OVER 550 members from the United Party for National Development (UPND) and Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) in Eastern Province have defected to the ruling Patriotic Front.
The members, who are from Vubwi, Mambwe, Lundazi and Chipata, were led by their district party officials and were welcomed at a ceremony by PF deputy-secretary general Mumbi Phiri at Zambia Wildlife Authority grounds in Chipata yesterday.
Speaking after receiving the new members, Mrs Phiri said the PF is significantly gaining membership country-wide and urged party leaders to maintain the momentum the party has gained in mobilising new members.
She said there is need for both old and new members to be united and work towards building and strengthening the party without side-lining each other.
“Let’s unite with new members, let’s embrace them like any other person who joined the party a long time ago and find where to fit them in our structures so that we can grow the party. The Bemba-speaking people have a proverb which says ‘the size of a chicken is determined by its feathers’. This should be the case with PF, where we should have more people,’’ Mrs Phiri said.
Mrs Phiri urged new members to be humble and work with the party leadership with a common goal of growing and strengthening it.
And Mrs Phiri has urged women to emulate Vice-President Inonge Wina and demonstrate exemplary behaviour, saying this will help to mould future generations and lead to more women occupying leadership positions.
She said Mrs Wina, who is Zambia’s first woman vice-president, is an exceptional woman and leader who is a role model and must be emulated.
“For the first time in the history of our country, we have the first female vice-president who is well respected and a role model. Many people out there feel proud talking about her because of her decency in manner she walks, dresses, speaks…and just the way she does things, she is a good example to the young ones,‘’ she said.
Mrs Phiri said President Lungu deserves commendation for being the first President in Zambia to appoint a woman for the country’s second-highest office.
And speaking on behalf of the defectors, former MMD youth secretary Chembe Daka said he decided to join PF because of the good leadership that President Lungu has demonstrated during the time he has been in office.
“We have decided to join PF because of the good leadership that the PF has shown to the people under President Lungu and we promise to work together with the old members to ensure that the party retains power during the 2016 general elections,” Mr Daka said.