EASTERN Province Minister Makebi Zulu says UPND is too thin to make any meaningful gains in the province ahead of this year’s general election.

But UPND chairman for agriculture Levy Ngoma says the province is no longer the ruling party’s bedroom as voters had shunned the PF during the recently-held Vubwi local council election.

In an interview, Zulu argued that the PF could not be easily ousted from the area because the UPND did not have sufficient, genuine and committed members to supplant the ruling party.

“The win in Vubwi was emphatic that PF in the province cannot be supplanted easily. UPND is too lean in the province to make any meaningful gains ahead of the August elections. Vubwi was just a test of many other losses to come for UPND. UPND will be overstretched in the coming elections and certainly don’t have any capacity measurable to that of PF. Those in support of UPND are only doing so because they know they are less in number and will be able to feast on any little funding availed to them for campaigns. In other words, politics is a source of livelihood for the lean UPND membership in the province, who in any case will still vote for His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu. We know the UPND provincial and district leadership very well. We interact with them and know their real intentions for the little support they pretend to render to UPND,” said Zulu.

But Ngoma, who is also a former Sinda MMD member of parliament, disputed Zulu’s assertion, insisting that a change of government following the August 12 polls was inevitable.

“Countrywide, the UPND has grown so come August, 2021, be rest assured that change of government is on the horizon for the Zambian people. There comes a time when money and material things do not count. We are happy that we are moving in the right direction. The results go to show that contrary to the assertions of the PF that Eastern Province is bedroom for the PF, that is no longer the position. It is just like any other room. For us in the UPND, when we drill down those results, it speaks to the win of our party,” said Ngoma.

“Because even where there was an entire government machinery working, using corruption, but the people of Vubwi gave them a proper ‘donchi kubeba.’ So, we want to commend the people of Vubwi for coming out and voting against the corruption in the country. Voting against the tribal divide that the PF and its leadership has been peddling for such a long time. Because even in Vubwi, they sang the wako ni wako song, they distributed money and mealie-meal. In the old days, we would have seen the UPND getting few numbers of votes, but you saw that in some polling stations, we beat the PF pants down. So, come the general election, the PF in Vubwi will be a thing of the past, that is just a tip of the iceberg.”

In last month’s Vubwi local council by-election, the PF candidate Vincent Mwale narrowly scooped seat, polling 4,148 votes, compared to his UPND counterpart Given Sakala, who garnered an impressive 2,912 votes in an area long-perceived to be a PF stronghold.

The MMD’s Faindan Mbewe was a distant third, polling 341 votes.