PF MEMBER of the central committee Kebby Mbewe has claimed that a number of UPND members of parliament have approached the ruling party wanting to work with the government.
But UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa has dismissed the remark made when Mbewe received a UPND councilor who had defected to the ruling party saying he merely wanted to spice up the moment.
Mbewe said soon Zambians would see defections of UPND members of parliament to the ruling PF.
He said the PF was in talks with a good number of UPND members of parliament who had shown willingness to join the ruling party.
“Soon Zambians will hear defections of UPND MPs and we are currently in talks with them. They approached us wanting to work with the government of the day so it’s not only councillors that have realised that the five-year term is ending without them doing anything to the people who voted for them,” Mbewe said.
He said Zambians were wondering on how “the so-called largest opposition party in the country” could be swallowed to a two-month old NDC.
Mbewe said the decision the UPND management took to rally behind NDC in Luanshya had made it lose support on the ground.
“UPND is slowly sinking. How can a party that should be growing and expects to form government in two and half years remaining [before the 2021 general elections] can start failing to fill candidates in by-elections like Luanshya?” he wondered. “How can you as a party get swallowed to a baby political party that doesn’t even have structures? These are indications that UPND is getting finished and will never grow.”
He said under normal circumstances the NDC was the one supposed to have rallied behind UPND in the Luanshya by-elections.
In an interview after he received Pemba Constituency’s Maambo ward councillor Adyson Masuku Siambuli who defected to PF, Mbewe said those blaming the ruling party for the by-elections happening in the country must know that democracy was an expensive venture.
“The only way by-elections can be reduced in the country is when all those elected in positions work with the government of the day in delivering development because people during elections blindly vote for the opposition and after some time they realise that they need to work with the government of the day for them to attract development. And these are some of the cases we have now and as PF we can’t be blamed for that,” Mbewe said.
“People have been voting on regional basis and now they have seen that regional politics does not work. This is why two and half years is not a joke to let Zambian people suffer in the opposition. MPs and councillors want to get in touch with people who voted them into office and they cannot do that through only using their pockets without the influence of government.”
Mbewe said Zambians must understand that what was happening in the country regarding by-elections were constitutional and had nothing to do with the PF.
He explained that pursuing democracy would never be a cheaper undertaking and that people now must just accept its repercussions.
Mbewe said the reasons why leaders were elected into office was to deliver development and not to hold people at ransom.
“By-elections are constitutional and are held in the following circumstances; when one dies, resigns or is jailed and for someone to blame PF that we are wasting resources on by-elections is not fair because it’s what the Constitution says whenever there is vacuum in any position,” he said.
Mbewe said there was nothing wrong for people to resign if they realised that nothing was happening from the party on whose ticket they were voted.
He said it was clear for Zambians that the opposition UPND had nothing to offer to them for now hence it was facing a rebellion from its councillors who were yearning to see development happening in their respective wards.
“Zambians are tired of propaganda that the UPND is propagating against the Head of State and the PF government,” Mbewe said.
He expressed happiness that PF was making inroads in Southern Province, which was regarded as opposition UPND stronghold.
Mbewe said for PF to record a defection in Southern Province was a huge milestone indicating that President Edgar Lungu’s leadership had started making impact even in areas where the party did not get votes.
“It was unheard of for UPND councillors in Southern Province to defect to the ruling party and we are asking those that are still doubting to emulate their colleague who has chosen development for his people,” he said.
And Mbewe assured people of Southern Province that government would not neglect them in the current hunger situation.
He said there was no need for people to panic because President Lungu was a Head of State for the entire country.
“What affects Southern and Western Province or any other province in the country concerns government. It’s just unfortunate that this drought spell has happened in areas where the PF did not get votes however, government will be there for its people regardless of which political party they belong to,” said Mbewe.
But Mweetwa dismissed Mbewe was just politicking.
“You know in politics we must sometimes allow people to say whatever they want to say. I think he just wanted to spice up that occasion,” Mweetwa said. “There is no member of parliament in their right frame of mind who today can join PF at a time when if you are talking about Southern Province, you have farmers not paid on time after delivering maize to FRA, farmers not receiving inputs on time, now this particular farming season we had a lot of ghost agro-dealers connected to the PF swiping money which was meant for farmers. So the people who elected us are suffering under this government. Under this government civil servants are not paid on time; RTSA, I am told RTSA employees have not been paid for two months now, Zampost, eight to nine months now, National Housing Authority workers it’s above one year now. The University of Zanbiua has entered week seven or something like that and there is no indicator that that strike will end soon. The students who are at the university have been there for more than one month, no meal allowance.”
Mweetwa said many institutions, including those engaged in trading were struggling with a liquidity crisis under PF and nothing was moving.
“The country is at a crossroads,” he said. “Which member of parliament can join such a party? Let him enjoy with his new councillor. And for the councillor, we want to thank him for choosing to stand on the UPND and winning on his party of choice.”
Mweetwa thanked the councillor for his service to the people using the UPND as platform of choice and wished him well in his newfound partnership with PF.
“Unfortunately, it’s like going to bed with a devil. It’s just unfortunate that he has caused an unnecessary by-election. These are the things we have been talking about. How can PF be going round poaching councilors and causing unnecessary expenditure when the country is bleeding. It was at act of irresponsibility on the part of that councilor and also on the part of PF,” said Mweetwa.