UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says the forthcoming parliamentary by-elections in Mangango constituency in Kaoma district of Western province will serve as a litmus test for himself and President Michael Sata.
Mr Hichilema said a vote for a Member of Parliament in Mangango constituency will not just be about electing a member of the legislature, but a contest between himself and the republican president.
He said this in an interview yesterday, when he made a stopover in Kaoma where he also visited the district’s two main markets before briefly addressing party sympathisers at Isha Mbingo lodge.
Mr Hichilema, who also was swarmed by party fanatics, said at every opportune time only one party member can be adopted to contest for any seat and urged those who might not be adopted not to despair but support the party’s preferred candidate for that particular time.
He said fuel in the country had become too expensive and the kwacha has continued depreciating, an indication that the PF’s economic management system was not prudent.
Mr Hichilema said unemployment rates in the country have equally surged, adding that a win for the UPND is the only passport to development.
He bemoaned delays by government to announce the maize floor prices, describing the manoeuvres as a failure on the part of the PF government to deliver on its promises.
Mr Hichilema was accompanied by Senanga Central UPND Member of Parliament Likando Mufalali, Lukulu West UPND MP Misheck Mutelo, Chikankata UPND MP Munji Habeenzu as well as the western provincial leadership led by their chairperson Mubita wa Mubita.
Other notables in attendance included former Mandevu FDD MP Patricia Nawa, former Lukulu east ULP MP Batuke Imenda and former Programme Against Malnutrition director Fridah Luhila.
And during the stopover, Kaoma MMD district youth chairperson Kenny Ndumba and Luampa MMD district chairperson Davy Makozo, who also served as political attaché at the Zambian embassy in South Africa, defected to the UPND.
Mr Ndumba said he has never been associated with losing since 2006 when he was campaign manager for former deputy defence minister Akakandelwa Mwendoi and in 2011 when he campaigned for former commerce deputy minister Taundi Chiseke.