HAKAINDE Hichilema is being extremely provocative by declaring that the Patriotic Front (PF) will soon start seeking permission from the UPND to hold political campaign meetings in the region, three MPs from the Copperbelt have charged.
The Copperbelt MPs said the statement by Mr Hichilema, who is the United Party for National Development (UPND) president, that his party will soon be sanctioning the presence of the ruling party in the region could easily spark strife in the region.
Nchanga MP Wilbur Simuusa, Chililabombwe MP Esther Banda and Roan MP Chishimba Kambwili have warned that should the PF prove their supremacy on the Copperbelt, the UPND would be extinguished because the ruling party was commanding unmatched popularity.
Mr Kambwili has branded the UPND an extremely provocative political organisation whose leadership was determined to continue causing chaos to invent reasons to reject the results of the August general elections.
Commenting on Mr Hichilema’s statement to his supporters in Lusaka on Monday that UPND would knock out the PF in the first round of the August 11 election because the people on the Copperbelt had revolted against the ruling party, Mr Kambwili said the UPND should not use their ‘‘political fantasy’’ to create political consternation because the ruling party would want to preside over an electoral process that was free, fair, transparent and democratic.
Mr Kambwili said Mr Hichilema should learn from what happened in 2015 presidential election when he lost to President Lungu while claiming that the Copperbelt Province had revolted against the PF.
“Let him continue with his day-dreaming because I can assure you that the PF has maintained its dominance on the Copperbelt. We are not hearing this from Mr Hichilema for the first time and we understand his love for political fantasy but let me tell you that come 11th August, wina azalila (someone will cry),” Mr Kambwili said.
And Mr Simuusa said the UPND would have to work extremely hard to take over the Copperbelt in popularity because the PF was still far ahead and the political wind was not likely to change any time soon.
He said while it could be true that the UPND had gained some mileage, it was not to the level where the opposition political party could supersede the dominance of the ruling party.
“We are in a political period and Mr Hichilema is certainly imagining his popularity because the PF is still very strong on the Copperbelt. Nothing major has happened whether politically or economically and the people in the region are still with the PF. We cannot deny the fact that the UPND enjoys some presence on the Copperbelt but not to be more popular than PF,” Mr Simuusa said. Chililabombwe MP Esther Banda said the PF had remained the strongest political movement on the Copperbelt and if its members were to rise against the UPND to prove their supremacy, there would be chaos in the region.
Reacting to claims by Mr Hichilema that the UPND would by May this year start deciding whether the PF would have to hold its meetings on the Copperbelt, Mrs Banda said such careless statement had the potential to cause strife and it was therefore important for the UPND leader to check his language.
She said Mr Hichilema was politically day-dreaming but that his political fantasy was reaching dangerous levels and should therefore be made to account for his provocative statements.
Mrs Banda said the PF dominance on the Copperbelt was solid and that no opposition political party would ever take over the supremacy of the ruling party.
“We realise that Mr Hichilema and his UPND have become dangerously desperate to oust the PF from Government but they will not succeed. But let me caution that his declaration that the PF would have to get permission from the UPND whether to have our meetings has the potential to cause strife.
‘‘The PF is an extremely popular political party on the Copperbelt and if our members rose to prove their supremacy against the UPND, they would easily be obliterated. We appeal to the law enforcement agencies to keenly follow Mr Hichilema’s statements because he is inciting violence,” Mrs Banda said.