Opposition UPND President Hakainde Hichilema was disheartened yesterday when he was informed that Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba has turned the former Mansa batteries industry into a shopping mall in a province without any industry.Mr.Hichilema said it was better to either revamp the plant to what it was or setup another industry such as fish and meat canning. This would create decent jobs for the locals especially youths.The UPND leader was speaking in Mansa, Luapula Province yesterday, where he addressed various forums thanking the people of Luapula Province for the votes he got in the January elections.
Mr. Hichilema said there was plenty of alternative land in Mansa where Mr. Kalaba would have put the mall than getting and destroying the battery factory.
“This is what I mean when I plead that we put our heads together and debate real issues of attracting investment in areas such as Luapula Province which has all these massive water bodies not found in many parts of Zambia and indeed the world. We must devise ways of attracting investment and revamp dead industries such as the battery factory or even attracting investment for another manufacturing plant such as meat and fish canning industry for supplying to neighbouring countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo and others”, Mr. Hichilema who spoke in Bemba throughout, told crowd.
The UPND leader told the local UPND officials that he was receiving very encouraging reports on the growth of the party in the province and promised to fully support their efforts.
“(Edgar) Lungu got majority of the votes from places like Luapula Province but he has not bothered to come and thank people for the votes. Instead he has been in the air half the time globetrotting without attracting any tangible investments for areas such as Luapula. Now that I have come here you will also see him coming just to beg for votes yet I have come to thank you and look for investment opportunities”, he said.
Mr Hichilema reiterated that no one was creating another country away from Zambia as he denounced tribal talk bent on dividing the peaceful and united people of Zambia as being petty and trivial politics taking space at the expense of serious national issues that are affecting the entire nation currently.
“Zambians from all over are currently married and residing in all parts of the country. This means in the bedrooms we are one, in churches we are one, in schools we are one, in hospitals, shops, bars, restaurants, and everywhere we are one. But I wonder why we want to be different when it comes to politics. Voting for quality leadership that means well in wanting to develop the entire country should not divide people”, he said.
The UPND leader who upon arrival toured, UB, Senama, and Kapwena Market in Mwenda village and Kabuta village where he joined women in pounding cassava and drawing water from a well, promised to look for land in the area to put up a cattle ranch so as to share what he termed as his ‘proudly kachema skills’.
Mr. Hichilema, who later in the evening addressed a fundraising braii that was attended by some high profile business people and UPND party officials, told them to go flat out and do more to recruit more members to the UPND ahead of 2016 elections.
The UPND leader challenged the UPND leadership to embrace new members and make the province the hub of party activities.
He also urged them to look for quality candidates at all levels ahead of 2016 elections who won’t forget the people that elect them.