HONE SIAME, Kitwe
PRESSURE is mounting on United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema to appoint Monze Central member of Parliament (MP) Jack Mwiimbu as vice-president and adopt him as a running mate in the August 11 general elections.
Divisions have emerged in the UPND in which some members on the Copperbelt have rejected vice-president for politics Canisius Banda and his administration counterpart Geoffrey Mwamba.
Donald Munasha said in an interview in Kitwe on Saturday that Mr Mwiimbu is the right man to be adopted as Mr Hichilemaâ€™s running mate.
He said Mr Mwiimbu is a hard worker who has diligently served and immensely contributed to the opposition political party since its inception.
â€œWe are very serious with our calls on our president [Mr Hichilema] to appoint Honourable Jack Mwiimbu as vice-president. We want him to be his running mate in this yearâ€™s elections. Mr Mwiimbu is such a hard worker whose works in the party are well-documented,â€ Mr Munasha said.
He threatened to resign from the opposition party if Mr Mwiimbu is not adopted as Mr Hichilemaâ€™s running mate.
He said Mr Mwiimbu should not be overlooked on account of tribe but the party leadership should use hard work and loyalty as a yardstick for selecting a running mate.
He said Mr Mwamba and Dr Banda are newcomers who still have a lot to prove to the general party membership that they are equal to the task.
Another UPND member Eugene Malungo said Mr Mwiimbuâ€™s good track record in the party has won membersâ€™ hearts.
He said they have a democratic right to float his name and that they will not be silenced in advocating the adoption of Mr Mwiimbu as running mate.
Another member John Chipili said they are not in support of Mr Mwamba and Dr Banda.
But UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma last week disowned party members pushing for the appointment of Mr Mwiimbu as vice-president and adoption as Mr Hichilemaâ€™s running mate, saying they are Patriotic Front (PF) members who just want to cause confusion in his party by creating a picture that UPND is a tribal party.
But PF deputy spokesperson Frank Bwalya said the ruling party has no time to waste to sponsor people to cause confusion in the UPND.
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 desired clauses such as the running mate and 50-percent-plus-one threshold for a winning presidential candidate.
HONE SIAME, Kitwe