National Democratic Congress (NDC) vice president Joseph Akafumba has announced that he will take over the party’s presidency from Chishimba Kambwili whom he says has sold out to the ruling Patriotic Front.
And Akafumba says the party has endorsed the UPND Alliance because that is what the majority Zambians asked them to do.
Meanwhile, NDC secretary general Bridget Atanga says Chishimba Kambwili’s behavior in the recent past clearly showed that he wanted to go back to PF.
But Kambwili has called for an emergency central committee meeting involving members of the NDC governing council which is expected to be held tomorrow in Luanshya.
Speaking when he addressed journalists in Lusaka, Thursday, Akafumba announced that Chishimba Kambwili would no longer be the party’s president because of his stance towards the alliance.
“I want to announce to you that the party has made some changes, and that I am going to act as interim president of the party and the former presidential spokesperson Edward Mumbi will act as vice president. The rest of the position will remain the same until when we meet to review them. We are doing so because this is the wish of Chishimba Kambwili who yesterday told us that if the majority of us are in support of the UPND alliance then, we should leave him alone. We want to tell him that we are going to support the alliance because that has been the wish of the Zambian people. We have been supporting Chishimba Kambwili when he was arrested. We have been supporting him when he was in prison. We have been supporting him when this party was dragged to Court, but I want to tell him that on this one, we shall not support his stance. We are going to support the alliance and nothing will change,” he said.
Akafumba wondered why Kambwili wanted to go back to the party he used to call corrupt.
“It is shocking that today my brother would want to go back to the party he used to call pompwe. The party he called corrupt. The party he called thieves. I am wondering what has changed in this same PF party. We shall respect the wish of the people and their wish is that we support the alliance. It is the same Kambwili who told us that we should go into the alliance and we went to all parts of the country telling our supporters to support the alliance. What has changed today? All I can say is I am wishing him all the best and he is free to do whatever he wishes to do. As for us, we shall not follow his steps,” Akafumba said.
Akafumba said party spokesperson Saboi Imboela’s position that she would rather vote for PF than UPND was not NDC’s position.
“It is a great shame for people like Saboi [Imboela] to say she would rather vote for PF party. The party that has caused misery to this country. PF that has brought joblessness to this country. PF that has got no regard to human rights. So whatever Saboi said, is not the position of the party. That is her position. We have been made to waste all this time, it is very painful and extremely painful. We are being driven to serve the people of Zambia. We are going to follow what the people want and if we are wrong, then we don’t want to be right. That is the path we took to follow what the Zambians want and the cry of the people is to remove PF. We stand by the truth and we have decided to stand with the people of Zambia. After consultations, we have decided to go into the alliance and we are in this alliance without CK and we are merely fulfilling his wish. Our wish was for us to be with him but it’s him who told us to go the alliance way. We have chosen to side with the Zambian people,” said Akafumba.
“We have no hard feelings against our former president CK but we are fulfilling his wish because he told us to go and count him out of the alliance. May I extend a hand to all former members of NDC wherever they are that come back to your party. May I specifically here mention my friend [Mwenya] Musenge and I want to tell you that we misunderstood you sir. Wherever you are, come back. I know you joined PF but that is not your party. This is your party which you formed because we want to see this party grow.”
And NDC secretary general Bridget Atanga said Kambwili once told him that he would rather go back to PF than work with the UPND.
“I have been observing CK’s behavior for some time now and I saw a long time ago that he was not for the wish of the people. Recently, when he came back from UK, I want to meet him at the airport and he told me openly that day that he would never work with HH. He said he would rather go back to PF than working with UPND. So, what else would the Zambian people look for in him? So to me I think he is already gone to PF. There is nothing wrong for him to go back because that is his democratic right. So I have talked and I have opened the pandora’s box for everybody to come and work with us. There is plenty of space in the party. So please members let’s move together for the wish of the people of this nation, said Atanga.
“I want to confirm as secretary general that that we are going to work with the UPND alliance because that is the wish of the people. I have been receiving phone calls almost every day from the party members sometimes even around midnight people calling saying what are you doing about the alliance? When are you going to announce because us we want to work with the alliance. So now today I am announcing to Zambians that NDC is intact, apart from our former president Chishimba Kambwili. I am saying former president because he is no longer our president. So we are going ahead. We are unstoppable with UPND alliance. So as we go out there please tell the people and our members that NDC is working with UPND alliance and we very serious and we will win.”
Meanwhile, new NDC vice-president Edward Mumbi pledged to work with all structures and unite the party.
“This has come to me as a surprise. Normally, I don’t look for power in terms of status. I treasure human life and I don’t take personal interest in whatever I do. So my promise to the party is that I am your servant and I will speak on your behalf and not on my behalf and I shall remain consulted. Being acting vice-president, let me take this power now to ask the secretary general to take a very serious task to visit the provinces so that we explain and grow the party as a family and not as individuals. NDC in the past has not gone into most of the provinces but me and the secretary general, we shall try and do it in a different way. We want to explain to the people who has been misinforming them about the party,” said Mumbi.
Among those who attended the briefing were Roan NDC member of parliament Joseph Chishala, chairperson for education Professor Mulenga Atanga, Fran M’membe, a member of national management and Joseph Katongo.
Others were Tizifa Mwanza and youth representative Emmanuel Malite.