EVERYTHING in Zambia is shuttered, says UPND secretary general Steven Katuka. In an interview at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport when he received the body of the late Sesheke member of parliament Frank Kufakwandi, aboard a British Airways flight from South Africa, Katuka said the UPND was devastated.
The country is shuttered, the economy is shuttered, peace and security shuttered, the rule of law, public order issues and everything is shuttered but we must remain strong under these circumstances and promise Zambians a better country than they are seeing now, he said.
Katuka advised UPND members to remain strong and continue the fight from where Kufakwandi and others had left. He said Kufakwandi was one of the members the UPND leadership had trust in.
But unfortunately the cold hand of death has taken him and we have no control. It is unfortunate that those that have left us are doing so at a time we really needed them most. However, my appeal again is that we must remain strong for the good of this country, Katuka said.
We are devastated as a party and only a few months ago we lost the Mangango member of parliament, Naluwa Mweene, which led to the by-election which is taking place right now. It has been too much on us. As I am talking right now, they are burying the Luapula provincial secretary in Kitwe, a Mr Mulenga, so there have been too many of these calamities on us as a party. But as I said, we have no control but all I can say on behalf of the party leadership is that the family must be strong as they go through these trying moments.
He also asked UPND members to take a leaf from Hakainde Hichilemas advice that it was always darker before dawn.
They should not lose hope; they should not think that this is the end of the world, they should always fight on. There is always a time for everything, Katuka said.
On Mangango electorates, Katuka asked them to vote for the UPND candidate Mwendoi Akakandelwa.
To the Mangango voters, I am urging them to give the UPND a sympathy vote as late MP could not complete his term. They gave us a person who did not finish his term, so it is all these lacunas in the Constitution that lead to the by-elections, because I sat on the NCC [national constitutional conference] and if we had a constitution which is leak proof, by now we would not have all these by-elections and our recommendations was that if we lose a sitting member of parliament, the party he represented should replace him or her, but the PF decided to do away with that and that is why we are having these by-elections and to the people of Mangango, my appeal is that they give us another chance, said Katuka.
Southern Province permanent secretary Mwangala Liomba said Parliament would miss Kufakwandis contributions. He said government was deeply sorry for the loss of Kufakwandi.
The intention of government was well-intended to take him for specialist treatment in South Africa and come back and continue serving his own people, but, well, God in His own wisdom has decided that that was his end of tour of duty on this planet, said Liomba. We only want to urge the people of Sesheke Central to remain one, especially in this time of mourning. We are brothers and sisters. Let us mourn him with dignity and I urge my brothers and sisters to honour this man by mourning him in dignity.