KAUMBWE constituency PF aspiring member of parliament Aaron Mwanza says the grassroots want him to defect to the ruling UPND.

And Mwanza says the PF lost the presidential elections because of the insecurity that was in the country in terms of cadres having more powers.

In an interview, Mwanza said during his consultations, people had advised him to defect to UPND.

Mwanza, however, said not only someone in the ruling party can deliver development to his people.

“The by-election will be different because during the general elections we were talking about the PF manifesto and what we wanted to do for the people. But now that we are in opposition, the message is going to be different. So I have the confidence to scoop the seat. I have consulted the grassroots and many have been calling me to defect to UPND and other political parties have also been looking for me. You know Kaumbwe is the only seat that is remaining which is vacant in parliament. A lot of political parties would like to add their number of MPs to the list. However, on account of developmental challenges that Kaumbwe is facing, I still explain to the people,” he said.

“It does not take somebody in the ruling party to bring development to the constituency. I have an example of PF when Edgar Lungu won in 2016, [in] Dundumwezi he got almost zero but then that was the first place where he took electricity and roads. In fact, we know that from his speech, President Hakainde Hichilema is a fair president because he talked of One Zambia, One Nation. So our message is to inform the people on how development comes in the constituency, an area MP does not need to come from the ruling party. There is no advance in the ruling party in order to bring development to the people. It has to take an individual MP to bring development and how he can lobby. So I have got all those kinds of abilities to perform as an opposition member of parliament.”

And Mwanza said the urban uprising of the youths contributed to the PF loss.

“For me personally, I think that for any election, there is a winner and a loser. But looking at the two presidents, they were both of equal strength. I expected the results to be similar to 2016 and the gap to be small but it was almost one million difference. I think I can attribute our loss to the insecurity that was in the country and this insecurity was in terms of cadres having more powers. The youths in the age group from 18 to 35 were living in fear and there was a lot of intimidation from PF cadres. First of all, they had so much money and they took the law into their own hands,” he said.

“Police were supposed to protect the citizens and in this case it was not like that. Secondly, the youth empowerment programmes. These youths had no job opportunities. That was a youth explosion and that is how we lost. I do not know if the top leadership knew this because I just came from the diaspora. I have been following the happenings in Zambia online but physically to see it was a challenge. So that could have contributed to the loss. So it was the urban uprising of the youths that contributed to the loss of power.”

Meanwhile, Mwanza stated that people were happy with his candidature and further expressed confidence that he would win the parliamentary seat.

“Of course we knew about the by-election way back. After the general elections, we relaxed a bit. So now that ECZ has set the date, we did the planning for the by-election and we are prepared. My team and the PF structures in the constituency are intact. My team is still interacting with the people and we are prepared to bounce back and win this seat. So I will strengthen the campaign team this week. Chances are very high and I will scoop the seat. During the general elections, it was almost like a social contract. All the candidates under the Patriotic Front won due to the hard work that we put in and the messages that we have for the people. Apparently, the voting turnout was a bit low at about 52 percent but it was also due to the fact that the parliamentary ballot was not there and people were a bit disappointed. People are so happy with my candidature,” said Mwanza.