UPND Copperbelt chairman Elisha Matambo says the opposition party across the country is resolved to field its leader Hakainde Hichilema and his vice, Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, in the 2021 general elections.
Matambo, who spoke on behalf of other nine UPND provincial chairmen, said the ruling PF should “swallow the bitter pill” and live with the fact of facing Hichilema in any presidential election.
He accused the PF rank and file of wishing for Hichilema’s absence on the presidential ballot paper.
“I’m speaking on behalf of all the UPND provincial chairmen because this is a discussion we’ve had with other provincial chairmen. I want to make it very clear to PF that as far as we are concerned, as UPND provincial chairmen in all the 10 provinces of this country and on behalf of the grassroots who are the owners of the UPND, we have automatically endorsed president Hakainde Hichilema as the presidential candidate for any election which will come. If it comes tomorrow, next year or in 2021, president Hakainde Hichilema is the candidate for the UPND and GBM (Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba) is going to be the running mate. So, we want President Edgar Lungu and the entire country to get it clearly because they are so scared of facing president Hakainde Hichilema and his running mate, GBM, in any election,” Matambo said.
“They are so scared to wake up every morning and think through, knowing that he (Hichilema) will be the candidate in 2021 again. They know that they will fail to rig this coming election. They have been manoeuvring to do something so that one day, they can find that Hakainde is not the UPND president. But I can assure them that whatever they will do, he will still remain the president of UPND and the sole presidential candidate of any election between now and 2021. Let those in the PF live with this fact and they should just swallow that bitter pill.”
He further alleged that the PF was trying so hard to reach out to UPND structures in order to try and bring confusion or divide the party.
“[But] they will never succeed. As provincial chairmen, we are determined to ensure that the UPND party structures are not tampered with and we are in total control of our party structures – not even money will manage to create a hole in our structures,” said Matambo.