[By Oliver Chisenga in Kalomo]
FORMER National Empowerment Forum executive director Edgar Siakachoma says UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema needs to be surrounded by people who not only understand the challenges that the country is grappling with, but also have the heart and skills to deal with them.
In an interview after he lodged in his nomination for the Kalomo Central parliamentary seat on the UPND ticket, Siakachoma said Zambia’s social and economic outlook is currently at its worst, a situation which calls for unity in diversity.
Siakachoma, who has been endorsed to run for office by traders, taxi drivers and farmers who escorted him to the filing centre, said Zambia needs to unite and rally behind the leadership of Hichilema otherwise there would be no Zambia to talk about after five years.
“President Lungu has taught all of us good lessons regarding blind voting. As we go to the polls in August, songs and political rhetoric should not blind us. Let’s give ourselves a credible and competent leadership in HH and his team. Zambians have a perfect chance to redeem themselves,” Siakachoma said.
He said his call to join politics has been compelled by the need to make a difference in leadership owing to a dismal performance by those in government.
Siakachoma said he could not afford to see hard working farmers and marketeers living in abject poverty owing to bad governance despite their efforts to better their lives.
“Kalomo like many other towns in Zambia is predominantly a farming area. People here keep animals and grow various crops but this blind PF government has been a letdown to these farmers. Farming inputs have been politicised, and those who are lucky are given to farmers at wrong times of the year. And buying of farmers’ produce which is a government activity through the Food Reserve Agency is also a disaster,” he said. “What kind of a government is this? So with my wealth of experience as a civil society member I have joined politics to change the narrative. There has to be sanity in serving the masses. I know it is going to be an uphill battle but with a focused leader like Hakainde Hichilema, a man with an impeccable record in business, it is possible to make Zambia a better place.”
Siakachoma urged his supporters to make sure their voter registration details are verified before the verification process closes today.
He said the process of change should begin with the people’s will to make sure they are not disenfranchised deliberately.
Siakachoma, who is challenging the incumbent Harry Kamboni, brought Kalomo to a standstill as he walked to the UPND filing centre amid cheering supporters and hooting vehicles.