President Edgar Lungu says he feels more at home in Northern Province than in Petauke District where his parents come from because the people in the Eastern Province town don’t agree with him, as they are evidently voting against the Patriotic Front.

And 13 PF constituency officials in Petauke Central who have resigned in protest against the District Commissioner Velenasi Banda Moyo and the district executive committee have praised Secretary General Davies Mwila for dissolving the leadership in the area.

The Republican President was in Kasama over the weekend where he went officiate at the launch of the Northern Province Investment Expo, and could not resist making fun of the ruling party’s loss of a ward election in Petauke District during the recent local government by election.

President Lungu who is an Easterner and Nsenga by tribe from Mkwama village in Petauke District, said he felt rejected by his own people because they were voting against the political party that gave him the presidency.

“It is always heartwarming to be here in Northern Province, especially that this is the stronghold for PF. PF is a political party I belong to, and that’s where I am President, so when I am here I feel very much at home, unlike Petauke District. Of course Petauke, that’s where my mother and father come from, but they don’t seem to agree with us, they are voting against us,” President Lungu said, much to the laughter of the Investment Expo delegates.

The Head of State then went on to outline government’s support for the provincial tourism and investment initiative.

“The theme ‘unblocking the tourism and investment potential of Northern Province’, speaks directly to our collective desire to create a diversified and resilient economy for sustainable growth and social economic transformation. The theme is in line with the government’s development agenda of accelerating development efforts towards the vision 2030 of becoming a prosperous middle-income country without leaving anyone behind. This is as outlined in the Seventh National Development Plan,” President Lungu said.

“The PF government is determined to pursue economic diversification and job creation through value addition and industrialisation anchored on agriculture, mining and tourism. It is expected that private sector investment will strive to offer success in these strategic areas. On the other hand, our government will continue to play its role of creating a suitable and conducive business environment. “

The President noted that the event had been oversubscribed and hoped that the Eastern Province Expo would perform even better.

“It is very gratifying to note that this [investment] expo has attracted more than 1, 000 delegates. In fact what has happened is that we targeted 1,500 delegates but we instead got 2,500 delegates – totally oversubscribed. So, like the MC said, those who are coming after Northern Province, Eastern Province; please note that you have a long road and high mountain to climb. This platform is a good opportunity for all business entities including the private institutions to promote expansions of their domestic investments, and network building for future business engagement,” said President Lungu.

“Let me conclude by thanking the provincial administration for the splendid job you have done in putting up the Expo, and indeed all the facilities you have put at our disposal. I was disappointed this morning because I wanted to see much of the Expo, but my protocol people kept saying ‘let’s move let’s move’. So next time I come, I will come alone. I haven’t seen much, but I am sure they have seen much and they will tell me.”

Meanwhile, back to the politics in Petauke, Constituency chairlady Thandiwe Kamanga who resigned from her position along with 12 other officials told News Diggers in an interview that there were serious divisions in the party because the district executive had hijacked the intra-party election process – leading to the loss of Lusinde ward in Kaumbwe Constituency.

“We resigned because we have been protesting against the way the district leadership is running the party. We had these intra-party elections going on, but it’s like these officials are the one who have been going to the wards and branches to conduct elections, which is not supposed to be like that. While they were doing those elections, they were ignoring the constituency officials and working with those people who stood as independent candidates in the 2016 elections,” Kamanga said.

“We have not resigned from PF, we are fully behind President Edgar Lungu and the sitting member of Parliament Dora Siliya. But we have relinquished our position because of the confusion that has been brought by these officials. This is the reason why we even lost Lusinde Ward to the opposition UPND because the district officials were concentrating on causing confusion in Petauke Central instead of going to campaign in Kaumbwe Constituency.

Asked if it was true that District Commissioner Moyo was working with 2016 independent candidate Jay Banda to destabilise the constituency leadership, Kamanga said: “That’s is exactly the problem that is there. So, the chairlady which is myself, the chairman, the vice chairlady, the treasurer, the youth chairperson and others. We are very much excited with the move by the Secretary General to dissolve the district committee, because this problem started in 2016 with these same independent people.”