UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka says the party will in the next few months be going for a general conference to elect new party leaders.

And Katuka says the party cannot appoint a new vice-president now because it is not long before the next conference.

In an interview, Katuka said the UPND was not in a hurry to fill the two vice-president positions since the resignation of Dr Canisius Banda and Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba who were vice-president for politics and administration respectively.

“These are internal matters of the party. Can we query why Lungu has dropped Mumbi Phiri from her nomination? We can’t query because those are internal matters of the party. They are free to decide and how to run their party. We do not run our party together with the PF. So, we don’t even get advice from them just like we don’t give them advice on how to run their party. We are a political party that is independent and we make our own decisions and we know how to run our own party. We have a structure that manages the party. We are not a ‘kangaroo’ party that from the street anybody can just say: ‘why don’t you put a vice president?’ We will decide to fill the position when the right time comes. We are not in a hurry like they (PF) are in a hurry to bring deputy ministers,” Katuka said.

And Katuka said there was no need to fill the vacant positions now because the party would in the next few months would hold a general conference.

“So, we are not filling the vacuum for now, and we don’t need to fill it for now, until we are ready to fill that. Apart from that, you know that we going to the general conference, which is a convention so why should we fill the position now and that person goes to the convention and he is voted out? It doesn’t make sense! We have plans that we are already working on, to go for the general conference. At the general conference, all these positions will be frozen. They will be vacant and up for grabs, including that of the president. So, even if we put a vice president now, by the time we are going to the convention, that position will be vacant,” said Katuka.

“So, how can we put him for a month or two months or three months and then we say: ‘now the position is vacant, you have to go and re-contest.’ If we fill the vacancy now, then we will appoint; but if we fill it at the general conference, then it will be elective. [We will be holding one] anytime from now, but we have not fixed the date yet, but we already working on that.”