THE invasion of the UPND by disgruntled former Patriotic Front (PF) leaders has unsettled some senior and founder members of the opposition political party who are now planning to revolt, it has been revealed.
“These defectors have now become spokesmen and voice of the party giving it a wrong image because they do not understand the foundation of the party. They are giving the wrong impression that this party has the sole purpose of fixing enemies and settling scores. This is not the UPND’s original vision which they are now mispresenting,” a senior official said.
Guy Scott, the former Vice President, Miles Sampa, Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, Obvious Mwaliteta, Major Richard
Kachingwe and Patrick Mucheleka, among others, have migrated to the UPND and are
said to have been fused into the inner circle of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, displacing the original members of the party.
But UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said the defection of former senior PF leaders to the UPND did not mean that the opposition political party had been hijacked but was growing in its popularity.
Senior UPND officials have, however, told the Daily Nation that the UPND was fast losing its original complexion with the coming of Dr Scott and others and that the messages of building the party had changed and personalised to Mr Hichilema.
The senior UPND officials, who did not want to be named, complained that Dr Scott and his new team had already taken over some sensitive roles which were being undertaken by the original members of the party.
They accused Dr Scott of having delivered the loathed ‘A’ team which he had created in the PF to the UPND and that disunity had emerged in the party.
But Mr Kakoma said there was nothing wrong with Dr Scott being assigned to undertake critical and sensitive assignments because as former Vice President who acted as President following the death of President Michael Sata, he (Dr Scott) had certain skills the UPND and Mr Hichilema would be willing to use in the campaigns.
A founder member has told the Daily Nation: “A revolt is simmering in the UPND because senior and founder members of our party have totally been sidelined. Our president Mr Hichilema is now surrounded by totally new people who are strangers and they are the people who are now running sensitive party errands.
‘‘Many senior and founder members of the UPND are not happy because they strongly believe the party has been hijacked by people who called us Bantustan. We have not forgotten that just few years ago, Dr Scott was calling the UPND a bantustan organisation but he is the one being assigned to carry out sensitive projects.’’
But Mr Kakoma said the UPND had remained the most united political party in Zambia and that was why many Zambians were joining it.
Mr Kakoma said none of the original members of the UPND had lost their positions and claims that senior members had been hijacked were imaginary and there were no cracks in the party.
“Mr Hichilema is very close to both old and new members. He is not going to discriminate new members against the old because in the UPND, we are all equal.
Mr Hichilema is ready to tap into the skills of those who are joining us and if we think that Dr Scott possesses skills we can use, we assign him to carry out certain special assignments. But that does not mean that he is taking over people’s positions,” Mr Kakoma said.
He said the UPND was not going to discourage new members from performing certain party functions because the opposition party needed every vote if it had to win the general elections in the first count of the vote.