UPND chairman for elections Gary Nkombo yesterday paid off Patriotic Front candidate Chilubi candidate Mulenga Fube’s debt to some villagers he got food on credit for 2016 campaigns and never paid.
Fube was on nomination day saved by police from irate villagers who wanted to beat him up for failing to pay for the items they alleged he obtained in 2016.
“This Mr Fube left you with debt, we want to say as UPND that we shall pay it off now,” said Nkombo as he got money from his pocket and gave it to the villagers.
“Abena Chilubi nabeshiba akutila ba UPND nabalipila nkongole bashile ba Mulenga Fube. It is not Fube we have bailed out but the Chilubi families of those people that he (Fube) had gotten those items from,” explained Nkombo.
This was after Mervis Chibwe whose husband was Fube’s campaign manager in 2016 led about 60 members of Harry Kalaba’s Democratic Party in joining hands with the UPND in the Chilubi by-election campaigns.
She explained that Fube asked her to borrow food from the villagers and promised to pay but disappeared from the constituency immediately and has been hiding ever since.
Her husband Chongo Kamfwa said Fube sent them to borrow two goats costing K700, three tins of maize, three gallons of beans and one gallon of millet, all valued at K1,650 but had ignored paying for the items.
She said she was even arrested over the same food items as the owners thought Fube had paid.
She explained that she only saw Fube on Tuesday and he promised to pay the following day (Wednesday).
According to Mervis, Fube, a former Kaputa district commissioner, was however hesitant to pay the money as promised until some members of the PF campaign team that included Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya and Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba made contributions that only added to K600.
Meanwhile, Nkombo thanked Kalaba for allowing his members to work with the UPND in Chilubi.
“Harry Kalaba disengaged from the PF when he was a serving Minister of Foreign Affairs. It is not easy to leave a government portfolio because bupompwe bwacilamo (too much thieving),” he said.
He said Kalaba was even wiser now for giving direction to his followers in the Chilubi by-election.
“For what he has done, on behalf of the party and our leader Hakainde Hichilema, I thank him for what he has done. I thank him for giving direction, for shining light on our political party because your pain is our pain and your joy is our joy. The suffering of the people is your suffering and that is why you left the PF,” he said.
Nkombo told the Democratic Party members that they had shown magnanimity and love by joining hands with UPND when they could have decided to support the PF or even stay home.
UPND is fielding Stanislous Chele, a former teacher, while the NDC is fielding Mushimu Kalenga in the February 13 by-election.
People’s Alliance for Change and the United Prosperous and Peaceful Zambia have fielded Mark Mpundu and Charles Kalaba.