PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri says the ruling party will welcome suspended UPND vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) if he decides to re-join the party.

And Phiri says UPND president Hakainde Hichilema is a treated like a ‘god’ by his members who do not speak out to challenge his personal decisions.

In an interview, Monday, Phiri said GBM was a long time member of the PF and the ruling party would be glad to welcome him back.

“If GBM wants to come back to PF, we will receive him, he was PF before and if he decides to come back, we won’t hesitate to welcome him back. I will be there myself to welcome him and say ‘welcome back, my brother.’ GBM was our member like I have said, he was part of the PF family, and in Bemba we say: ‘umuto walupwa tawitika usempauka fye’ (A family does not break despite having differences), so we shall welcome GBM as one of us if he makes up his own mind and decides to come back to PF. And you know African politics, they are nomadic, people move from political party to another and even myself; if I was to leave PF, I would still come back,” Phiri said.

Phiri refuted claims by some UPND supporters suggesting that the ruling party had bought GBM, saying it was impossible to buy “one of the richest men in Zambia”.

“How can we buy the mighty GBM? How can we buy one of the richest men in Zambia? Those words are not coming from my mouth; they have come from GBM himself and Hakainde Hichilema that they are rich! You know, these UPND, they forget that they have been planting a seed, I am repeating this: the seed of lying; the seed of discontent; the seed of scandalising people! So, they are reaping what they have been sowing; it’s very clear; ‘you reap what you sow.’ They shouldn’t drag the name of the PF in their confusion. Honestly speaking, can we buy a rich man? Even the Bible says ‘it’s very difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God; can we buy him? We can’t! That’s a myth,” Phiri said.

“GBM has his own conscience and he always makes his own decisions. When he was Defence Minister, he resigned because he said that certain things were not right at that time, was he paid to do that? No, he made his own independent decision.”

And Mumbi said when GBM was in PF, he was allowed to speak freely, unlike in UPND which operated like a “kangaroo court.

“One thing that the UPND should know is that GBM is coming from a democratic party; PF, where even when he was elections chairman, he could speak his mind in the Central Committee and whatever decisions we make as the main body, which is the highest organ of our party, it’s by consensus, we allow people to speak independently,” Mumbi said.

“We don’t operate like UPND, which is like a kangaroo court; when they see their party president Hakainde Hichilema, everybody starts shaking! In UPND, Hakainde Hichilema is a god. Have you ever seen any member posting pictures of where they live? We just see pictures of their god, Hakainde Hichilema’s farm being flaunted everywhere. Why? Because he is their god! Have you ever known even where Honourable Nalumango lives? Because everybody in UPND is regarded as a pauper! So, how can they drag our name into their wrangles?”

Meanwhile, Mumbi accused Hichilema of uttering tribal remarks.

“And we have a recording where HH was insulting the Bembas, and saying that even without the votes of the Bembas, UPND will win in 2021 using the votes from Southern, Western and North-Western. We have that recording and we shall make sure that we take it round all the Bemba regions so that people can hear for themselves. Mind you, Bemba’s make up 43 per cent of the total population of this country. We have also heard Mucheleka insulting Bemba chiefs! How can a true Bemba start insulting his chiefs? Anyway, in Bemba they say ‘nyina ewishiba wishi wamwana’ (Bembas say only a mother knows the father of the child). This is why the UPND does not win elections; even Hakainde himself he has contributed to the continued losses of his party because whenever he gets closer to winning, something comes up and makes the Presidency bypass him! During Mwanawasa’s time, Mwanawasa had brought Hichilema closer and wanted to make him a Minister, but because Hichilema only wants to be president, he refused! Even in 2021, the Presidency will bypass him,” said Phiri.