UPND spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa has disclosed that about 50 percent of the party’s sitting members of parliament lost the primary election at ward level in the adoption process.

In an interview, Mweetwa said the party was going to respect the wishes of the people on the grassroots.

He however, noted that winning at ward level did not entail that one was automatically a candidate as there were other elections at different stages that one needed to win in order to be adopted.

“We have had a very successful primary election and so far about 50 percent of our members of parliament lost primary election at ward level. Around 50 percent of our members of parliament lost the election at ward level. It is not worrying, the people are talking on the grass roots. It is the people who vote, it is the people who form government, it is not the members of parliament who form government. So, we are going to respect the wishes of the people. But it has to be understood that winning at ward level does not mean that you are the automatic candidate, there is still a constituency vote, there is still a district vote, there is still the province to vote, there is still national management to vote. There are five stages, you must win and get 50 percent plus one of the votes of all these stages for you to become a candidate. You can also get 50 percent of these stages, but if there is a security report which tells us that you are working with PF, that it is PF who funded your campaign, you shall not be adopted,” Mweetwa said.

He said the party would not be held accountable for any member who loses the primary election and decides to defect to the PF.

“We also have a situation where now, one or two members of parliament who have lost primary elections may wish to become disgruntled. At least this time we will not have anything to answer, to say ‘this former MP has gone to PF because…’. Whoever will leave now and they have lost the primary election, it is because they have been rejected by their own people, because they didn’t work well with their people. So, you news people, you should be going to ask the grassroots why such an MP has left the UPND to join the PF. Us we will not be answering anyone who has lost the primary elections and now decides to go to PF, ask the people,” Mweetwa said.

“We are not going to be held accountable. We are tired of answering questions that are straight forward. Someone loses grip on the ground, ‘I am going to PF, because I feel rejected. I must be treated with decency’, which decency? If you are not treating the people who send you to parliament with decency, you want to be treated with decency?”

And Mweetwa said voting against Bll 10 was not a passport for one to be adopted as a candidate.

“You want a seat to be declared ‘no contest for you’, because you voted against Bill 10? Who told you that by not voting for Bll 10 you are an automatic candidate? Voting for Bill 10 was a mandate for which you are elected to do, what the people [who] elected you wanted you to do. It was not a passport for adoption. Adoption is on account of what the people who elect you want, not voting against bill 10. I am aware of a number of MPs who are saying that ‘we voted for bill 10, we are loyal. So, the party should also now reward us’. You were already rewarded by being a member of parliament on the UPND ticket and enjoying all the privileges as a member of parliament. When the term came to an end, that was a reward. This is a new contract. The employer is not UPND, the employers are the electorates. Go to the employers and ask them to renew your contract. Don’t hold UPND accountable, you start insulting HH,” said Mweetwa.