FORMER home affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo says UPND is in panic mode over the Kabwata by-election, arguing that this is the reason why President Hakainde Hichilema is campaigning in flooded markets.

And Kampyongo says the reduction of fuel pump prices is temporal, adding that it has no significant impact on the cost of living.

In an interview, Tuesday, Kampyongo said the people of Kabwata were waiting for UPND to apologise for making fake promises.

“People of Kabwata are well informed people and they are aware of the many promises which were made. So those are not people you can go back to [with] cheap gimmicks because what the people of Kabwata are expecting is to hear some sort of an apology to say that ‘we promised you that the Dollar was going to fall on the same day we were inaugurated, the mealie meal [price] which we promised you was going to [drop to] K50 is now going towards K200. Bear with us, what we found when we took over is different from what we were seeing from the opposition point of view, but we are going to fulfil these promises’. But to come back as if you did not promise anything and you are still talking to people, we will see on Thursday,” he said.

He said UPND was in panic mode, no wonder they were “trotting” from one church to another.

“I don’t think this temporal gimmick of reducing the price [of fuel] with that insignificant margin will save them. The people of Kabwata have already set their minds [on] what they are going to do on Thursday. We just expect people to conduct themselves properly, not this panic mode we are seeing of dragging the Head of State even when it is raining to go into the markets, trotting from one church to another, it won’t help. It should have been the best platform to say, ‘yes we made these promises but we are still committed to them’. A promise is a promise and fulfilling a promise is what shows honesty and credibility of an individual,” he said.

And Kampyongo said the reduction of fuel pump prices was temporal and had no significant impact on the cost of living.

“You even know that [it] is insignificant and it is as temporal as it looks. So it is just to hoodwink people, it won’t help anybody. I know they have pressure with this cosmopolitan constituency with well informed people. So they might even worsen their prospects trying to get that seat because everybody knows that there will be no significant impact on the people’s lives. That won’t show the reduction of mealie meal, that won’t show the reduction of cooking oil, their promise was that it was going to be cheaper, that won’t show the reduction of bus fares on our commuters,” said Kampyongo.

“So it is just as temporal as it looks for me and it has no solid impact on our people. People have been watching to see the reduction to a single digit of fuel as we were promised that after removing the cartel, the price was going to be cheaper. So to try and play those gimmicks, I don’t know if that is the formula that the Vice President was saying ‘increase and reduce’, maybe they are implementing that formula in their own scheme of things. But to tell you the truth it has no positive impact and it is insignificant.”

The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) on Monday reduced the pump price of fuel after conducting its first monthly price review.

ERB stated that the price of petroleum products had been reduced by K1.32 while Diesel had been reduced by K1.22.