THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has described Katuba Member of Parliament as a difficult and truant member who was never grateful to the party from the day he was elected as MP on the party’s its ticket.
But Patriotic Front (PF) deputy spokesperson Frank Bwalya said UPND’s dream of winning the 2016 general elections has been shattered following the departure of Mr. Shakafuswa because he is a political heavyweight.
UPND vice President Canisius Banda said the UPND will not be distracted by Mr. Shakafuswa’s departure because it was destined for victory in this year’s election but said the party would respect his decision because it was merely expressing his constitutional right of association.
Dr. Banda said despite his concerns from various sectors of society not to adopt Mr. Shakafuswa during the by-election in Katuba but that he had given a lesson to the UPND about his character.
He however, Dr. Banda said the party will respect the decision of the Katuba lawmaker.
“From the day he was elected, he has been truant, his loyalty has been questionable and his conduct has been at variance with the spirit of collective responsibility required of progressive political parties. Mr. Shakafuswa has been a difficult MP for the UPND.
“Further, the spirit of gratitude due to the UPND was not demonstrated by Mr. Shakafuswa despite the fact that we adopted him against strong advice and protestations from traditional and other authorities. His departure from the UPND, if it is true, should be respected by all. It is a clear illustration and demonstration that Jonas Shakafuswa is aware of his liberties as a citizen,” Dr. Banda said.
But Mr. Bwalya said the move had left the UPND in a state of panic as it will have an adverse effect on its chances of winning the election.
He said Mr. Shakafuswa’s decision was long overdue and that it was a reflection of opinions held by most UPND parliamentarians who were secretly appreciating what the PF administration was doing.
He said while the UPND will downplay the departure of Mr. Shakafuswa, the damage had already been done to its ambitions, adding that the PF was just waiting for the dissolution of Parliament as that would be the defining moment as more MPs from the opposition were already positioning themselves for defection.
“The decision by Mr. Shakafuswa to support President Lungu is the beginning of the crumbling of UPND. Its hopes of winning this election have been shattered because he is a factor in politics and will pose a huge challenge for them in this election.
“Of course they will downplay this development as usual but deep down their hearts they know that this is a big blow to them as this is a defining moment for them and are already panicking because they are scared that he will de-campaign them,” Mr. Bwalya said.
‘‘This is the beginning of great things to come for the PF. We are expecting more MPs from the opposition especially after the dissolution of Parliament,” Mr. Bwalya said.
And Mr. Bwalya has appealed to the people of Southern Province not to be held hostage by the UPND by changing their voting pattern if development was to take centre stage in the area.
“If it was not for the regional voting in Southern Province, many MPs under the UPND who secretly appreciate what President Lungu is doing would have done what Mr. Shakafuswa has done a long time ago but they are scared that they may lose their seats,” he said.