UPND Dilemma – Make Or Break Situation.
IF president Hakainde Hichilema chooses a wrong candidate to run with him, the wrath of God will be upon him, warns UPND vice-president for politics Dr Canisius Banda.
And former Gwembe UPND member of parliament Brian Ntundsu, who has not been adopted, says he does not think his party wants to win the August 11 general elections by leaving out its “generals”.
But UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma says the party is ready to meet any “generals” such as Ntundu who want to go to war for a fourth term.
Dr Banda said on Sunday that the wrath of God would descend on the UPND if the running mate is not fairly picked.
He said he had the credentials required for a presidential running mate but that he was cognisant of Hichilema’s prerogative to identify one.
“Even if president Hichilema stood alone, he would win. He does not have to stress over who the running mate should be but God forbid, he shouldn’t pick the wrong one because the wrath of our Father will come down,” Dr Banda warned when he featured on Muvi TV’s The Assignment programme on Sunday evening.
“Credit must go to Hakainde Hichilema, he has the prerogative to decide who should run with him and it should be somebody that he is comfortable with. So let us respect his timing.”
He said Hichilema needs a partner who shares his qualities.
“Number one, president Hichilema is a God-fearing man, so it is fundamental and it is important that he gets somebody like him. Number two, somebody who respects the people. These are the owners of the country. The voice of the people is the voice of God. Hichilema knows that. Hichilema was born poor. He has a sense of indebtedness. Number three, a leader that will acknowledge that we are diverse and the country belongs to all of us,” Dr Banda said.
“I left one opposition party and went to another one. It hasn’t been easy. We have walked the journey together with Hakainde Hichilema. We have sold the manifesto. If there is a loyal person in UPND, that person is me. If there is a passionate person, that person is me. I can’t leave. I wrote speeches for sitting heads of state in this country. I am a public health specialist.”
But asked what his reaction would be should his counterpart, Geoffrey Mwamba, be picked as Hichilema’s running mate, Dr Banda said if that happened, he would wish Mwamba well.
“I wish GBM well if the qualities I have illustrated, he has them. I am not the judge. I recruited him. So how can he overshadow me? I was part of team that courted Geoffrey. He has not overshadowed me. We, as a team, expect him to do the best he can, to tell the people the truth and what UPND is going to do. Let Geoffrey go, reach out to the people and tell the truth. Let me tell you this,” said Dr Banda.
And Ntundu, in an interview yesterday after being left out in adoptions for the August general elections, warned that his party risked losing the August 11 elections because it had snubbed its “generals”.
“Mark my words; the UPND have made an unfair decision to leave the loyal, longest serving members such as myself. I would have won the party thousand of votes than what the woman they have adopted will give them. I don’t think the UPND wants to win these elections,” Ntundu said. “I have been a loyal member of the UPND since its inception…and that’s the biggest loyalty one would be expected to have. Look at Shakas [Jonas Shakafuswa]! I know I didn’t do a good job in party mobilisation but to leave me is a terrible political mistake. This Malungo woman is the one I beat even in 2011 because she is unpopular, so how do they adopt her? The UPND has to work hard or else…how do you find an army commander firing all his generals and expect trainees to win him a war? We have been in the political war before and I could have captured more votes for HH than the woman who has been adopted!”
He said he would not campaign for the UPND but would instead concentrate on his farming business in Gwembe.
“I will remain a spectator because I have gotten back to my farming business where I will spend much of my time… I am sure there are a lot of people to campaign for HH, especially those that have been picked,” Ntundu said when asked whether he would campaign for the UPND leader even when he was not adopted as a parliamentary candidate. “I know Gwembe [residents] very well and that woman they have adopted won’t please them.”
Asked whether he would defect to the PF, Ntundu just laughed.
But Kakoma said the biggest mistake some UPND members made was to think that they were bigger than the party itself.
“So this time around, the people of Gwembe said ‘let Ntundu rest because he has done three terms’. So who are we not to listen to the people? Let him [Ntundu] go to a ‘political war’ if he wants to go there for a fourth time and we shall meet him in the battle zone,” Kakoma said.
On the issue of the running mate, Kakoma said the party still had a few days to choose a running mate.
“The UPND still has up to Friday to name its running mate, so we have a few more days,” said Kakoma.