UPND Chief whip Gary Nkombo has warned the opposition party’s members of parliament against defecting to the ruling party in search of greener pastures, saying the Patriotic Front is on its way out.

And Nkombo says there’s need to draft laws which will prevent local government by-elections in an event that a councilor resigns or dies in order to save money.

Last week, UPND president Hakainde Hichilema reveled that he had information that two of his MPs were being courted by the PF.

“I am told now that Lungu has made a decision that he will try one or two MPs from the UPND and buy them as well. He will say ‘what’s your salary?’ just the same formula they are using for the councillors. So they will pay them for all the months left from 2021, calculate and then say ‘here is your cash’, ‘what is your gratuity supposed to be?’, calculate, ‘here is your cash’ then even add an extra and then send them into foreign mission. But honestly speaking, what about the people who have no food who voted for you? What about those who campaigned for you? What about those who have been killed for you to be in office? You agree to take K2 million or K3 million, money which has been stolen from Eurobond and is now channeled through roads where $900 million has been stolen. That is blood money and you take it and you say you are a shrewd politician. I want to say that it will be sad to have anyone of our people found in that situation,” said Hichilema.

But in an interview, Nkombo reminded the MPs of the mistakes that Richwell Siamunene and Poniso Njeulu made.

“This is what I have to say that it’s darkest before dawn. If it is true that two of our colleagues are being coated by PF, unfortunately they are not known yet as the boss said but maybe through this interview, they can take a leaf from people who have had very very short-lived political careers. Like honourable [Richwell] Siamunene from Sinazongwe, people like honourable [Poniso] Njeulu from Shang’ombo who responded to a dangling carrot from PF and when the time for reckoning came, unfortunately they found themselves on the wrong side of the people. So I could only say that if it’s true that some MPs are being lured and they are being enticed to go into the foreign mission, they will be packing their bags no sooner had they arrived at those assignments,” Nkombo said.

“And because there is no doubt in my mind that in 2021 or even before, the Zambian people if an election came, they would stand against the PF. So I can only pray that that information is not correct because I interact with all members of parliament for UPND being their whip and I have not seen any reason to believe that anyone of them could entertain such an overcoat and in the remotest limited thinking capacity, if it’s truly happening, I can only say that it’s a dangerous path to take because the Zambian people will have to come to the table in 2021 or before in order to show the PF the door.”

And commenting on rampant resignations by UPND councilors to join the ruling PF, Nkombo said there was need to effect a law that would prescribe that a runner up took up the responsibility of a councilor in an event that the winner decided to resign or died.

“There is no doubt in my mind that there is extreme poverty in this country and if a councilor who owns a little bit of money like a K3000 in a month can succumb to resigning a people’s call. So when you take your personal satisfaction before the nation and the voters that kept you into office to look after your own personal interests, it’s an abomination. But the route cause is poverty. If you look at the Mung’omba constitution, it was very clear that in the event of a death or a resignation, the person who came second in an election should immediately assume office so that there is no wastage of the country’s resources. To hold these council elections it’s costs so much money, equivalent to maybe more than 100 boreholes which people are in dare need of. So I do agree with honourable Katuta (Chiengi FDD MP) when she says that the runner up should assume office because it reduces on unnecessary expenditure,” he said.

Nkombo warned the PF that its time for reckoning would soon come.

“PF should stop fooling themselves by these so-called ‘wins’ from the by-elections that they are inducing. The people are feeling the pain of the way they have been governing this country. The people are feeling the pain and they will even feel more pain as we draw close to the repayment of the loans that they recklessly contracted from the Eurobond and also from the Chinese and elsewhere from sources that we may not even know. But I think the people’s voice will be heard in 2021 or whenever an election presents itself because definitely, you cannot take God’s people for granted, the way PF have,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nkombo disclosed that he had suspended his five-kilometer protest walk along the Kafue-Mazabuka road due to a bereavement.

“I would also like to inform you that my protest which was scheduled to take place on Monday has been canceled. I have just suffered a setback, my family has a funeral so the walk has been put off until I am done with my family issue. I am protesting against PF’s hate for the region of Southern Province by them refusing to mend the Mazabuka-Kafue road. My intention was to walk five kilometers of that road on Monday but then Monday is the day that I am actually going to burying my family member,” said Nkombo.