UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema will continue standing for elections if he so wishes and for as long as he remains party president because the party’s constitution does not limit the number of times one can contest the Presidency, UPND chairman for legal and constitutional affairs Jack Mwiimbu has said.
And Mr Hichilema has said his party’s vision of a better Zambia has been deferred to 2016.
Mr Mwiimbu said yesterday that Mr Hichilema was qualified to stand for the party presidency and would contest the next presidential elections.
“Let it be known that article 79 of the United Party for National Development constitution is unambiguous and explicit over the term of office of president,” he said.
The article reads; “The party president shall be eligible for election for an indefinite period subject to this (UPND) constitution provided that a party president who is elected republican president shall only serve two terms that shall run concurrently with the term of office as republican president.”
Mr Mwiimbu was responding to statements by individuals and media houses, claiming that Mr Hichilema barred from standing having lost national presidential elections four times.
Mr Hichilema has so far lost four Presidential elections, 2006, 2008, 2011 and last month’s January 20 election.
And Mr Hichilema has said that UPND is greatly indebted to the messages of goodwill and encouragement which it has kept on receiving from its supporters on the party’s commitment for a peaceful, united and better Zambia.
“I want to assure all our supporters that the dream for a better Zambia has just been deferred to 2016 and we must keep the hope alive for the sake of the majority Zambians,” he said.
Mr Hichilema said UPND was cognizant that there were no PF, MMD, UPND or any sectarian shops, schools, hospitals and other basic life necessities, adding that there were only facilities for all Zambians regardless of where they came from.
“We truly believe that the cost of living for the majority of Zambians is way beyond people’s earnings, even worse for majority council workers that have not been paid for many months now, civil servants that have to grapple with the wage freeze, youths that are jobless partly due to the rise in the retirement age, and our farmers that have not been paid and failed to plant for this season,” he said.
Mr Hichilema said UPND would remain committed to those miners the party promised small-scale mining licences instead of being labeled thieves in their own country.
He said mealie meal prices, fuel prices, the cost of electricity and other essential commodities were beyond the reach of most Zambians, adding that UPND was committed to addressing such artificial challenges that had been caused by poor leadership.
Mr Hichilema said it was unacceptable that the majority of Zambians should continue wallowing in abject poverty in a country which was endowed with huge natural resources.