UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema is facing a revolt from senior members and the general membership after appointing Patriotic Front (PF) Member of Parliament Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba as his vice-president for administration.
But UPND deputy spokesperson Edwin Lifwekelo has dispelled the assertions branding them as figment of the imagination of some members of the ruling party who felt they had lost an influential member.
However a senior UPND member complained that it was wrong for the party to appoint a PF member as a vice president, “It is a mockery of everything that the party stands for and for the effort that many members have made over many years to support this party for a PF member to be made vice president”.
He revealed that the point of order raised by UPND Mazabuka Member of Parliament (MP) Garry Nkombo in Parliament after Mr Mwamba and Muchinga Province Minister Mwimba Malama were involved in an altercation at Parliament building for which Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini reserved his ruling, was the start of the revolt as it would review that Mr Mwamba was unsuitable for the position because of his negative polarising influence.
“We know the idea is to capture the Bemba vote but this is unlikely to happen,” he said.
A number of senior members who were against the appointment feel that a lot of founding members of the party could have filled the vacancy left by Mr Richard Kapita who has since joined the PF.
But Mr Lifwekelo said Mr Hichilema and the UPND management committee had done wide consultations and that the opposition political party started courting Mr Mwamba about eight months ago, soon after the death of President Michael Sata.
Mr Lifwekelo said all the members of the UPND management committee unanimously voted for Mr Mwamba as the vice-president because it was agreed that the party needed the calibre of the Kasama MP to aggressively sell the opposition political party.
He said it was not true that any member of the UPND was against the appointment of Mr Mwamba adding that the only people who could have generated the rumour could have been members of the ruling party.
“There is no revolt against Mr Hichilema because there were wide consultations both from the general membership and the management committee of the UPND before Mr Mwamba was appointed vice-president. It is not true that the UPND leader has imposed Mr Mwamba on the party because consultations started about eight months ago and they were extensive.
Mr Mwamba was in fact weighted against Lunte MMD member of Parliament Felix Mutati and it was discovered that he (Mutati) had similar corporate backgrounds with Mr Hichilema and it was therefore resolved that Mr Mwamba was the most appropriate for the position,” Mr Lifwekelo said.