Itezhi-tezhi UPND member of parliament Herbert Shabula says his party has already won the 2021 general elections as PF has de-campaigned itself with a bad governance record.

And Shabula has refuted claims by a youth activist, Twambo Mutinta, and other Itezhi-tezhi residents that he had abandoned his constituency.

In an interview, Shabula predicted that the UPND would form the best government Zambia had ever seen since 1964 when the party wins the upcoming August 11, 2021 polls.

“I must tell you without doubt that UPND will not win in 2021. UPND has already won the 2021 elections! Why am I saying so? The PF government has been given the rope to hang itself! Look at the life of a common citizen in this country, look at the poverty levels in this nation! Which person would want to vote for a party that segregates them? Look at development; the PF has created so many districts in some regions, meaning that they would push more money in those new districts so that they develop even more. Let me give you an example, Itezhi-tezhi begins from near Kalomo there, we share boundaries with Mazabuka, Kafue and yet it is only one district, one constituency and the MP is expected to run across the constituency. This government is very segregative; some areas are more developed than others and they are also transferring people in government who can’t speak their language. A doctor of just few years retired in national interest, what does that mean? You mean that’s a party that would win an election in 2021? How?” Shabula asked.

He argued that the UPND would form the best government Zambia ever had.

“The environment is not favourable for PF to win the 2021 elections. For us in UPND, you first of all look at the leadership, just look at the team. It’s like you are looking at Arsenal or Manchester United, you look at the people, before they even play the match, you see the names of the people that are going to be on the pitch that will tell you whether you are winning or losing. When you look at president HH, look at what he has done for himself in his private life, what contributions he has made to the nation as a citizen, what he is doing to touch the lives of the people, and look at his level of education, his integrity, it points to say he is a good leader and I am sure he is going to pick a good team. Look at most of the MPs in the UPND, they are fire brands, even when we stand to speak in Parliament, you know that the men and women are speaking sensible things that will build this nation,” Shabula said.

“Without doubt, UPND will form the best government from 1964, it should be able to be the best government! Of course, we are going to face challenges when we start because there is a lot of money that has been taken because of corruption. It will require people to be patient, but we’ll make it. That is why we are here, we are not going to cry that ‘those guys who were in government did this and that so we can’t perform,’ no! We are going to turn the tables around!”

And Shabula said PF was the worst, wasteful government Zambia ever had.

“Right now people are a hungry, I am a rural MP, when I get to my constituency everyone would want to get some kind of help and I understand them, they are my people, they are my brothers and sisters and I attend to them when I can. You see the poverty levels, very high! Now look at the (Republican) President, how he is spending money? Recently, the President bought a very expensive jet for himself! I am an aviation man myself, I am an expert in flying. The issue is that you can’t buy a jet of that cost when the economy is on its knees and it is not only a matter of buying the jet, it is also a matter of maintaining that jet, training of the crew, the allowances of the crew and the cost of the spare parts of that jet. This is the worst wasteful government!” Shabula said.

“Look at the tours of the President; nearly every month, the President is on the move, even to areas where he has Ambassadors, High Commissioners who can represent him, he will still go. And you know, the presidential trips are very costly because of the huge entourage of different people.”

Meanwhile, Shabula refuted claims by Mutinta and other Itezhi-tezhi residents that he had abandoned his constituency

“I want to say that I have visited Itezhi-tezhi 20 times since I was elected on 11th August up to 2018. If those who are complaining were residents of Itezhi-tezhi, they would have seen me in the area. I have had meetings with people. Some of the things I have done, I pushed for the completion of the works on the D769 Mongu-Itezhi-tezhi road, according to the government position as at now, all the projects that are below 80 per cent, the government will not work on them, they are working on projects that are 80 per cent and above. The D769 is not even beyond 40 per cent, but I have pushed the government to work on the road. Today, it is one of the roads that is below 80 per cent and government is working on. In Makunku, a secondary school is being worked on. We had to bid as MPs for a few secondary schools, which were given by the World Bank in selected places in Zambia and we were given in Itezhi-tezhi. Who brought it there? It’s the MP, Shabula! Itezhi-tezhi-Namwala Road is being graded using money from the World Bank, it is Shabula who sourced for that. With REA (Rural Electrification Authority), I have worked on electrification of the area, they have given us 12 solar panels, which should be given to people in Itezhi-tezhi, right now we are working on lighting Itezhi-tezhi and taring the roads in itezhi. We are right now working on a project with the World Bank for women groups in which Itezhi-tezhi is likely to be given US $2.1 million to be distributed to three wards. This was done by this MP, Shabula!” said Shabula.

Shabula complained that opposition MPs were being frustrated by the PF government to make it difficult for them to perform.