Hichilema and his vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, who e on a tour of Central and Copperbelt provinces arrived in Kabwe to a thunderous welcome as residents packed the streets to catch a glimpse of the opposition leader.
“Isa utupusushe, twachula pafula. Ivoti yena tulekupela nomba wikatulaba kwati ba PF. Twafwa kunsala naba makaka ba PF, ino inshita niwebo weMutonga tulefwaya. Mona ba company nabaisala, isa utupusushye twalafwa (come and rescue us, we have suffered enough. We will give you the vote but you should not forget us like the PF has done. We are dying of hunger because of these cruel people in PF, this time it’s you a Tonga we want. Look, they have closed the companies here, come and rescue us, we are going to die),” said one Kabwe resident who jogged along Hichilema’s motorcade.
Other residents shouted “Aleisa! Aleisa Aleisa! ku Mulungushi”, as the opposition leader headed for the defunct Zambia-China Mulungushi Textile for a tour, where he was denied him access by a Zambia National Service officer.
In an interview, Hichilema said the failure to reopen the textile by the current regime had exposed there incapacity to run industries.
“Look, this place can be productive, this place can be of value to the people of Zambia, especially the people of Kabwe. It is supposed to generate jobs. Michael Sata promised at a rally in Lundazi in 2012 after he became President that he was going to reopen this textile, he did not. Another President, Edgar Lungu took over and came here to make pronouncements, he has also failed,” Hichilema said.
“They have failed to reopen it because they have no capacity to do that and you cannot have such a huge asset, such a huge investment going to waste like this. So for us, that is why we are working on attracting investments, to bring investments into Kabwe for the people of Kabwe.”
And UPND vice-president for administration Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba who also is former defence minister in the PF administration said before his resignation, he had left all the necessary work done for the reopening of the defunct textile industry.
“When I was Minister of Defence, because this industry falls under the Ministry of Defence, I was in the fore-front to negotiate with the investor… I think from the time that I left, two years after I resigned, they never made a follow up and that simply means that there is no political will by this current regime to reopen this industry,” said Mwamba.
And speaking earlier on a live radio programme on KNC radio, Hichilema charged that given a full five-year term, Lungu and his administrations would force Zambians to starve to death.
He further charged that lawyer, Tutwa Ngulube’s conduct was a sign that the ruling party thrives on violence.
“You saw the boy they call Tutwa Ngulube, I wonder where he did his law and I hear you the people of Kabwe want to make him your Member of Parliament with that calibre, when we were driving into Kabwe he mobilised his thugs wanting to force us to react, but we told our people to ignore him because we are a peaceful party and we shall not behave like them,” Hichilema said.
Tutwa Ngulube on Wednesday mobilised a group of cadres and drove ahead of the UPND procession and parked in the middle of the road, chanting PF slogans to bock the opposition leader.
But Hichilema and his entourage moved forward before veering away and proceeding to the overflowing Hindu Hall where he addressed his supporters.
He said the people of Kabwe were ready for change.
“We are all suffering and we have suffered enough, Lungu has failed in all sectors of the economy and he must not be tolerated in the August 11, 2016 general elections. We need a visionary leadership as a nation, help us by voting for UPND into power for us to help you live decent and better lives. Our priority is to make life affordable for all Zambians and we will deliver within our first term in office,” said Hichilema.