Former UPND vice-president Dr Canisius Banda has commended Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba for leaving the opposition party saying he was never respected there.

And Dr Banda has asked UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema to groom a successor and introspect intensely on the happenings in the party, saying “you can’t lose two vice-presidents in a space of two years, it reflects bad leadership”.

Commenting on GBM’s decision to rejoin the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), Dr Banda said the former Defense Minister and member of parliament for Kasama Central had made the right decision.

“You can’t lose two vice-presidents in two years, that reflects poorly on you as a leader of any organisation. That is a basis for introspection by the UPND president, there must be something wrong in the way the party conducts its business. You can’t be the only righteous person and everybody else is wrong, that is just not possible. But the trouble with the UPND is that as a party, it’s an innocent public entity but its captured by an ethnic cabal. This group is inspired by their ethnic interests, it has captured the party and now they want to seek State power for the assertion of the pride of their ethnicity, which is sectorionism, which is divisive, which Zambians should not allow because Zambia is a unitary State,” Dr Banda said.

“This is why people like Canisius Banda, Geoffrey, Mutale Nalumango, Patrick Chisanga, Sakwiba Sikota; all these people, they are peripheral figures. The core of the UPND isn’t right, the centre remains the same. The centre of the UPND is purely ethnic centered, that is why it is very difficult for the periphery to merge with the centre. There is lack of harmony between the centre and the periphery. So Geoffrey, Canisius, we were only peripheral figures in there. We were entities to use for the realisation of the ambitions of the core. This is why you have a very high turnover of vice-presidents because the president remains the same.”

Dr Banda said if Hichilema did not want to groom a successor, that could lead the party into extinction.

“In 2015, I advised him to groom a successor. But sadly he hasn’t done that. So that’s the major weakness of that political party and their president because he thinks that he will be there forever, which isn’t true. That’s a public entity and he must prepare for its future. So as Hichilema, when my wife was being lowered in the grave at Memorial Park, I turned to him and said ‘hey you, groom a successor. Start now if you haven’t started already’, and he looked at me and nodded. But this is 2019 and he has not done so. The UPND without Hakainde Hichilema is a headless entity and a public entity should not be like that, with or without one person it must continue to run. But if Hichilema was to cease being president today, the UPND would be lost and that weakness has been created by him. And that ethnic cabal which has captured the party, to them their only trump card is Hakainde Hichilema. Now that’s a major weakness of the UPND,” Dr Banda said.

He insisted that it was difficult for GBM to identify with UPND members because he was not respected.

“It was difficult for Geoffrey to stay, ask Geoffrey; every time they had national executive committee meetings, Tongas on their own will have another meeting to re-discuss issues discussed in NEC meetings and that annoyed him. He even came to me and said ‘are you aware my brother that this is what they are doing?’ but I acted like I didn’t know, I said I was not aware but I knew. So the UPND had no respect for Geoffrey right from the beginning. They saw him for his money and tribe, they needed additional votes from the Northern part of Zambia and that was the basis for getting him, not because Geoffrey was going to add value in terms of policy and legislation in governing the Republic, no! If he were there to listen to what they were saying about him behind his back, he would have beaten them up. They were saying ‘let’s just use him to get the Northern votes and get into office’, he was not going to be there vice-president,” said Banda.