I’M not against the alliance, we are against an alliance where our party will not be respected and will be turned into UPND, Chishimba Kambwili has insisted.
And Kambwili says NDC is no longer a member of the UPND Alliance, unless otherwise.
Meanwhile, Kambwili says the central committee of NDC has resolved to suspend party vice president Joseph Akafumba, NDC secretary general Bridget Atanga and Roan member of parliament Joseph Chishala, among others who announced his “illegal” expulsion on Friday.
Addressing the media after a central committee meeting, Saturday, Kambwili said UPND had suggested that the alliance be called “UPND Alliance” but NDC was against the idea and made other suggestions which were all rejected.
“When I said last week that the issue of the alliance is almost 99.01 percent [concluded], there were only three sticking issues that were left. We agreed almost on anything. Although the last meeting that they had we I did not attend, but I assigned my vice-president, the secretary general and two or three members of the national governing council to go and represent us. And the mandate we gave them was our position, was that we needed to go in the alliance as NDC in an alliance with other political parties. For the passed three years, the sticking point has been that first and foremost, we were deliberating on the name. What was the alliance going to be called? Our friends the UPND suggested that they wanted the alliance to be called UPND Alliance. We asked them UPND Alliance, alliance with who?” he asked.
“We suggested two things, that we either formulate a new name altogether either by maintaining opposition alliance as a legal entity. Or we call it North-East-South-West alliance to encompass the issue of tribalism that has engulfed our beloved country on the political scene. We also suggested that maybe we can call it Rainbow Alliance like it was called in Kenya. Our friends rejected all this and said they just want it to be called UPND Alliance. We put our foot down.”
Kambwili said the late RPP leader James Lukuku at one point also suggested that the alliance be called the “UPNDC Alliance” but UPND refused at first before they accepted it later o
“The late young man Lukuku suggested in that meeting that “fine, here the two big political parties are NDC and UPND. We don’t mind ourselves not being mentioned in the name of the alliance, but can we probably call it the UPNDC Alliance”? He asked that we just put a ‘C’ on the ‘UPND’ for it to come out as UPNDC alliance. I agreed. We agreed as a party. Our friends refused. We adjourned that meeting. Again we came back, our friends now, because on that day what transpired was that my brother president HH said and I quote “if you don’t want to be called UPND Alliance, then us we are withdrawing the running mate from giving it to any member of the alliance”. And by the way, in the other meeting we had agreed that I was going to be the running mate,” Kambwili said.
“I have never at any time felt like being the president of an alliance when my elder brother president HH has been trying to be president five times. I will be extremely unreasonable. I said “you are older than me, you have been trying at this thing, I have just come out as Minister, be the president and I will be the running mate so that we can help each other. They have been talking about tribalism, when I from the North and you from the South combine forces, the people will believe in us”. Our colleagues accepted in the meeting that we had that ‘yes it will be called UPNDC Alliance’.”
Kambwili further said NDC and UPND also had some dissagreements on the issue of fielding members of parliament under the UPNDC Alliance, as UPND wanted all MPs to file their nominations under its umbrella.
“So the issue of the name was sorted. What remained now was how do we field members of parliament? We said there are two issues. We either legalise, we go to the Registrar of Societies and legalise the name UPNDC Alliance because members of the UPND and NDC will feel ownership of this vehicle then we can field all the aspiring candidates on this name, UPNDC Alliance. Our friends refused saying “no even if we call it UPNDC Alliance all the MPs must file their nominations on the name UPND. And our suggestion was that out of 100 percent seats, we are only asking for 40 percent as NDC because you are the larger political party, you will take 60 percent. They refused that we cannot give you 40 percent because we have been in existence for a long time,” he said.
“I said okay fine, on behalf of the party we can reduce to 30 percent. Our brothers said “no what we are going to do is, yes 30 percent we can agree to give you. But you select these 30 percent and let them come and file their nomination on UPND but they will be your MPs. I said what legal provision are you using? My brother said “if you don’t want then I’m going to withdraw the running mate and give it to one of my people”. I told him “do it now if you want, take it away from me, I don’t mind. I’m not here to be treated like a small boy or to be treated like we are pleading with you. Let’s respect one another and consider one another as partners”.”
Kambwili said the members of central committee of NDC also rejected UPND’s proposal saying they could not have their members run on UPND.
“We called a mini central committee of about 20 or so and we told them that “this is what the UPND are saying. They are saying we should all run on UPND”. Members of central committee in the present of Mr Akafumba, Mrs Atanga, rejected that we cannot be swallowed and we cannot have our members run on UPND,” he said.
And Kambwili said he was not against the alliance, but that NDC was against the alliance where its party would not be respected.
“I’m not against the alliance. But we are against the alliance where we are treated as big brother, young brother. An alliance where our party will not be respected and that we should turn from NDC to pure UPND. That we totally reject. I still don’t understand why the UPND was so adamant on straight forward issues that could have resolved our alliance. Having said that, effective today (Saturday) unless otherwise, NDC is no longer a member of the alliance,” Kambwili said.
He further said he could only be removed as president by the resolution of the national governing council of NDC with two-third majority.
“And this whole thing of going to court. Dragging me to court and saying I was not elected as president. The party constitution clearly states that the party through the national governing council or it’s original office bearers can appoint a president until one is elected at the Congress. I, Chishimba Kambwili, was appointed by national governing council in accordance with article 24(3). So the claim that I was not elected which you have taken to court is baseless. There is no provision in our constitution that authorises the secretary general, or even the vice-president to call for a national governing council meeting. I can only be removed as president by the resolution of the national governing council with two-third majority, period. So let’s not waste the Court’s time. The courts are very busy, there is COVID-19,” Kambwili said.
Meanwhile, Kambwili announced that the central committee had resolved to suspend all those who held Friday’s press briefing.
“The central committee has resolved that all those who were involved in that illegal press conference have been suspended with immediate effect. And we are going to write to each individual going by the provision of the constitution. We are going to follow procedure by writing to all of you to exculpate yourselves, including honourable Chishala my younger brother, you are suspended,” Kambwili said.
“I’m not power hungry. I’m not looking to be president today. I have intentions of becoming president through legitimate ways. But if today we say ‘let’s come together and serve the people of Zambia through this alliance and Kambwili be vice-president or be a chairman of finance’, for the sake of liberating the Zambians, I will accept like I accepted.”
Kambwili also apologized for the ‘fluffy’ remarks.
“Yesterday (Friday), I saw Mrs Atanga claiming that I called her a fluffy dog. Let me say this, when I said “this war that our colleagues have started is like a fluffy biting a lion”. That was a figure of speech. I used that figuratively implying that a giant cannot be fought by a midget. And I did not refer it to anybody. Let me say to the country and Mrs Atanga, madam if you felt I insulted you, I unreservedly apologize. Equally, to the other members who attended that briefing, if you felt that I called you a fluffy dog or I insulted you, I unreservedly apologize,” said Kambwili.