POSTZAMBIA — UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema has pledged to protect former president Rupiah Banda from having his immunity lifted.
And PF secretary Wynter Kabimba has described Hichilema as a greedy leader who specialises in taking over political parties of deceased leaders.
Highly-placed sources in both parties have confirmed that the two leaders have since agreed to support each other and were also working on an electoral pact for the coming parliamentary elections slated for November 24 where UPND will be supported by the MMD when they field a candidate in Chongwe while the former ruling party would field theirs in Nakonde.
The sources disclosed that the move which is being managed by the two leaders with the exclusion of many senior party members has caused some splits in the MMD and UPND.
“This whole cooperation started prior to elections because we had agreed with HH that he would assume the republican vice-presidency had the MMD won. It’s basically because of the numbers in Parliament that RB had offered him the position. You will also recall that you The Post even carried stories that we were helping UPND in terms of logistics during the campaigns,” the senior party source disclosed.
“But HH is bitter that the MMD lost to his number one enemy Mr Michael Sata and has now vowed to frustrate whatever the man is doing.”
The source, however, said there had been misgivings about Hichilema’s stance as some policy measures that President Sata had taken in the few days he has been in office had actually cheered even some of his party members and those in the MMD.
“To achieve this (frustrating President Sata’s administration), the man is now getting himself closer to RB who seems to be in a weak position and making offers to him on how they can help him stop any possible probes or prosecution but this is coming at the expense of the MMD as a party. There are senior leaders within our party that want to take over leadership and totally reorganise so that we have a chance in the next elections. But with this approach, RB is definitely in the way of the progressive members.”
He said Hichilema’s strategy was to win favour so that through the UPND-MMD pact he can be the favoured candidate for the two parties in the 2016 elections.
“He (HH) does realise that his support base is mainly Southern Province so he is taking advantage of RB so that the MMD can help give him national appeal,” the senior source disclosed.
And commenting on the pact between UPND leader Hichilema and former Republican president Rupiah Banda, Kabimba, who is ruling PF spokesperson and secretary general, said the tactics Hichilema was using to get into a pact with the MMD for the sole purpose of taking over the former ruling party’s presidency were the same tactics he used when his party approached the PF for a pact in 2009.
Kabimba said Hichilema’s objective then was not to serve the people of Zambia, but to use the PF to ascend to the presidency of the country.
Kabimba said Hichilema’s argument was that he was the deciding factor since PF could only win an election in partnership with UPND, and therefore he should have been made the pact’s presidential candidate.
He said those who were experienced enough in the PF quickly saw through Hichilema’s scheme and exposed it immediately.
“He is using the same argument with the MMD now, because I don’t understand how politically it can make sense that a person who has 28 seats in Parliament can lead a political party that has 55 members (the MMD). But what is really good is that we proved him wrong that PF was able to win this election without UPND,” Kabimba said.
“And my appeal to the MMD is that MMD is not about Rupiah Banda. Rupiah Banda is a total stranger to the MMD. He has no interest of the MMD at heart. He was not there when MMD was being formed. Rupiah Banda took over the leadership of MMD by chance after the demise of late president Levy Mwanawasa.”
Kabimba said genuine MMD members should rise up and defend the interests of their party, adding that they were better off working with the PF which had a national agenda, rather than the narrow sectional interests of massaging one’s ego.
“The interests of the MMD cannot be protected or defended through a pact with a greedy leader like HH from the UPND…I don’t know what he wants the presidency for, that is the only thing that he is looking for in this country. He can’t be minister. He can’t be a member of parliament,” Kabimba said.
“He can only accept an arrangement where he is going to be president, and therefore for me who knows experienced politicians in MMD, and there are many of them there, they should not allow Rupiah Banda to hand over the MMD to UPND or to Hichilema as an individual.”
Kabimba said plans by Hichilema to enter into a pact with Banda in order to block a possible motion on the lifting of Banda’s immunity so that he could face prosecution would not work because there were many members of parliament who wanted to see the PF fight corruption.
He said he had no doubt that the people’s representatives in Parliament wanted to ensure that those who deprived Zambians of their resources were dealt with accordingly.
Kabimba said there were many other routes to remedy the offences Banda was alleged to have committed, such as the issue to do with parentage, saying it was only that PF did not want to appear to be interfering with the due process of the law as recently pronounced by President Michael Sata.
He said the parentage issue had nothing to do with Banda’s presidency.
“If you said the man did not qualify to be head of state and therefore that even his nomination in 2008 was invalid then it means that everything else that he did, or purportedly did as head of state is null and void and he could be prosecuted for that,” Kabimba said.
“Mr Hichilema will be very shocked that we are more intelligent than he thinks we are. We are not looking at the narrow interests. We are looking at the interests of the people of Zambia. What Mr HH wants to do is to frustrate the interests of the people for him to become president. There is no way the people of Zambia will allow him to become one.”
Kabimba questioned Hichilema’s style of politics.
“If all that you want is to inherit political parties of dead people, all that you want is inherit a political party whose leadership has been weakened through defeat, in the manner that MMD has found itself to be, then certainly you cannot be said to be serving the public interests,” said Kabimba.
“We defeated MMD ourselves against his schemes and here we are. We won this election to his disappointment