NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) interim president Joseph Akafumba says the provincial elections being held by expelled party leader Chishimba Kambwili are illegal.
And Akafumba says Kambwili is at the brink of rejoining the ruling party because he can no longer handle the pressure from the courts, but vows that the NDC will remain a member of the UPND Alliance.
At a briefing, Tuesday, Akafumba said Kambwili’s purported provincial elections were fake and an orchestrated plan for him to return to PF.
“We are extremely very cautious with what we are saying because this matter is currently before the courts. So we are choosing what to say so that we are not caught on the wrong side. We have employed our lawyers to use all means available to make sure the court process reaches Kambwili. We could have done like what they were doing themselves, going round organizing provincial conferences, district conferences but we have respect for the law. Let me say something about provincial conferences, district conferences, these are institutions within a political party What we have seen is strange gentlemen in possession of new vehicles from unknown sources, they have been going to provinces rounding up marketeers and they call them and tell them that you are coming for a workshop, when they get there, they tell them that there are elections and there is new chairmans and new vice chairmans and new provincial executive. This is a result when you are quicksand. The more you struggle the deeper you go down. This is exactly what is happening. It does not make sense! Can we for once respect the party. NDC cannot sink so low to organise fake provincial conferences,” Akafumba said.
And Akafumba said pressure from the courts had forced Kambwili back to PF.
“We still challenge them to produce a list of provincial officials. The composition of provincial officials must include not only the provincial executive, it must include district officials, it must include constituency officials and it must be opened by the president and closed by the secretary general. It is a mockery to our party. We disassociate ourselves from all these provincial conferences which are going round the country with fake promises and hoodwinking the Zambian people. Most of them after attending those conferences are getting back to us to tell us ‘no they just called us and this is what they have said’. The idea is that after they have constituted these conferences, it is to come and say ‘now we are calling for a convention and we are going to elect ABCD as leaders’, that will not work. Even us, we would have done it, but we would rather wait for the courts to settle the differences that we have,” Akafumba said.
“Kambwili expelled himself. He told us ‘count me out I am not part of this after I have been in the alliance for more than three years’. We respected his wish. So the provincial conferences that are being held are a non starter. We know that right now as we are talking they are on their way to Solwezi to hold another fake conference using vehicles which have been purchased from dubious sources, which we know very well. The problem with PF is that whatever they do, they tell us. So, we are ahead of what is going on in their camp. We know all these differences are going to build up support, to build up numbers so that at the 11th hour when it comes, [he can] go to PF. We have been briefed the way he is getting back to PF for reasons I think we all know. Our brother is in a difficult position where in one case he was convicted, he has two cases where he has been put on defence. He has a third case which is coming up for case to answer.”
Akafumba said it was shocking that Kambwili was failing to work with UPND president Hakainde Hichilema when he was the one who suggested that the former should lead the alliance.
“The person who took NDC to that alliance single handedly was Chishimba Kambwili. I did not even attend as vice president that time, the first meeting. When we checked our position with our colleagues, we found our alliance partners were sincere from the word go. Can you imagine where Dr Kambwili himself is the one who proposed president HH to be president of the alliance? In turn and to show good faith, the UPND gave away the vice president or running mate to the alliance. President Hakainde said you can choose as the alliance who will be the running mate and the vice president. Such a person who does that, is he selfish? It does not mean that in the UPND there are no capable men and women, but in good faith and in the belief of the alliance they gave away the vice president of the alliance,” said Akafumba.
“But today we are being told that the UPND are selfish. Are you sure that if it was the other way around Kambwili could have given the vice-president to the alliance? I doubt the way I know him. I think our brother, it is better he starts thinking before he talks, because it is becoming a little bit dangerous and we don’t want to go that far. We can never betray the calls of the Zambian people by going to join PF. If we are to lose with the alliance, we need to lose with dignity and honour.”