KELVIN CHONGO, Lusaka
UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) national trustee Maybin Mubanga has resigned from the opposition political party to join the Patriotic Front (PF).
And former Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Maxwell Mwale has resigned from the UPND along with over 2,000 opposition members to join the PF.
This comes barely a week after UPND Katuba member of Parliament (MP) Jonas Shakafuswa endorsed President Lunguâ€™s candidature in the August 11 general elections.
Mr Mubanga, who is former Zambiaâ€™s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), announced his defection to the PF during a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday.
He said President Lungu is the best candidate in this yearâ€™s general elections.
â€œThe next five years of our nation will be safe under President Lunguâ€™s leadership and Patriotic Front,â€ he said.
Mr Mubanga said Mr Lunguâ€™s presidency can be summed up as: â€œa presidency about healing past wounds as a nation, pulling our energies together, getting back to work and building a stronger future for succeeding generations.â€
He also said this is a time to reject politics of bitterness and violence, a culture that is on the rise within political parties.
â€œI have taken this decision to resign from UPND, a party I was loyal to and in whose ideals I believed with a clear conscience. It is sad that that the ideals of the UPND have changed and have retrogressed to being a home of negative vibes,â€ he said.
Mr Mubanga said the UPND presented itself as a positive force under the leadership of its founding president Anderson Mazoka.
â€œIn forming the UPND, Mr Mazoka envisioned a more united and prosperous Zambia that could rise above any tribal and regional divide. Mr Mazoka tirelessly envisioned a Zambia whose politics was devoid of bitterness and angry tones,â€ Mr Mubanga said.
He said Mr Mazoka desired and yearned for a Zambia that had realised the meaning of the motto: One Zambia one nation.
â€œToday I stand before you to say that those important seeds planted by late Mazoka and his colleagues have been suffocated,â€ he said.
Mr Mubanga said Zambian youths desire to get to the â€œpromised landâ€ and that President Lungu presents that great hope and that all the people must understand him in his quest to better Zambia.
He said President Lungu is a God-fearing leader and his economic vision for the nation revives the hopes for a better and more prosperous Zambia.
â€œYes there have been challenges along the way but I want to salute President Lunguâ€™s resolve not to waiver but protect economic interests,â€ he said.
PF secretary-general Davies Chama received Mr Mubanga and assured him of support in the party.
Mr Chama said Mr Mubanga has chosen the best time to join the PF and he will not regret his defection.
Mr Mubanga served as Mwansabombwe MP and Deputy Minister of Agriculture in President Mwanawasaâ€™s administration.
Mr Chama also said many more big names are expected to join the PF.
He also appealed to women to apply for adoption because 40 percent of the seats in PF have been reserved for them.
He dismissed assertions that PF has no capable people to contest elections.
And DARLINGTON MWENDABAI reports that Mr Mwale, who is also former Malambo MP, has said he has been attracted to the PF because of President Lunguâ€™s good leadership.
â€œI have decided to join PF because it is the party that has and is bringing development in all sectors,â€ he said.
PF deputy secretary-general Mumbi Phiri, PF Eastern Province PF chairperson Andrew Lubusha and MP Jack Shuma received Mr Mwale and others at Chiutika Primary School in Malambo yesterday
Mrs Phiri said the PF under President Lunguâ€™s leadership promotes unity and called for coexistence among the new and old members.
Mr Lubusha said the 2,000 new members will be incorporated into in the PF structures such as mobilisation.
MMD Mkaya ward councillor Lawrence Chulu said he decided to join PF because President Lungu is a humble leader.
UPND Malambo district womenâ€™s chairperson Veronica Banda and UPND Malambo district youth vice-chairperson Bikadi Ngoma said PF is a progressive party that is focusing on unity and development.
But UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said Mr Mubangaâ€™s defection has no bearing on the party.
Mr Kakoma said that there are more people joining UPND than those leaving for other parties.
â€œMr Mubanga has been rejected by party members in Luapula,â€ he said.
And Mr Kakoma said Mr Mwaleâ€™s defection to PF is good riddance.
â€œPeople should look out on Monday the calibre and quality of people that will be joining UPND at a press briefing,â€ Mr Kakoma claimed.
KELVIN CHONGO, Lusaka