Speaking when he addressed a mammoth rally at Chikupili Grounds in Mkushi South yesterday, Mr. Hichilema said Mkushi was a predominantly farming block and new what farmers want in the country.
“I am a farmer and I know what you farmers want because I am on the ground feeling the same pinch myself. I have just come from Vubwi and Kasenengwa constituencies in Eastern province where I had a wonderful reception by the locals there. The problem of the farming community are all the same everywhere I go. They are all crying about the late delivery of farming inputs and low purchase price for most of your produce despite the huge expense involve in farming,” Mr. Hichilema told the cheering crowds as he spoke mainly in Lala.
Mr. Hichilema said there was need to lower the cost of food production in the country through among other measures, lowering the cost of inputs and fuel.
He said as long as the pump price of fuel remained high in the country, all the other commodities including farming inputs, transport to the market, will remain high.
“The PF are claiming there is bumper harvest in the country. But the prices of all the commodities including mealie meal have remained high largely because of the cost of production dictated by high fuel prices and other factors such as high farming input costs. Some of you have even packed your tractors because of the high fuel prices in the country,” he told the crowd that kept shouting aleisa aleisa.
He reiterated the need for government to announce the floor price for maize and other agriculture produce even before the farming season so that farmers can plan properly.
“Now tell me who is capable of delivering farming inputs on time and lower the cost of food production in the country between me and president Michael Sata and his PF government who are just sleeping in State House? Mr. Hichilema asked the crowd that responded its HH aleisa aleisa.
Mr. Hichilema said Central province should replicate what they did in Katuba by voting for the UPND candidate, Agness Mambwe, as it was the in-coming government in 2016.
Mr. Hichilema caused laughter when he reminded the crowd that he was ever indebted and happy with Central province because they gave him his wife.
“This province is very dear to me. You gave me a wife and beautiful children. Now keep giving me more quality Members of Parliament (MPs) as payment for marrying from you the people of Central province,” Mr. Hichilema joked as the crowd burst into wild cheers shouting aleisa aleisa, and abesu abesu.
And the UPND candidate in the Mkushi South constituency by-election, Agness Mambwe, commonly referred to as the Princess among the locals, said she will do less talking but more work when voted on September 11th.
Ms. Mambwe, who is a former councilor in the area, said she knew the problems of the local people in the area having served as councilor in the same area.
“We have problems of feeder roads in this area. We have poor water and sanitation issues. We have poor health facilities that needed immediate improvement. And there was no better person to do that than your local princess, myself who grew and have lived with you throughout. I am your daughter and a mother and feel for our people here,” she told the crowd to much jubilation and chanting.