By Nation Reporter
THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has collapsed in Solwezi, with its entire executive committee resigning from the opposition party to join the ruling Patriotic Front (PF).
But UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said it was impossible for the UPND to collapse in Solwezi and that its former Member of Parliament Benson Kafwaya had completely ruined his political career by jumping into a political party that was at the verge of exiting Government.
On Saturday, at a public rally addressed by Mr Kafwaya, the PFSolwezi Central parliamentary candidate, 341 UPND members ditched their former party and joined the ruling PF.
Mr Kafwaya said the UPND was no longer a factor in Solwezi and that the opposition political party had been annihilated by the exponential growth of the PF under President Edgar Lungu.
Mr Kafwaya said the people of Solwezi and North-Western Province had decided to abandon the UPND because they had realized that the opposition party was not the alternative to the economic challenges the country was facing.
Mr Kafwaya said President Lungu and the PF were what the people of Solwazi were looking for and that they were tired of voting for the opposition who had proved that they were of no help to the development of the district.
But UPND Solwezi constituency chairman Charles Chitengi said the UPND had remained the strongest political party in the area and that no amount of propaganda would make the party lose its popularity.
And Mr Kakoma said the PF was only fantasizing its growth in Solwezi and North-Western Province as a whole because it was virtually impossible for the opposition party to crumble.
Mr Kakoma said Mr Kafwaya would live to regret his decision to leave UPND and become a deputy minister in the Government because the PF was leaving Government and that would be the end of its existence.
He said the UPND had been hearing of the rumours of some people planning to defect from the UPND to the PF last week and that it was not surprising that the ruling party was imagining its popularity in the area.
“Benson Kafwaya is nobody in Solwezi and he has been nothing but ruinous to his political career. No genuine UPND member can leave the party now when it is about to form government. Let Mr Kafyaya wait for August 11th and the people of Solwezi will teach him a lesson for betraying them. He won the Solwezi seat only because the UPND was popular and he will never get it again,” Mr Kakoma said.
And Mr Chitengi told the Daily Nation that Mr Evans Maningi, who was the UPND district chairman, had defected to the PF because of frustrations after he was not adopted to contest the Solwezi Central seat.
‘’Mr Maningi’s claims are unfounded; he is not close to any party structures. What we all know is that he applied to contest as a councillor in Kimasala ward on the UPND ticket, but unfortunately he was left out; so his defection was as a result of frustrations,’’ Mr Chitengi said.