UNITED National Independence Party (UNIP) president Tilyenji Kaunda says he is shocked that some members of Zambia’s first ruling party were petitioning the party to have him removed on allegations of failed leadership.
And UNIP in Eastern Province has appealed to its national leadership to immediately institute disciplinary action against its acting national secretary for women affairs, Beatrice Kayuni, for what they termed gross indiscipline.
Mr Kaunda said he was surprised by the petition from Ms Kayuni demanding his resignation as UNIP president because all party organs and the entire leadership had never faulted his style of governing the party.
He told the Daily Nation yesterday that his doors had always been open to the general membership of the party and that Ms Kayuni should not have done what she did because there were laid down procedures of airing grievances in UNIP.
Mr Kaunda said following the misconduct of Ms Kayuni, the former ruling party was waiting for instructions from its organs on what disciplinary action to take against the acting national secretary for women affairs.
He said Ms Kayuni had always been a ‘‘good comrade’’ in the party and that her conduct had completely taken him (Kaunda) aback, adding that whatever was happening did not make sense because the party was calm and preparing for the 2016 general elections.
“My leadership in UNIP has not failed and I was shocked that Ms Kayuni who has been a good comrade could have done what she did. She did not follow procedure UNIP is the most disciplined political party. So I was surprised at what happened because my doors have always been open. This should not have happened,” Mr Kaunda said.
And the party in Eastern Province has demanded that immediate disciplinary action should be taken against Ms Kayuni because her conduct was inimical to the welfare of the party.
Eastern Province UNIP chairman Donald Sakala said in a statement that the party in the region was disappointed with the conduct of Ms Kayuni who should have consulted other party officials before rushing to the media to malign Mr Kaunda.
Mr Sakala said the party in the region condemned the outburst and behaviour of Ms Kayuni and her sympathisers for going to media houses and demanding the resignation of Mr Kaunda and his vice-president Njekwa Anamela so as to pave way for the party congress.
He said Ms Kayuni was a senior party leader of UNIP who should know the party’s constitution regarding the reporting and handling of complaints from members.
“Therefore, UNIP in Eastern Province would like to inform the nation that we are totally behind the leadership of Comrade Tilyenji Kaunda and his vice Njekwa Anamela. We would like to appeal to the national leadership to take stern disciplinary action against Ms Kayuni and the perpetrators of calls to have comrades Kaunda and Anamela removed because they have brought the name of the party into disrepute,” Mr Sakala said.
He said the UNIP national leadership had given its lower organs a working programme of strengthening its structures at all levels of the party which would culminate into party elections before the national congress.
“What is happening is the work of comradres who are scared to face the electorate at the forth-coming national congress. The party in Eastern Province will not entertain any indisciplined members who do not want to follow party procedures and constitution,” Mr Sakala said.