TEN senior United Party for National Development (UPND) members – who hail from Western Province – have resigned from their party to join the ruling Patriotic Front (PF).
The UPND members who were led by former party deputy secretary general and UPND president Hakainde Hichilema’s campaign co-ordinator and strategist, Sikwindi Situla defected to the PF on October 19 at the PF secretariat.
Situla resigned from UPND after he was not adopted to stand in Mumba. He contested as an independent candidate and lost.
The defectors include Patricia Mulasikwanda (chairperson health and nutrition), Inonge Mubayaeta (Western Province chairperson), Beatrice Kwendakwema (deputy national chairperson ) and Queen Kakoma (Western Province treasurer).
Others are Grace Imamunwa (Western Province trustee ), Lawrence Nyambe (chairperson livestock and fisheries), Mulele Munene (Mongu district chairperson), Boyd Moka (former Mongu mayor) and Friday Makondo (a youth leader from Western Province).
Others who joined the PF were Joseph Munsanje – who contested the Mbabala seat as an independent candidate and Nathan Bukonke from North-Western Province.
Speaking during the defection, Mr Situla said the former UPND members have decided to join the PF because UPND’s alliance with MMD.
“We have come as a group to PF to seek refuge in the boat so that those who have blood on their hands of killing our brothers and sisters innocently as they were should come and face justice,” he said.
And PF secretary general and spokesperson Wynter Kabimba said he has been tasked by President Sata to meet groups from Western, Southern and North-Western Provinces.
He said PF members should realise that the party still remains weak in these three provinces hence the need to recruit more people from the provinces.
He said the PF wants to build a national party which cuts across all the provinces.
“We want to have a President in State House who is acceptable to all the Zambian people across the provinces. And that is why you see the president in his deliberate effort to achieve that principle he has made some appointments that cut across our party spectrum,” Mr Kabimba said.
He said PF members should accept Mr Sata’s decision becausehe is not only a PF president but President for all Zambians.
Mr Kabimba said PF members argue with Mr Sata in central committee meetings on why he is so forgiving to some people who allegedly insulted him.
“Mr Sata’s answer is that if me who was been insulted I have forgiven them, what about you who were not insulted? This is the truth about the man known as Michael Sata,” he said.
He said PF members are genuine supporters of the party they should go by the philosophy of President Sata’s way of life and leadership.
Mr Kabimba appealed to PF members to accommodate the members from UPND because the ruling party is a party for Zambians.
PF Western Province chairman Chief Namatulo said the resignation of senior UPND members from the province has paralysed the opposition party.
Earlier, ardent PF members caused commotion and delay of the press briefing at the secretariat when they vowed not to receive the defectors.
Chilenje Ward 8 secretary Francis Mulenga said it is painful that the opposition members are joining the PF to solicit for jobs.
Mr Mulenga said PF members want to enjoy the fruits of their 10-year struggle in opposition and will not allow any person from the opposition to take away the jobs which belongs to PF members.