UPND President Hakainde Hichilema has been challenged to convene a convention at which the party will be allowed to democratically choose its leaders.
And Mr Hichilema has said if voted in Government in the 2016 general elections, his Government will put in place policies that would set the stage for economic recovery and deal with illegal allocation of land.
Making the challenge, Patriotic Front Secretary General Davis Chama said there was need for the UPND to be transparent, open and accountable by holding a proper convention at which leaders would be chosen on the basis of their abilities.
He claimed that the ascension of Mr. Hichilema to the top leadership was mired by influences that did not exhibit democratic tenets.
“Let him now subject himself to an open and fair contest as there are many other contenders including United Party for National Development vice president for administration Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba who can challenge him,” he said.
He said Mr. Hichilema must be courageous enough and arrange for a convention, accusing him of stage managing even the vote he won in 2006.
Meanwhile, Mr Chama said the adoption of President Edgar Lungu as the PF presidential candidate in the 2016 elections was done within the confines of the party constitution and had since advised PF members harbouring presidential ambitions to wait for 2019 when the party would go for to the next general conference to elect a new leader.
Mr. Chama explained that President Lungu’s mandate runs through to 2019 and that those wishing to contest the presidency
thereafter are free to do so.
And speaking at Changanamai grounds in Kitwe, Mr Hichilema said the PF government has failed to run the country and so it was only fair that Zambians gave the UPND a chance in next year’s elections.
He said if voted into government, he would put in place policies that would set the stage for economic recovery and take the country’s economy to greater heights.
“During the Presidential by-election, we begged you to vote for UPND, but you voted for PF and your lives have not changed. The PF has failed to deliver on its campaign promises. So we have come again to beg you to vote for UPND. Give UPND chance.
And speaking at the same rally, UPND Vice-President Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) said his big stomach was an indication that he was not poverty stricken, but that his desire to join hands with UPND was to remove the PF from government which had brought poverty to majority of Zambians.