THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has a presidential candidate in the name of Hakainde Hichilema and will not be going for a national convention this year, Charles Kakoma has said.
Mr Kakoma said calls by MMD national treasurer Elizabeth Chitika that the UPND should hold a convention were not making sense because the presidential candidate for the opposition party still had the mandate to preside over the party.
But Ms. Chitika has insisted that Conventions were a statutory requirement, not dependent on whether or not a party had a Presidential candidate.
The UPND like any other registered organization was required to have regular conventions at which leadership would be renewed, “ The last UPND convention was held in 2006, what has happened to the other conventions the party should have held. Why have they not held a convention as required by their statutes? “She asked.
“The UPND must answer the question and not evade it with vague answers. Why have they not held a convention? “she asked.
Mr Kakoma who is UPND spokesperson said the MMD should concentrate on its internal turbulences which had seriously divided the former ruling party instead of talking about other political parties.
He said in an interview yesterday that the UPND had nothing with the wrangles in the MMD and that the former ruling party should deal with its squabbles without drawing other political parties into their bickering.
Mr Kakoma said it was the MMD that needed to go for a convention because the former ruling party was divided over its presidential candidate.
He said there were two factions in the MMD with the first calling for a convention because it had rejected the candidature of Nevers Mumba who is a leader of the opposition party. Mr Kakoma said the second group was against the convention because they were looking for an alliance with the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) which had requested the MMD to consider forging an alliance with the ruling party.
“We are not going for a convention as the UPND because we already have a presidential candidate in the name of Mr Hakainde Hichilema. We endorsed Mr Hichilema last year and he is the one who is going to run for the presidency in the 11th August general elections. It is the MMD that needs to go for a convention because of the factions that have emerged. We have a group supporting Dr Mumba and we have another group which has rejected him. So tell ms Chitika to sort out her troubles and she must learn to stick to her political party,” Mr Kakoma said.
Mr Kakoma said Lunte MMD member of Parliament (MP) Felix Mutati and other MMD MPs did not declare to support Mr Hichilema in the January 2015 presidential election on their own but were directed by the MMD national executive committee which was headed by Dr Mumba.
He said Mr Mutati was still a member of the MMD and it was apolitical for Ms Chitika to ask him to implore the UPND to call for a convention before the general elections. Mr Kakoma said Mr Mutati refused to support Dr Mumba in the January 2015 presidential election because the MMD had resolved to support the UPND for the presidential election following the death of president Michael Sata.
“The only sin Mr Mutati committed he supported the UPND candidate in the presidential election last year. The MMD resolved last year not to support the PF and when things changed, Mr Mutati and other decided to stick to the resolution of NEC. So let the MMD know that the UPND is not going for a convention because there is a presidential candidate already,” Mr Kakoma said.