HONE SIAME, Kitwe
SOME United Party for National Development (UPND) members on the Copperbelt want Monze Central member of Parliament (MP) Jack Mwiimbu to be appointed vice-president so that he can be adopted as a running mate to party president Hakainde Hichilema in the August 11 tripartite elections.
The members prefer Mr Mwiimbu to vice-president for politics Canisius Banda and his administration counterpart Geoffrey Mwamba.
Mr Aubrey Mwiinga said in Kitwe yesterday that Mr Mwiimbu is a loyal and dedicated member of the UPND and he should be considered for adoption as Mr Hichilemaâ€™s running mate.
He said tribe should not be a hindrance for Mr Mwiimbu to be appointed UPND vice-president and subsequently adopted as running mate to Mr Hichilema.
He said Mr Mwamba and Dr Banda are newcomers who have not done much for the UPND compared to Mr Mwiimbu.
â€œMr Mwiimbu is the right man to be adopted as our partyâ€™s running mate to our president [Mr Hichilema]. He is one of the loyal and reliable party leaders we have in UPND,â€ Mr Mwiinga said.
Another UPND member Clement Nalishebo said Mr Mwiimbu has made great contributions to the party and should be recognised by appointing him vice-president.
He said Mr Mwiimbu has not only made great contributions towards the growth of the UPND but has also been active in championing the interests of the opposition political party and the people of Zambia in Parliament.
He also said Mr Mwiimbu has been actively providing checks and balances to Government.
And Mr Moonga Mweemba said Mr Hichilema should heed their call to appoint Mr Mwiimbu as vice-president because he has been with the party in â€œgood and bad timesâ€ rather than picking between Mr Mwamba and Dr Banda.
But UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma disowned the members and described them as Patriotic Front (PF) members who just want to cause confusion in his party by creating a picture that UPND is a tribal party.
â€œThose are schemes being created by PF to cause confusion in the UPND. It is part of their schemes to continue labelling UPND as a tribal party. Jack [Mr Mwiimbu] has no intention of being vice-president and he has never had those intentions.
â€œWe are definitely going to have a running mate but it is not Jack Mwiimbu. There are no newcomers in UPND. Everybody enjoys the same privileges,â€ Mr Kakoma said.
But PF chairperson for the information committee Father Frank Bwalya said the ruling party has no time to wasteÂ to sponsor people to cause confusion in the UPND, TEDDY KUYELA reports.
Fr Bwalya said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the PF is not interested to see who is going to be appointed as Mr Hichilemaâ€™s running mate.
â€œWe have no interest to know what is happening in the UPND because this is a party which has been known by Zambians for losing elections. We donâ€™t have anything to learn from UPND and if UPND had won an election maybe, we could have gotten interest to learn from their members,â€ he said.
President Lungu recently signed the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill into law with has clauses such as the running mate, 50 percent-plus-one threshold for a winning presidential candidate and dual citizenship.
HONE SIAME, Kitwe