UPND members of Parliament (MPs) were on Wednesday taunted by Eastern Province Minister Makebi Zulu who constantly raised his clenched fist, a symbol of the Patriotic Front (PF) when he delivered his maiden speech. Mr Zulu, whose speech was ranked the best, enraged the UPND lawmakers by stating that the clenched fist was a symbol of unity and a mantra for hope for the people of Malambo and Zambians in general. Mr Zulu, who is Malambo PF Member of Parliament, told the House that the clenched fist and the slogan stood fulfilled in that the will of the people had prevailed in the August general elections which saw the re-election of President Edgar Lungu. “Hope woke up the people of Malambo constituency in the wee hours of the 11th August to actualise the slogan ‘Mpamvu ku bantu’ whose literal meaning was power to the people,” Mr Zulu said. Mr Zulu could not be daunted by the attempts by the UPND parliamentarians whose efforts to heckle him were met by his strong voice of chants of power to the people and maintaining that the clenched fist demonstrated unity among the people of Malambo. Deputy Speaker Catharine Namugala was at one point forced to ask Mr Zulu to stop raising his clenched fist on the floor of the House because it was perceived to be a PF symbol. But Mr Zulu argued that a clenched fist was just a mere slogan, adding that a symbol used by the PF during elections was a boat and not a clenched fist as claimed by the UPND. In his speech, Mr Zulu said he would focus on transforming the Eastern Province into Zambia’s food basket by promoting crop diversification. Mr Zulu said Eastern Province had vast land capable of producing food for the rest of the country. “To promote crop diversification, and in resonance with the President’s speech, the Government has expanded the range of crops in the Farmer Input Support Programme to include rice, sorghum, cotton and groundnuts,” Mr Zulu said. Mr Zulu said FISP beneficiaries had increased in Eastern Province from 182,496 in the 2015/2016 farming season to 192, 053. He said 103, 288 farmers were targeted to benefit under the electronic voucher system and 88,765 through the conventional FISP. Mr Zulu said the PF government was pursuing a policy of having a healthy and productive people through the provisions of health services as close to the household as possible. “Four district hospitals are being constructed in Chipata, Nyimba, Lundazi and Vubwi districts. Plans are underway for the construction of a district hospital in Mambwe district. Construction of 57 prefabricated health posts continues with 32 posts having been completed,” he said. Mr Zulu said Government had upgraded the Chipata General Hospital to a central hospital status, equipping the institution with a CT scanner, mammography unit and PCR laboratory. He said Government was currently upgrading 22 basic schools into secondary schools for purposes of creating more space for learners. Mr Zulu said under the water and sanitation programme, a total of 440 boreholes were planned to be drilled and equipped in the province in 2016.