MONZE Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu says unlike the PF, UPND has not expelled any member for showing interest to contest the UPND presidency.

Commenting on PF national party chairperson Davies Chama’s remarks that the ruling party was democratic, and unlike UPND, it would not intimidate anyone who wanted to challenge President Edgar Lungu at the convention, Mwiimbu said it was clear that the PF had been against anybody wanting to challenge President Lungu for the party presidency position.

“I want to state that the statement being attributed to Mr Davies Chama is preposterous! It has been noted that simple minds dwell on non-issues. The PF have been vehmently against any individual in the PF, who would want to aspire for the position of party president. They have expelled individuals who have shown interest in the position of the president of the PF. One particular example is Kelvin Bwalya Fube (KBF); he was expelled from the PF for expressing his intention for standing for the presidency. We are aware that all the supporters of Kelvin Fube Bwalya have been expelled from the PF for expressing their democratic right to support the candidature of PF that is what has happened. Unlike PF, we have not expelled anyone, we have not victimised anyone who wishes to contest the presidency of UPND,” Mwiimbu said in an interview.

“Let them cite an example of anyone who has been intimidated, who has been stopped from contesting the position of presidency in the UPND. I stand firm without fear of contradiction whatsoever, that there has never been anyone who has been victimised for expressing interest to contest the presidency. Our party constitution is very clear: anyone who has been a member of the UPND for at least one and a half years and of good standing is free to contest. We advertised for the positions that are contestable at the convention, none of our people showed any interest. It is our considered view that our members have a lot of respect for Hakainde Hichilema and for the time being and they have considered he is the only one who can lead the country to a better situation that it is now.”

Mwiimbu, the Leader of the Opposition in the House, added that the PF were using tribalism as a strategy to win the forthcoming August election.

“Mr Davies Chama and his PF should be the last individuals and institutions to talk about tribalism. We are aware that whenever there is a by-election or an election, which UPND is contesting, they always bring out issues of tribalism where they have been saying that, ‘Tongas cannot rule.’ That has been said on several occasions in Chilubi, Lukashya, in Malole and Petauke. These statements are on record and have been said by very senior members of the PF. It is also important to note the PF will like to use tribalism as a weapon against UPND and win the elections. They have been championing tribalism throughout their various campaigns. We noted with concern that their surrogates, who have been sent to various areas of Zambia by the PF, have been using tribal remarks. You will note that even individuals who are purportedly hailing from Southern Province, Paul Moonga, Bizwell Mutale, have been making statements that a non-Tonga should not be allowed to rule Zambia, that is on record. Ourselves as UPND, we have never raised an issue of tribalism against anybody on issues of ascendancy to leadership, we have never,” said Mwiimbu.

“We do recall that at the time of the demise of the late president (Anderson) Mazoka, the people who raised issues of tribal inclination were PF members. This PF member is a senior member of the party and they have cherished him, they have supported him and they have given him all the accolades that are attributed to any senior leader of the PF. Those are the ones who were being tribal. Hakainde Hichilema is merely a victim of low characters who are now in PF, who would want to bring issues of tribalism whenever issues of leadership of the country comes to pay. We will not digress from our agenda of providing the requisite leadership to this country through Hakainde Hichilema. I would like to state that members of the public have not forgotten what transpired at the purported convention of the PF in Kabwe (in 2014) where President Lungu was said to have been elected as leader of the PF. Davies Chama has indicated that they are people who had challenged President Lungu at the convention at the Mulungushi Rock of Authority. It must be noted that Given Lubinda, Wylbur Simuusa, Chishimba Kambwili were never allowed to step foot at the PF convention of the PF. The PF as its nature is a very violent party! They use violence to stop those individuals who were aspiring to be president of PF.”