UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka says Northern Province must reject President Edgar Lungu the way Easterners have done.

On Saturday, President Lungu said he felt rejected by his own people from Petauke after a UPND candidate beat PF in Lusinde ward.

“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.

But in an interview, Mucheleka observed that the people of Petauke had rejected the Head of State because he had killed the agricultural sector.

“What people want is that once their own farming activity becomes profitable, then they will have money in their pockets, which Lungu has denied them. So, even when the people of Petauke reject him, we are not surprised because they are sending a clear message. This is why for me; I can make a passionate appeal to our people in Northern Province, who are being hoodwinked to emulate their cousins in Petauke, who have out-rightly rejected Lungu and PF, even if he claims he comes from there. People want to eat, they want their own money. It is not about giving them chitenge, T-shirts, or when he’s passing he buys them Chibuku, no! People want sustainable means of creating their own income, something which Lungu has killed,” Mucheleka said.

“Can the PF and President Lungu tell me what they have done in Northern Province from the time he took over? Not even a single project, he hasn’t built even a single toilet in Northern Province. The only thing that you find there are the projects that were initiated by the late president Sata. In Kasama, for example, they promised that they were going to build a university, but up to now, they have not started building. They promised to build a state-of-the-art modern stadium, but they have not done that; they promised to do the airport, but they have not done that. The only section of the airport that they have dealt with is where they were holding the so-called Northern Province Investment Expo. There is nothing to show that Lungu feels at home in Northern Province.”

He said President Lungu was being hypocritical because he had done nothing for northerners.

“President Lungu should not mock the people of Northern Province by pretending that he feels at home there than in his own area, Petauke. He is just being hypocritical, what has he done from the time he took over from late president Sata? If there is one province that overwhelmingly supported him, it was Northern Province, and I know for sure that, Chishimba Kambwili, Felix Mutati, KBF (Kelvin Fube Bwalya) and many others from Northern Province went out of their way to support him wholeheartedly, even when some of us knew that he was not going to appreciate what they were doing for him. And you have seen what he has done to Mutati, you’ve seen what he has done to Kambwili, you have seen what he has done to KBF, you have seen what he has done to so many people from Northern Province. He has completely squeezed all those who worked so hard in PF under late president Sata out of PF,” Mucheleka said.

“Now he’s creating a group of nonentities from the north to pretend as though he likes them, when in the actual fact, he doesn’t. He uses them like toilet tissue and throws them away. As if that is not enough, in Petauke, from the time he took over, he started building a very big hospital using tax payers’ money. But people in Petauke are small-holder farmers and if you want to look after them, the best you can do is to support wholeheartedly the agricultural sector because that is where they get their livelihood. But Lungu has killed the agricultural sector! Farmers everywhere have not been paid and this is why people in Petauke have sent a very clear message to Lungu and his cohorts in PF that they will not eat the big hospital that he’s building in Petauke! They will not eat the roads, which he’s building using borrowed money.”

Mucheleka charged that President Lungu was creating a pool of nonentities who he knew could challenge him in Northern Province.

“The only thing Lungu has done is to bring the people of Northern Province closer to him so that he destroys and throws them away like a used tissue. That’s [exactly] what he has done to Mutati; he has done that to Chishimba Kambwili and KBF, except my brothers and sisters from Northern Province don’t listen, they don’t read the political history of this country because they wouldn’t be running to Lungu if they did. Mutati has now become a laughing stock, they have completely finished him! And to completely disable him, they even go ahead to nominate Nakacinda so that Mutati is now crippled politically. But if Mutati had listened to what I told him, he could not have landed himself in this situation. Even Kambwili, I told him when he was being sent that time to insult GBM and myself…so what Lungu is doing in Northern Province is simply creating a pool of nonentities who he knows cannot challenge him,” argued Mucheleka, who also appealed to voters in Northern and Muchinga provinces to open their eyes in the same way the Nsenga people in Petauke did who inflicted a painful electoral loss in Lusinde Ward.