FORMER Commerce minister Bob Sichinga has re-joined the United Party for National Development (UPND) after he was left out of President Edgar Lungu’s Government following the 2015 presidential election arising from the death of president Michael Sata.
And UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has denied allegations that he was sponsoring riots and violence at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and the Copperbelt University (CBU) which have since been closed following a spate of violent clashes which left a trail of destruction at the two institutions of higher learning.
Mr Sichinga said he had decided to re-join the UPND because President Lungu did not need his services after leaving him out of his Cabinet and was therefore going to ensure the opposition political party was ushered into government after the general elections in August.
Mr Sichinga said he was not re-joining the UPND but was only coming back to where he belonged because he had never renounced his membership with the opposition political party.
He told UPND vice-president for administration, Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM), that he was not coming back to the UPND to take his position but to be part of the team that was going to usher Mr Hichilema into State House.
Mr Sichinga claimed that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government did not have the capacity to handle the economic and political affairs of the country and that was why the exchange rate was unmanageable.
“I had gone into self-imposed silence and journalists have been calling me to find out about my political future. Today, you have the answer. I am not re-joining the UPND but I am only coming back where I belong.
‘‘I have come back home and I want to help the UPND form government in the same way I helped the PF and late president Sata defeat the MMD. The PF in its current form has no capacity to manage the economic affairs of the country and we need a young and vibrant leader in the name of Mr Hichilema to deliver the country from its economic quandary,” Mr Sichinga said.
And Mr Hichilema accused the PF government of extravagantly spending State resources on acquiring campaign materials while failing to pay university students their meal allowances.
Mr Hichilema said it was not fair Government to blame him for the protests and riots that have in the last few months characterised the University of Zambia and the Copperbelt University.