UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says he salutes artists who have refused to sell themselves, adding that he is aware that some musicians who are associated with the “mwankoles”, are getting cash handouts.

Hichilema was speaking on Sunday evening when he attended a fundraising event organised by some musicians in Lusaka’s Chilanga District, where he contributed a K50,000.

Musician Pentagon was among the musicians who performed at the event.

The UPND leader appreciated the artists saying they had done a great job for the country.

“I want to pay particular appreciation to the musicians. You artists, mwe banandi (my friends) have done a great job for this country but through this party UPND. I am aware that some of your colleagues who are associated, I don’t blame them but they are associated with these mwankoles, are getting cash handouts but you have refused to sell yourselves like vitumbuwa ku market (fritters in the market). We salute you for that. You have shown strength, you have shown a sense of purpose. And when you have a sense of purpose, you work towards what you want, you will get it. And I can assure you, you will get what you want very soon. What you want is what Zambians want. The people of Zambia want a better life. But you are leading the way,” he said.

“I am also aware of the tremendous work you have done for us, singing for change, singing for freedom, singing for UPND. And when you mention UPND, you mention HH, Bally, our leaders, I want to say, we are humbled. And we will not let you down, kwashala fye panono. Music is the best platform to communicate the message. When our time in office comes, God’s will [and] the people of Zambia, we will promote your talent locally and regionally. We will make sure we tie you with the music industry in South Africa, in Nigeria and in America. So that you can earn what you deserve, your talent is worth millions of dollars. You are not earning those millions of dollars because there is no leadership in this country to facilitate that. We want some of your music through our facilitation to feature in Hollywood when we take office.”

Meanwhile, the UPND leader urged musicians to encourage people through music to get their National Registration Cards and to register as voters.

He also urged UPND members to work in unity.

“In order for us to form government, continue singing to encourage people to get their National Registration Cards and to register as voters. No matter how long it takes for you to register, while we fight the slowness [and] for extension of the voter registration, get to encourage someone to go and get a voters card. By you first getting a voters card, then you can encourage others directly and through your music. I would like to see some of your music encouraging people to get the NRCs and to also ask those occupying public office to extend the voter registration. Why give us 30 days,” said Hichilema.

“On social media, UPND platforms, I see too much quarreling amongst yourselves. We must work in unity. We must not be quarreling amongst ourselves. Those who are looking for party positions, that position is meaningless if we don’t form government. I want to see unity. When a PF mwankole posts something on social media which is rubbish, don’t send it to other people because you are promoting it. Promote your own campaign messages, messages of love, messages of supporting each other.”