TEDDY KUYELA, Lusaka
THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has appointed Patriotic Front (PF) Kasama Central member of Parliament (MP) Geoffrey Mwamba as its vice-president for administration.
But PF secretary general Davies Chama said Mr Mwamba lacks morality by refusing to resign from the ruling party because he knows that he will lose the by-election if he contested under the UPND.
And Mr Mwamba has vowed not to resign from the PF despite joining the UPND and subsequently being appointed vice-president of the opposition party.
The Kasama Central lawmaker, who replaces Richard Kapita, who recently ditched the UPND for the PF, said he will only resign from the PF if opposition MPs appointed into the executive relinquish their positions.
Mr Mwambaâ€™s appointment was announced by UPND president Hakainde Hichilema at a press briefing, otherwise turned into a mini-political rally, held at Lusakaâ€™s Cresta Golfview Hotel.
Mr Hichilema said the decision to appoint Mr Mwamba was arrived at the partyâ€™s national management committee meeting held yesterday.
â€œMr Mwambaâ€™s appointment is indeed a clear demonstration that this party does not support tribalism and is promoting the â€˜One Zambia, One Nationâ€™ moto.â€
â€œUPND will build a united and prosperous Zambia because we have a mandate to promote economic and social development to the people of Zambia,â€ he said.
Mr Hichilema said the entire UPND membership overwhelmingly supported the appointment of Mr Mwamba.
He also said the appointment of Mr Mwamba is aimed at giving the PF a â€œtaste of medicineâ€and show them that the UPND is growing.
And Mr Mwamba said he is humbled with the appointment but insisted that he will not resign from the ruling party.
â€œI have accepted my appointment because this is what the PF is doing by appointing MPs from other political parties to serve as deputy or Cabinet ministers.
â€œI will only relinquish my position as MP for Kasama Central when the MPs who have been appointed from the opposition to serve in the PF government resign,â€ he said.
Mr Mwamba said he has not committed any illegality by exercising his democratic right of accepting the appointment.
The former minister of Defence has taken the PF to court for expelling him when he supported and campaigned for Mr Hichilema in the January 20 presidential election, which saw the election of President Lungu.
And Mr Chama said in an interview yesterday that Mr Mwambaâ€™s argument not to resign is irrational because President Lunguâ€™s decision to appoint opposition MPs is constitutionally right.
â€œMr Mwamba is not a factor in the PF because he was expelled a long time ago. If he thinks he is popular, he would have relinquished his position so that we can go for a by-election to ascertain the party which is more popular between PF and UPND,â€ he said.
Mr Chama challenged Mr Mwamba to be bold enough and resign from the PF.
TEDDY KUYELA, Lusaka