UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) spokesperson Charles Kakoma’s statement that Sinazongwe Member of Parliament Richwell Siamunene stands no chance of winning an election in his constituency if he stood on the Patriotic Front (PF) ticket because he has no following has baffled me.
Unknown to many, including the UPND spokesperson, Mr Siamunene, who is Defence Minister, has used his position to endear himself to the grassroot civic leadership in Sinazongwe Constituency with his unprecedented delivery of infrastructure development.
The UPND’s top brass will soon discover that they can not derail Mr Siamunene’s train.
His departure is perhaps the biggest blow yet to hit UPND’s chances of winning the much-coveted Zambian presidency.
It is common knowledge that at this time PF has been looking for a candidate who would bring in more votes from either the Plateau or Gwembe Valley of Southern Province.
To this end, the ruling party had made forays into these two vote-rich and populous constituencies seeking a suitable opinion-shaper.
Mr Siamunene was chosen by the PF, but afterward he was expelled by the UPND.
For a long time Mr Siamunene’s attributes of being non-confrontational, cool demeanour, and his amiable character were used to mock him by UPND hardcore cadres.
But he will be sorely missed by the UPND in Gwembe Valley.
It is this game-changing move by Mr Siamunene which has made people in Zambia to question UPND’s chances of clinching the presidency without the support of influential regional kingpins of Southern Province, who have abandoned the opposition party within the last 12 months.