In an interview, Kambwili said he recently met UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and his national chairperson Mutale Nalumango to discuss ways in which to avoid competing against each other as alliance partners.
“I am just shocked because even as late as yesterday, my vice-president and I had a meeting with HH and Mrs Nalumango where we requested for their support and outrightly, we agreed to support them in Katuba but they have insisted to field-in in Kitwe. It actually puts us in a very awkward position, you know, if you are going to compete in a by-election, it is awkward and what might be said to one another may not be pleasing because we are fighting to get the seat. I really feel so bad personally, I have always had an impression that we are going to have a very good working relationship where we should agree that ‘let this one field-in, let this one not field-in’, but to end up in a situation where they have insisted to put up a candidate in Kitwe, it is something that has shocked me. But I will keep my word, we said we will support them in Katuba, we will. We will support them in Katuba but it is up to them to think about what they have done, to analyze whether this is the correct way to go or not,” Kambwili said.
Asked if he would continue to trust the UPND going forward, Kambwili said that was a story for another day.
“That’s a story for another day but I should note that I am extremely disappointed,” he said.
“We had a meeting at his residence and even there, the indications were that they were not very comfortable with not fielding-in in Kitwe.”
Asked if upon return from South Africa, he would meet Hichilema and his team to iron out the issue, Kambwili said; “It’s water under the bridge. The nominations are on the 11th, I am only back in the country on Sunday.”
He said being in an alliance meant sacrifice.
“If you are in an alliance, there must be give and take. But I can tell you something for nothing, that as for HH and, anyway, let me not go into details except to say that I am disappointed,” Kambwili said.
Kambwili said he was optimistic about NDC’s chances in the by-election.
“We are very strong, unless otherwise. We are receiving a lot of goodwill from the people on the Copperbelt, we have done a lot of ground work…You know, I am a politician and we have done our ground work. What is bad is that alliance members want to compete among themselves. I had a candidate in Katuba and our structures and our people were of the view that we field in Katuba but I put my foot down. My vice-president and I and almost the entire central committee said it would not augur for us to go and challenge the UPND in Katuba because we are in an alliance. Why don’t we just support them in Katuba and they support us in Kitwe, and this is the message that we took to them…we said let us not compete amongst ourselves in the alliance,” said Kambwili.
“But the mere fact that they have announced a candidate means they have refused and it is not our fault. We wanted this relationship where one fields here, the other one doesn’t field so that we don’t compete but it is shocking. It is water under the bridge, it is shocking, we will see what the future holds. We are in an alliance but we will see what the future holds.”
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