UPND President Hakainde Hichilema has continued campaigning in Northern Province making major policy pronouncements his government will implement when if elected president.
Mr Hichilema has told people that he will reduce the costs of mealie meal, fuel, and will ensure job creation is achieved through revitalization of industries that have gone under in the area.
Mr Hichilema who has again visited Mr Henry Kanyanta Sosala in Kasama, for the second time in about two weeks time, re-iterating his stance that he will immediately recognize him as the paramount chief of the Bemba people once elected president.
In a meeting that was also attended by Chief Munkonge yesterday, Mr. Hichilema told Mr Sosala that once elected president, he would formerly write his decision to recognize him as Chief Chitimukulu to put the matter to rest.
And earlier Mr Hichilema and his entourage which included Kasama Central MP Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, Lunte MP Felix Mutati, Lubanseshi MP Patrick Mcheleka, former first lady Maureen Mwanawasa, UPND National Chairperson Mutale Nalumango, attended a church service at St. John’s Cathedral in Kasama in the morning.
Later at the Kasama rally at Presidents Park in the afternoon, Mr Hichilema told the people that he will continue with the infrastructure and development projects that were embarked on by all previous regimes, including those left by the late President Micheal Sata.
Mr. Hichilema said there is huge tourism potential in Northern Province that his government will exploit to the benefit of local people and help create jobs, especially for the youths.
He emphasized on the need to reduce the price of farm inputs such as fertilizer so that peasant farmers can grow more food and consequently lower the cost of mealie meal and other food products in the country, such as cassava.
Several other people spoke at the UPND’s Kasama rally including Lunte MP Felix Mutati who said as parliamentarians, they sat and resolved that only Mr. Hichilema and the UPND in alliance with MMD MPs would develop the country.
Lubansenshi MP Patrick Mcheleka spoke at length on how the people of Southern and Northern Provinces had previously joined hands in working together at critical times.
Mcheleke gave examples of how late veteran politician Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe worked with other freedom fighter heroes such as Harry Mwanga Nkumbura in order to liberate Zambia.
And Former MMD National Secretary Richard Kachingwe has also thrown his weight behind Mr. Hichilema and the UPND.
Major Kachingwe told the gathering at President Park that the whole country is now behind the candidature of Mr Hichilema as the only viable presidential contender who should be given an opportunity to rule Zambia.
Former PF Eastern Province Chairman Lameck Mangani who has since backed Mr Hichilema for Presidency, also emphasized on the need for the county to once more come together and unite behind the leadership of the UPND President Hakainde Hichilema.
Others who spoke included several MMD MPs that had flown for the Kasama rally such as Elijah Muchima, Prof. Geoffrey Lungwangwa, Richard Mwanza, and former Mkaika MP David Phiri.
Former first lady Maureen Mwanawasa described Mr. Hichilema as an energetic, intelligent and vibrant young leader who was a given Messiah to economically liberate and better the lives of the Zambian people.
UPND National Chairperson Mutale Nalumango said Mr. Hichilema grew up in the village and fully understands the suffering of the people in rural areas and will not forget them because of his experience.
A number of PF leaders in the province also defected from their party to join the UPND saying late Sata was PF, and PF was Sata, and so it died with him.
Later Mr. Hichilema left Kasama flew to direct to Luwingu where he found hundreds of people waiting for him at a place where his entourage landed.
Mr Hichilema then walked a distance 3 kilometres uphill with people who welcomed him, all the way to to the venue of the rally.
The little town of Luwingu was painted in UPND colours and several people including Lunte MP Felix Mutati, Lubansenshi MP Patrick Mucheleka, former first lady Maureen Mwanawasa and others also delivered the same message of hope and development under the UPND and Mr. Hichilema.
After the Luwingu rally, Mr. Hichilema went to pay a courtesy call on Chief Chipalo of the Bemba speaking people.
The Chief told him that the people of Luwingu had been waiting for him for a long time now.
He said “kumutima kubute mwitwishika iyo, bakamwivotela” (Don’t worry, people will vote for you)”.
Chief Chipalo said the Bemba people had never gone through what they had experienced in the 3 years of PF rule.
“It’s the first time we saw a government fighting its own people after the custodians of the Bemba Royal Establishment the Bashilubemba had already made a decision”, the Chief told the UPND leader.
The Chief said it was for this reason that they had heard the good words that Hichilema had been saying about Henry Kanyanta Sosala and are happy with him.
And in response, Hichilema said his government will respect all the chiefs in the country, reiterating, that choosing of chiefs is a preserve of traditional leadership such as the traditional counsel of Bashilubemba.
Mr. Hichilema says his job will be to look after all Zambians regardless of where they come from, whilst as a leader, greatly tap into the wise counsel and guidance from traditional leaders.
“What has happened to the Bemba Chiefdom is a great embarrassment to of us. We want to unite Zambia and we can only develop the country with the help from traditional leadership,” he said.
Mr Hichilema today campaigned in Chilubi Island, samfya and Mansa Districts, and will tomorrow be in Mwense for more campaigns.
Meanwhile UPND Vice President Richard Kapita has accused PF Presidential Candidate Edgar Lungu of lacking focus in his campaigns messages.
Mr says Mr Lungu cannot dissociate himself from the decision made by the Acting President Guy Scott as he was only giving effect to the decision of Cabinet and intentions of late President Sata.
Mr Kapita says this is why Secretary to the Cabinet Rowland Msiska has “strongly defended the decision of the PF cabinet to increase the retirement age and (Mr) Lungu supported that decision process”.
Mr Kapita says it seems that “only one week later, Mr Lungu seems to have changed his mind as he has since announced two election pledges that would see a reversal of President Sata’s position and are contrary to the late President’s wishes.”
“In enacting the retirement age increase, Acting President Guy Scott was simply delivering on late President Sata’s intentions.If he (Mr Lungu) is so opposed to it how come he did not take a stand on the issue as a member of the Cabinet? Why is he only doing so now at campaign rallies? Mr Kapita has asked.
“The second reversal is with regards to the PF Government position on the recognition of Henry Kanyanta Sosala as the Chitimukulu. Mr Lungu has now announced that if elected he will give the Paramount Chief the recognition that President Sata for so long withheld.
This may come as a shock to some of his biggest supporters in the PF ranks, such as Nkandu Luo who has more than once warned that Sosala could face arrest for posing as Chitimukulu.” Mr Kapita adds.
Perhaps having watched the positive reception UPND President Hakainde Hichilema has received across the country, as he has reiterated time and time again his commitment to reversing the retirement age increase and recognising Henry Kanyanta Sosala, Mr Lungu is getting desperate and saying anything because he knows he is rapidly losing support.
He says he was among those who criticised Mr. Lungu last week for his failure to set out a clear agenda for office on the basis that a President needs to be a leader with real vision, commitment and energy if we are to fulfil the potential our country has.
But now, Mr Kapita says he is concerned that Mr Lungu appears to be already diverting from that plan only one week later.
Mr Kapita says Zambia needs a leader who knows what he or she believes in and has the courage and conviction to stick to their policies.