Former Sinda member of parliament Levy Ngoma has warned that the Patriotic Front’s loss of the Lusinde Ward by-election is a tip of the ice berg because residents are angry with the regime’s poor service delivery.

And Ngoma says President Edgar Lungu is promoting tribalism by expecting Easterners to vote for him on a ‘wako ni wako’ basis simply because he comes from that part of the country.

Over the weekend, when he was in Kasama for the launch of the Northern Province Investment expo, President Lungu said he felt more at home in that province unlike in Eastern Province where people were voting against him.

“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, Monday, Ngoma argued that the PF had lost favour with Easterners because of their failure to fulfill the campaign promises.

He noted that the challenges associated with the e-voucher system where farmers are unable to redeem farming inputs had upset local residents in the area.

“In the first place, we want to congratulate the people of Petauke, Lusinde Ward in particular, for the decisive election victory that they have given the United Party for National Development (UPND). To us, in the UPND, it has not come as a surprise in any way. It just underscores the fact that the PF, under Edgar Chagwa Lungu, have failed the Zambian people! And we are also not surprised by the overreaction of the Patriotic Front to dissolve the ward in Lusinde, the constituency and the district executive in Petauke. If anything, this over-reaction to us only goes to confirm that they have really been injured and that they are bad losers because as things stand now, there is no part of the country that the PF can say is their stronghold or ‘bedroom.’ People in Eastern Province are predominantly farmers. The message from Lusinde is a clear indication that farmers are upset as a result of them not being paid after they supplied maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA). As we speak right, now farmers have not yet been paid! So, how do they expect people who depend on farming to go and give them a vote when they have failed to deliver promises on their side? People are angry, and this is a tip on the ice berg,” Ngoma argued.

“People understand that the PF is a corrupt regime, and that they can only survive through corruption, and they decided to do the right thing. Easterners are wise. Across the breadth of the Eastern Province, I can confirm without sugar-coating that the PF in most districts in Eastern Province are not commanding or holding the majority. People are angry in Petauke, in Katete, in Sinda, in Chipata, and even in Malambo itself! Everywhere, the message is the same; they don’t want the PF! For the PF to start winning elections in Eastern Province, they need to deliver on their promises by addressing the main challenges that people are facing. What is paramount is the issue of farming, they don’t have to pay a lip service to the issues of farming because currently, they are only paying a lip service and Easterners are noticing what they are doing. Right now, a number of farmers are unable to access their inputs through the e-voucher system. Those who should have been given haven’t been given yet, and the rains have kicked in big time here is the province.”

And Ngoma observed that President Lungu was promoting tribalism by expecting Easterners to vote for him on the ‘wako ni wako’ tribal basis.

“A lot of communities in the province do not have safe, drinking water. The boreholes that the Patriotic Front has been promising the people of the Eastern Province merely exist on paper! So, this is a message from the people that they want water; it is a message that they need to see to it that farming has been promoted progressively. It is a message that the road network in rural Eastern Province is nothing to talk about. The feeder roads are in a deplorable state right now! It is a message that the people are saying; ‘enough is enough’ they are not going to eat ‘wako ni wako,’ ‘wakwathu ni wakwathu’,” explained Ngoma.

“President Lungu and his team want to push the people of Eastern Province to be voting on tribal line of ‘wako ni wako’ but people are saying; ‘no!’ We are peace-makers; we love this country and we believe in the motto of ‘One Zambia One Nation’ so we will vote reasonably. And even for them, like I said, that they over-reacted by dissolving the executive only goes to confirm that they want those in Eastern Province to be voting on tribal lines. Today, I read where President Lungu was saying that; he ‘feels more home in Northern Province than in Petauke’ where he said they have denied him. He is trying to say people in that region should vote for him simply because he comes from there, but what has he done there for people to vote for him? It’s wrong for a leader to speak like that; that is a promotion of tribalism! People need to vote for him based on performance, you should not expect a vote if you have failed. And the performance of the PF in Eastern Province is terrible and so, they should not be surprised.”