MBABALA UPND member of parliament Ephraim Belemu has defected to the ruling Patriotic Front, saying the largest opposition party has stabbed him in the back.
Speaking at a press briefing, Tuesday, Belemu accused UPND of harassing and injuring his family and supporters.
“I entered politics to champion a cause and for me, when that cause has been betrayed, it doesn’t matter how many pieces of silver, I always change cause and this time, I feel that cause has been betrayed by the UPND and its leadership. Back home, events of the last one week, for merely being their MP, for merely coming to greet their MP, for merely knowing their MP, people are being harassed, old women chased, men injured not at the hands of PF, but at the hands of the UPND. A party that I served in my view to the best of my abilities. So the question which my daughter asked [was] ‘then who is your political opponent? Is it the UPND or the PF? Why is it that over the last two years you have spent more time defending yourself against the UPND as opposed to your natural political opponent the PF? Then who is your political opponent?’ I am afraid to say the UPND has turned itself into my political opponent,” Belemu said.
“When you have been rejected, I came across a preaching by TD Jakes that ‘don’t plead for people to stay in your life, it means their role in your life is over.’ I am afraid to say the role of the UPND in my life is over. They have not kept the side of their bargain. Instead of being attacked by robbers, I was stabbed in the back by my own leadership, by people who I called brothers and sisters, [they] have stabbed me in the back and they left me for politically dead and I have been picked by the most unlikely people, the PF colleagues.”
He pledged to work hard for the PF.
“These are not new issues, I raised them in the province with the provincial chairman and I told them that ‘my people are being harassed, my people are being injured on account of being related to me by the UPND’ and this is one week down the line I have not heard from them so what story can I continue to give my parents that were injured, should I continue to say the UPND is coming to liberate them? Should I continue to say my political opponent is the PF or it has turned to UPND? It is for this reason that I have made a determination and decision that I withdraw myself from the UPND and by virtual of that decision, every other position I held including in National Assembly as MP for Mbabala constituency and honourable chief whip will convey that decision to the honourable Mr Speaker and also the position I held in the National Management Committee, I have withdrawn myself as member of the UPND,” he said.
“Since the UPND has turned itself into my political opponent, it was only clear that when the PF decided to pick me, it was only correct that I repay their good deeds with the decision I have made today so that I can face my political opponents not using the back as they have been stabbing me but using my face. Therefore, I join the PF accordingly and I commit myself to working for the PF.”
Beleu charged that UPND was dishonest and deceitful.
“My daughter and I find the conduct of the UPND in recent weeks to be a betrayal, to be deceitful and dishonest for me. While I kept the bargain on my side, the UPND colleagues… and I must qualify that not everyone, the UPND leadership has chosen not to keep their side of their story and bargain and it is very easy to know where this is coming from. There is an assumption in the UPND that come 12th August, UPND is forming government and therefore many people who look like myself, many people who like me will disturb that feast and therefore they have found it fit to start kicking us out and purging us. As we speak today, in my own assessment, in the UPND people are fighting for offals for a Buffalo that is still in the field that they have not slaughtered. And they think that by having a number of us around will probably disturb their feast. The UPND today has turned into a monster that thrives and eats its own babies especially the royal babies. At times, they are accused of smelling like a goat as an excuse for the mother and father hyena to eat them,” Belemu said.
He said assuming UPND formed government, there was a high chance of crooks being picked as senior officials.
“I have been true to the UPND. These are colleagues that I am seated with here that I thought all these years both in Parliament and outside Parliament and I had one goal to make the UPND form a government but as it turns out today and they are free to challenge me and to be fair, if we removed the party President and their potential running mates, we pick the first 200 members in their order of seniority, of all political parties, I am afraid to say today the UPND has amassed more dishonest people than any other political party and because of that, they think that the solution is to cannibalise those of that have been loyal and committed to the cause. And if you go [for a] simple probability, it tells you that at any given time, the UPND has a higher chance… assuming that is where you are going to get the senior officials that will serve government, has a higher chance of picking a crook than any other political party,” said Belemu.
“You can use another parameter today, go in my province where I come from, from the time the UPND came into being, this time around it has attracted more dishonest applicants than any other time. And again simple probability at any given time it follows that the UPND has a higher chance of picking a crook to be a candidate, parliamentarian and eventually, potentially government if they were to form government. For saying those things, some of us will be vilified, for raising the alarm, some of us will be called names. I have kept the side of my bargain, they have not kept theirs.”
Belemu was welcomed by Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo, Foreign Affairs Minister Joe Malanji, former UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma and PF legal chairperson Brian Mundubile among others.