UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka has refuted claims that he has ditched the UPND to join PF, saying only a mad person can join the ruling party.

In an interview, Wednesday, Katuka said he had never had any meeting with former UPND vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba as purported in stories circulating online, adding that it would be insensible for him to resign from the UPND as a long-standing senior member.

“It is fake news! It has been running for the past one week now. From last week, I saw it, yesterday again, they posted it. How can any sensible person resign? I am the owner of the party! I was there before even the party got iis name. So, if I resign, Mazoka’s (Anderson) body in the grave will turn. So, there is no way I can resign; it is the work and propaganda of the PF,” Katuka argued.

“I have never met GBM from the time he left the party. I have never spoken to him either on phone or in person or even criss-crossing on the road, I have never! I have never seen him anywhere; I have never spoken to him! So, it is not true that I met him somewhere it is not true. I am not mad to go to PF! Unless I become mad and decided to go to PF. No sensible person can go to PF.”

He said there were no tensions in UPND.

“There are no tensions in the party. Nothing to my knowledge, nothing! We are all happy here and we are our brother’s keeper. We are looking after each other; we are keeping each other very well. I don’t know of any tensions in the party. There could be small tensions here or there for the younger boys, but as far as the leadership is concerned, there is nothing,” he said.

Katuka also refuted reports that he had a sour relationship with UPND chairperson for elections and Mazabuka Central member of parliament Garry Nkombo.

“Garry Nkombo is my brother in-law, do you know that he is my brother in law? He is married to my sister. So, what tension is there? There is no tension whatsoever, we are very good friends. Garry has been my friend, even before we got into politics. When he was working with Guy Scott, what did we call that company? ‘GSI’ or something like that..that is where Garry was working and he was already my close ally. I have nothing against him and I have never quarrelled with him; I served in Parliament with him for 10 years, we never differed at any time. I was his deputy whip in Parliament. So, I have never had any issues with him,” Katuka said.

“It is propaganda. You see, initially, they wanted to show that president Hakainde Hichilema is tribal. They even wrote that he had appointed a councillor to be vice-president (of UPND); they had removed Nalumango (Mutale); they had removed me; they had removed the other tribes; they appointed Garry Nkombo, Mweetwa (Cornelius) and Buumba (Malambo). It is not true! There was nothing like that.”

And Katuka reiterated that the party would hold its convention in the first quarter of this year.

“No date has been set, we are supposed to meet I think within the course of this week, we are meeting to make that decision. But for us to set a date, we need call for the National Management Committee (NMC) meeting, which we have to decide on the date. But I can confirm that it is planned for the first quarter of this year,” said Katuka.