UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema will be committing political suicide if he entertains the idea of expelling Katuba Member of Parliament Jonas Shakafuswa from the party because he is a political heavyweight, Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) president Wright Musoma has charged.
But the UPND in Southern Province has said the party had no intention of expelling Mr. Shakafuswa and that if he wanted to leave the party he was free do so as his Freedom of Association was guaranteed.
Mr. Musoma said the turn of events in the UPND was testimony that the party lacked pragmatic leaders who looked beyond political rhetoric and mudslinging by gauging its decisions against possible outcomes.
He charged that it would be unreasonable for UPND to think that Mr Shakafuswa would not be a factor to its election campaign in 2016.
“The problem I have with UPND is that it only has leaders who work on impulse. That is why we have seen them in the past making decisions and later change their minds.
‘‘On this issue of Shakafuswa, let them expel him and see what will happen in 2016 because he is not just a mere individual; he is a political heavyweight who did not win the election in Katuba because he is UPND but because he is liked by the people in his constituency,” Mr. Musoma said.
He warned that underrating the capability of Shakafuswa to entice the people of Katuba to vote for the party of his choice could prove costly to the UPND.
“My warning to Mr. Hichilema is that he should not get carried away by what his members are saying because he will be plotting his own political suicide and digging his own grave if he makes a mistake on Shakafuswa,” he said.
But Southern Province information and publicity deputy chairman Kandindi Phiri said there was no individual UPND member who won an election due to his own popularity but that all of them won due to what the party put in for them during campaigns.
“As a party, we have resolved that we shall never expel any other MP apart from Greyford Monde and Richwell Siamunene.
‘‘We are not creating any by-election until the 2016 elections and so Mr. Shakafuswa will not be expelled but if he wants to leave on his own, he is free to do so. If he wants to resign, let him resign,” Mr. Phiri said.
He warned that MPs who were in the habit of overrating themselves and thinking that they were special than the party were treading on slippery ground as their political careers were ‘‘headed for a complete halt’’.
“We work as a team in UPND and any politician who thinks that he is bigger than the party will not have it easy because our philosophy is to put the interest of the party before our own,” he said.