…as Hakainde Hichilema’s presidential running mate for August general elections
THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has rubbished rumours circulating on social media that the opposition political party is courting former first lady Christine Kaseba as its presidential running mate to counter President Edgar Lungu’s nomination of Vice-President Inonge Wina as his running mate.
And PF cadre Chanda Mulenga said it was good that there was no truth to the story, because the move would have the ultimate act of betrayal to the spirit of PF founder Michael Sata.
Meanwhile, the UPND has appealed to the Patriotic Front (PF) leadership to order its cadres to stop tearing and pulling down the opposition party’s campaign posters and billboards because the act was a recipe for political violence.
UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said some postings circulating on social media purporting that Dr Kaseba was poised to be Hakainde Hichilema’s running mate were not true as the opposition party had not yet announced its presidential running mate.
Mr Kakoma said as the UPND chief information officer, he did not know anything about Dr Kaseba being courted as presidential running mate for Mr Hichilema.
Mr Kakoma said he did not know the presidential running mate for the UPND and rumours circulating on social media were only meant to cause consternation in the opposition party.
“That Dr Kaseba is set to be announced as presidential running mate to President Hichilema is nothing but social media-mongering. I do not know who the running mate for Mr Hichilema is. As chief information manager, I do not know anything like that,” Mr Kakoma said.
According to a statement posted on social media yesterday, it was alleged that the UPND national management committee had settled for Dr Kaseba to carry late president Michael Sata’s image in the UPND and totally erase the chances of the Patriotic Front (PF) using the late president’s name during campaigns.
And Mr Kakoma said political tension was building up in the country because of the hostile environment the ruling party had allegedly created by failing to stop its cadres from engaging in electoral violence.
Mr Kakoma said the UPND cadres had become victims of assault, harassment and ‘‘pure terror’’ at the hands of the PF cadres while the opposition party’s campaign posters and billboards were being torn or pulled down.
“There is need for the PF to restore order in the country before we go to the general elections. There is tension in the country and the political environment is very hostile for the opposition.” particularly the UPND. There has been a lot of brutality against the UPND; our posters are being torn while our billboards are being destroyed and pulled down”.