Luapula Province Minister Nickson Chilangwa says there is no such thing as “Luapula United” that is plotting to oust President Edgar Lungu, adding that the purported clique only exists in the heads of those who want to bring disharmony amongst provincial leaders.

Meanwhile Chilangwa says the remarks by UPND vice president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) that a lot of thieves in government come from Eastern and Luapula will make the opposition party struggle to campaign in the two province.

Last month when he featured on a live Pan African radio programme dubbed “people’s debate”, GBM charged most thieves in government were from Luapula and Eastern Provinces, going further to list those from the two areas who had previously been convicted or dragged to court for corruption.

GBM went further to allege that there was a power struggle between Housing Minister Ronald Chitotela and his Health counterpart Dr Chitalu Chilufya as both wished to lead a PF faction dubbed “Luapula United” with the aim of taking over the ruling party leadership from President Lungu.

“Most of the thieves in government come from Luapula while others come from Eastern Province. Listeners let me tell you, wasn’t Rupiah Banda from Eastern Province who was taken to court? Wasn’t it late president [Fredrick] Chiluba from Luapula who was taken to court? Sata was from Muchinga, did you hear that he was taken to court for theft? [no]. We come to Dora Siliya, isn’t she from Eastern Province? Wasn’t she the one facing corruption charges? Maxwell Mwale is from which Province? Is he not from Eastern Province? How about this former ZAF commander [Eric] Chimese and they have still failed to arrest him because they were stealing together, isn’t he from Luapula? Thieves have destroyed this country, so that is why fellow Zambians, when it’s time to vote, do not vote for a tribe, vote for someone who is going to bring you food on the table. Come 2021 let me tell you [that] Zambians will toss out PF through the ballot paper,” declared GBM.

But in an interview with News Diggers, Chilangwa said “Luapula united” only existed in people’s heads.

“There is no such a thing as Luapula United, it only exist in people’s heads. And it is meant to make those of us who work as a team in Luapula Province to be looked at in a negative way. So for us we are not ashamed that we work together as a team and we have to continue working together as a team, but Luapula United does not exist. It is just in the head of those who want to bring discontent and disharmony amongst those of us from Luapula Province,” Chilangwa said.

And in his earlier press release Chilagwa said UPND was a party known for alarm and peddling of falsehoods.

“We as Luapula have waited for the UPND to either deny or retract the said statement [by GBM that most thieves are from Luapula and Eastern Province] but obviously we were wrong to ever think that the UPND has such capacity or such depth to judge between right or wrong. The UPND leadership is now known for alarm, peddling of falsehoods and outright lying. They thrive on divisive and primitive politics and they should not be expected to have the humility and courage to see forgiveness,” Chilangwa said.

“We have therefore concluded that the UPND statement was meant to demean and malign the people of Luapula Province and by so doing be frowned upon, and taken as untrustworthy, the statement was also meant to create a wedge between the rest of the country and the two provinces namely Eastern and Luapula Provinces. This is not just a divide and rule tactic but equally a naked insult to the people of Luapula Province by the UPND.”

He warned that with such careless remarks, GBM and the UPND at large would not find it easy to campaign in the two mentioned provinces.

“We have also concluded that UPND has given up on ever getting votes of coming to campaign in Luapula and Eastern Provinces given this level of insults against the people of the provinces. What drives the UPND to make careless and un-researched statements is not for the love of Zambia, but there insatiable desire to get their dirty fingers on the pie, like they did not do enough damage during the privatisation era because their morals are rotten to the core, they think everybody else’s morals are as rotten. We are also aware of manoeuvres by the UPND and GBM in particular to put a sword between Luapula and Northern Provinces, the UPND and GBM must be reminded that we are one people and they will not succeed in dividing us,” he advised.