The UPND leadership in Sinazongwe District has expressed concern over the behaviour of some members of parliament whom they accuse of being treacherous and arrogant towards party president Hakainde Hichilema on grounds that they are founder members.
But UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka has asked the leadership in Sinazongwe to submit the names of the MPs who feel they are bigger then the party to the party secretariat in Lusaka so that action could be taken against them.
Sinazongwe District UPND spokesperson George Bbabbi told News Diggers! in an interview that claims by United Progressive People (UPP) president Saviour Chishimba that some of the UPND MPs were betraying the party for greener pastures were indeed true and that he had evidence to that effect.
Bbabbi challenged Hichilema to show his authority over the party by expelling the people who were betraying him from the party just like PF founding president Michael Sata did to treacherous PF members.
“UPP president Saviour Chishimba’s revelation that there are some senior UPND members that are on salary in PF cannot go without a comment from Sinazongwe. It is extremely sad, and here in Sinazongwe, we want to appeal to our president HH that he must have authority over the party, UPND. HH must do what the late Michael Sata MHSRIP did to expel those that do not mean well for the party. President HH must start expelling undisciplined senior members that feel they own the party. We, from the grassroots are suffering and those that are driving Pajeros and VXs are again getting salaries from PF. And those from Southern Province, I feel pity for them because when they are expelled, they will not come back here! That will be the end of their political [career]. So, we want to warn those that want to use UPND to make money to leave the party immediately! As youths, and as a party, we will not allow those that are double-dealers to continue being members of UPND,” Bbabbi cautioned.
“HH must act swiftly on those erring members. We are aware that there are some senior MPs in UPND, and particularly here in Southern Province, that feel they are untouchable. All they say is that, ‘HH found us in UPND because we formed the party with Mazoka so he has no say’. We know what they say, ‘HH was elected by the ballot to become UPND president’ and so on. But HH has done extremely well for the party, running a party is a very big task, no wonder when he was arrested these same MPs where deadly scared to talk because they thought he would never come out from there. So, I am just appealing to my fellow youths in UPND in all the 10 provinces to make sure that we protect our president, HH, because these people with neckties don’t mean well for the party, they are just after money so let them resign.”
And reacting to these calls in a separate interview, Mucheleka said the party was already aware that there were some members who were betraying UPND for PF.
“You know, it’s very difficult to tell, and if there are any that might be contemplating to go to PF or undermine the party as far as we are concerned in UPND, we are watching with interest what is going on. If there is a party that will soon break up into pieces, it’s PF itself. There are serious factions within PF, you hear of a team being called ‘Luapula United’ and the next time you hear another team from a certain region who are mostly coming from MMD, those who waited for PF to get into power and used Lungu to push out those people who had suffered with Sata. So, what’s going on in PF should make everyone to be careful, especially if you are UPND. You may be moving from a frying pan going into the fire! UPND, as a party, could have its own issues, but we are taking steps to ensure that we are ready for the elections that are going to come in 2021 or even before. And for us, that is our focus and we have said clearly that we shall strengthen our structures and hold elections at all levels, including the convention itself. So, as such, anyone who is in good standing with the party will be free to contest any position of their choice,” Mucheleka assured.
“When you go into something you have never worked for, especially for the ruling party, you are moving from UPND going to PF, you may just be digging your own political grave. People must look at what happened to Greyford Monde, what happened to Poniso Njeulu and also what happened to [Richwell] Siamunene. That is what people must be looking at, what are they today? Are they even heard within PF circles itself? No! They were used and dumped! So, for us in UPND, we feel that sometimes it is good to fight. The people that are respected are those that fight in the opposition. This is why today those people who have jumped from MMD to go to PF when it is in power can’t be respected. This is why I am telling you that, you just wait, as we get closer to elections. They will be serious fall outs within PF itself. So, going to join PF at this late hour will be suicidal, it will be political suicide! So, I would just like to appeal to our elected leaders, whether councillors or MPs, to just remain steadfast and continue working for the people who elected them.”
He encouraged Bbabbi and his team to help the national leadership identify the individuals that were betraying the party for PF handouts.
“We don’t have names, but we are just hearing rumours. But if he has any names, let him get in touch with the party secretariat and we shall be able to look into that. Otherwise for us, we may not be able to… unless we have evidence, but if there is someone who has any evidence or names of people that might be betraying the political party and want to join PF, then let him bring those names,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mucheleka said UPND would soon be announcing the nominated candidate for the Kasenengwa by-election today.
“We shall certainly announce our candidate; the nominations are on Wednesday. So, at the end of the day, we shall be able to tell you who our candidate is. We are participating in Kasenengwa and all the other five local government by-elections. Of course, we have serious concerns because the [political] playing field is still not levelled and then we have a challenge of the misbehaviour of the police,” said Mucheleka.