Sunday, July 27, 2014
HH declines to join pact
By Allan Mulenga and Kombe Mataka
Thu 23 Jan. 2014, 14:01 CAT
UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has refused to be part of opposition political parties that have formed an alliance to unseat the PF.
And Mike Mulongoti says Hichilema's insincerity has been exposed by his refusal to unite with other opposition parties.
Meanwhile, MMD deputy national secretary Chembe Nyangu says the former ruling party had no choice but to team up with other smaller opposition parties for their sustenance.
Five opposition political party leaders yesterday held a closed-door meeting in Lusaka's Kabulonga area where they agreed to form an electoral alliance with a prospect of unseating the PF.
Among the participants were Mulongoti of the People's Party, MMD's Michael Kaingu - who stood in for Nevers Mumba, Narep's Elias Chipimo Jr, Dr Fred Mutesa of ZED and Frank Bwalya of ABZ.
During the caucus, the leaders also agreed to officially make the alliance public tomorrow, although Chipimo expressed misgivings over the efficacy of the alliance.
A check by The Post at People's Party secretariat found the leaders locked up in a meeting which lasted over two hours.
Later after the meeting as leaders were seeing each other off, Kaingu was heard telling Mulongoti that it was naive for Hichilema to shun the meeting.
A while later, Bwalya was also heard complaining that some leaders were preoccupied with going to State House at the expense of serving the interests of Zambians.
"I didn't know that this alliance could come to be like this because we were agreed all of us. I am very disappointed. If this is how we are going to operate, then we will give the PF a chance to go through in 2016," he said.
Bwalya told Mulongoti that he had communicated to the UPND in particular over the meeting.
Bwalya, who received a call from a QFM reporter Nancy Chenga asking for his comment over Chipimo's decision to back out of the deal despite attending the meeting, wondered why the Narep leader U-turned barely 10 minutes after the meeting.
"Is that what he has said with reference to Chipimo's refusal to be part of an alliance? Then ask him. I can't speak for him because I was with him here," Bwalya told the reporter.
Later he told Mulongoti that Chipimo had decided to pull out of the alliance.
"I knew even from the way he was talking in the meeting he wanted to be the president of the alliance. These people are preoccupied with the presidency," he said.
Bwalya further remarked: "These people have been thinking that it is about money. That's why when he called me that he wanted to assist me with legal fees as he had promised, I told him to hold on to it. I have reconsidered that offer because if he cannot be part of the pact, then why should he help me?"
In response Mulongoti said he was equally shocked that things turned out that way, where some opposition political parties shunned the meeting.
In an interview shortly after the meeting, Mulongoti said he was surprised that the two leaders decided not to be part of the alliance.
"It is the principle that we must work together as opposition parties. The finer details about who will lead the alliance will come through a technical committee that we will form. Whether we are two or three, whatever the number, it will proceed," he said.
"Others will join us later. Narep has issued a statement that they are not going to be part of us, but he Chipimo just came from here."
Mulongoti said he was ready to serve under any leader of the alliance.
"In politics it is to do with time and circumstances. If he Hakainde thinks that he can win like PF who went it alone, it will be difficult because that revolted against the MMD. Zambians were just fatigued about the MMD," he said.
Mulongoti wondered why Hichilema was shunning the alliance when he had failed to win presidential elections.
"He has been participating in presidential elections, but has he even won a councillor seat? He has been participating in by-elections parliamentary and coming out number three and four. Is that an indication that he is popular? Ku Mansa, wasn't he even beaten by Nawakwi?" mocked Mulongoti.
When contacted, Hichilema said he had no comment while Chipimo's phone went unanswered.
And Nyangu said it was the wish of the membership that the MMD joins forces with other opposition political parties, regardless of their popularity.
"Our members have been phoning us that they want us to work with other opposition parties. They have told us that the party had become weaker and weaker ever since we lost power," he said.
Nyangu said members had threatened to defect to other political parties if the leadership did not reconsider its position on the formation of an alliance.
"They have informed us that the party will continue losing members if we fail to work together as a team. We are just trying to do what our general membership want," said Nyangu.