UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has thanked his former vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) who resigned to rejoin the PF yesterday.

In his farewell message which attracted about 3,000 comments within hours of being posted on Facebook, Hichilema urged party members to respect GBM’s democratic right.

“We would like to thank our former Vice President Dr. Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba for the services he rendered to the party in our quest to run the country better. We wish our brother, GBM, all the best in his new journey and future endeavour. Further, we appeal to our party members and the nation to respect our brother’s (GBM’s) decision as it is his democratic right. May God bless our country,” said Hichilema.

And party spokesperson Charles Kakoma said GBM’s resignation would not affect the party’s popularity, arguing that GBM as an individual was not capable of dismantling the opposition party that has been in existence for over 20 years.

“We want to thank him, he is the one who had issues. In our opinion, there were no issues that he raised that were worth resigning on, and that is why we are just thanking him. He has decided to go back to PF where he came from; a party that two weeks ago he was calling corrupt and a party where he was insulting its leadership two weeks ago! He has decided to swallow his own words and go back, so we are just thanking him for the services he offered to UPND in 4 years or so,” Kakoma said.

“UPND is bigger than any one individual and one individual can’t dismantle this big political party like the UPND. That is beyond his capacity to do; he found UPND and he has left UPND the way he found it, nothing will change,” he said.

And Kakoma insisted that Hichilema was going to be the party’s presidential candidate in the August, 2021, general election.

“We already resolved as a party that HH will lead us to the next election and we will win like we won in 2016, we believe that we won. And this time around, we are going to win by a big margin; we are going to win by a landslide where the PF are going to find it difficult to rig! So, we are not worried about HH’s candidature, we are not going to detractors, our enemies to tell us to change our winning team, we are not going to be advised by our enemies to replace the one who scores goals for UPND,” Kakoma said.

Meanwhile, Kakoma said the party was not going to rush into finding a replacement for GBM as his departure was not going to create any crisis in the party’s hierarchy.

“We are not in a hurry, there is no crisis that has been created for us to panic and find an immediate replacement. That will come in due course. It will not create any vacuum, it will not create any crisis,” said Kakoma.