By Bennie Mundando
THE United Party for National Development (UPND’s) so-called national congress is a circus because it is just an academic exercise to prolong Hakainde Hichilema’s stay as party president, Kabwe Central Member of Parliament (MP) Tutwa Ngulube has said.
Speaking to The Scoop yesterday, Mr. Ngulube said people should not be hoodwinked into believing that the UPND under Mr. Hichilema was a democratic party because its leaders had never been given any mandate by its membership for over 15 years.
He said the UPND was only going for the ceremonial national congress because the Constitution of Zambia now made it mandatory for political pastries to do so every after five years adding that it was a mockery to party members for the UPND to say anyone was free to challenge Mr. Hichilema while on the other hand having already declared him as a sole candidate for the 2021 elections.
“It is a circus. They are trying to fool themselves because us, from outside, can tell that Mr. Hichilema can never allow people to challenge him. He is also scared of competition and as such, he cannot allow anybody to challenge him. It (the national congress) is s sham and a circus because they have already declared him as a sole candidate.
“Asking people to bring in nominations and challenge HH is just a gimmick they are trying to put up to show that they are democratic. When Anderson Mazoka died, they told us that no other tribe can ascend to the UPND presidency. That is how they started chasing people from other tribes on account of fearing to lose the presidency. Just in case they think we have forgotten, we would like to inform them that we have not forgotten. They should not lie to us. They are lying to themselves,” Mr. Ngulube said.
He said if Mr. Hichilema was truly a democrat, he would have been allowing his members to challenge him through the convention every after five years but that the fact that he had never done so since he was ushered into office in 2006 simply means that he had never believed in the democratic principles he was preaching about.
He said while the UPND on face value seemed okay with any member challenging Mr. Hichilema to the presidency, none of the senior members will ever dare to do so because they were scared that they would be expelled from the party.
“If anybody tries to challenge him, that person will be expelled immediately. That business of saying they are going to the national congress because they are a democratic party is just because it is now a constitutional requirement.
“They have stayed for more than 15 years. If HH was a democrat, he would have been asking his party every after five years to go for the convention so that they can challenge him. You cannot run the party for all these years without getting a fresh mandate from the people but still claim that you are a democrat,” he said.