By JACKSON MAPAPAYI
ABOUT 66 United Party for National Development (UPND) members in Solwezi have defected to the ruling Patriotic Front (PF).
The members mainly traders from the Solwezi main market resigned from the opposition party to join the ruling party during a mobilisation meeting addressed by PF Solwezi Central aspiring candidate Jackson Kungo yesterday.
Leading the defectors, Ms Getrude Ntambo who is a trader in Solwezi main market, said the members have decided to join PF because the opposition party has nothing to offer.
Ms Ntambo said the marketeers have for a long time suffered at the hands of the UPND opposition leaders who run the Solwezi Municipal Council and parliamentary seat.
“On behalf of my fellow marketeers, today, we wish to announce that we have decided to leave UPND and join PF because the UPND has failed us,” she said.
The defectors have resolved to support the PF and President Edgar Lungu in the August 12 general elections.
She said markeeters in Solwezi have not benefitted from the empowerment programmes being initiated by Government because they have been supporting the opposition for a long time.
And in receiving the defectors, Mr Kungo urged the traders to go flat out and campaign for PF and President Lungu. “You must ensure that President Edgar Lungu goes back to State House, and that can only happen when we all go flatout and bring more new memvers ” he said.
Mr Kungo said there are no membership cards in PF and urged old members to embrace the new comers in order to grow the party.
He said there is no leadership in UPND and that is the reason why people are joining PF everyday.
Mr Kungo said Solwezi constituency has lagged behind in development because people have been voting for the UPND Members of Parliament who have failed to lobby for development.
He promised to work on the township roads and look into the welfare of markeeters once adopted and elected as MP this year.
And Solwezi district women’s secretary Ireen Kikambo said markeeters in the district have resolved to vote for the PF in the August 12 general elections.
This is because they want to start benefitting from the empowerment programmes.
Ms Kikambo urged the traders to campaign for the PF to ensure victory for PF and President Lungu in the August polls.