UPND leader but also take pictures with him.
It was at Longacres where Hichilema and his team decided to have lunch and to the shock of everyone, the market was the preferred eating place.
He ordered T/bone, Fish, Fisashi (Vegetables mixed with pounded groundnuts) and beans.
After lunch, Hichilema proceeded to the taxi rank where he interacted with drivers before leaving.
After the Longacres treat, Hichilema visited Crossroads Shopping Mall in Woodlands where he also interacted with Spar workers and shoppers.
Upon arrival, he went to Spar but his entry took long as he talked, greeted and took pictures with shoppers and traders.
Inside Spar, workers took turns, taking pictures with him as he went round picking items for his shopping basket.
After about 45 minutes in Spar, Hichilema was finally ‘allowed’ to leave.
In an interview later, Hichilema said his visit to the various places that day was to merely appreciate the challenges that come with the high cost of doing business.
He also heard how markets have been politicised but promised that Kangwa would depoliticise markets once voted into the mayoral office.
“This was meant to appreciate the challenges that come with the high cost of doing business in an environment whose electricity and fuel prices are ever rising. We also heard how the markets have become highly politicised. And we pledged to depoliticise them once Kangwa is voted into power. UPND remains committed to ensuring an enabling environment for business to thrive and it is within our vision that marketeers, bus and taxi drivers are provided with safe, clean, adequate and alternative trading places,” Hichilema said.
He further said UPND would clean the city and restore law and order, sanity and development as opposed to land grabbing and all kinds of illegal and unlawful activities as was the case.
“In view of that, we call on Lusaka residents to go flat out and campaign for our candidate, Kangwa Chileshe. We are confident that UPND will clean the city and bring about law and order, sanity and development as opposed to land grabbing and all kinds of illegal and unlawful activities as is the case now. Fellow Lusaka residents, do not tire, the Lusaka mayoral election is a blessing to all of us so that we can begin experiencing a new journey full of hope and Kangwa Chileshe is our torchbearer. Trust us, we will, through our mayor, Kangwa Chileshe, work for you. We truly believe in service to you our people and not unto ourselves,” said Hichilema.