EASTERN Province UPND chairperson Paul Thole says Dr Canisius Banda did not have any influence in the party saying “he came alone and left alone” and that his insinuations that there is tribalism in the opposition party does not make sense.
During Breeze FM’s political hour programme on Thursday night, Dr Banda, who resigned from the UPND as vice-president for politics, said one day Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba asked him whether he was aware that Tongas in UPND normally hold another meeting after the national management committee meetings to undo whatever they resolve before making other resolutions and further asked him to also be having their own meetings because they were one.
“The UPND, I have said it before and I will say it again, it remains a platform for the projection of the ethnic pride. There is a core to it which remains, the centre of it that remains, which thrives with ethnic pride then there is a periphery that’s where you find Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, Mutale Nalumango Patrick Mucheleka and everybody else. So if that core isn’t destroyed, if it doesn’t take on national outlook, it will remain a vehicle for the delivery of ethnic pride which every Zambian must detest,” said Dr Banda.
But Thole said there was no tribalism in UPND adding that Dr Banda failed to deliver when he was in UPND. He said just like President Edgar Lungu who got his running from Western Province, UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema got his running mate from Northern Province.
“In other words, Dr Banda’s departure was not because of tribalism but he was after greener pastures. The best illustration I can give him its when Abraham asked Lottie to choose to go down the valley of Sodom and Gomorrah, which was green, there was lots and lots of water or go northwards where it was mountainous, rocky and rough, he chose to go to the valley of opportunity, he went to Sodom and Gomorra. Dr Banda’s departure has nothing to do with tribalism as what he is stating,” Thole said.
He said Dr Banda had no political influence.
“Dr Banda never brought any improvement to UPND, nothing. He came alone and he left UPND alone, nobody from Eastern Province paraded himself saying he has gone with Dr Banda, so he should not lie to anybody. If he has seen something good in Sodom and Gomorra, let him enjoy for the time being because God has put a limit to everything so his going to PF is not out of principle; it is the opportunity which has beckoned so he is responding to an opportunity. Ukaika mkaka panja inzi zuwela pamkaka (if you put milk outside, flies with come there) so that’s not strange,” Thole said.
He said Dr Banda should not despise the people that fed him and looked after him. Thole said Hichilema never stopped Dr Banda from going anywhere by but that the former party vice-president failed to deliver. He said the party was aware that Dr Banda was going around the province denouncing the UPND. On Dr Banda’s allegation that the future for UPND was bleak and that Hichilema could not win the 2021 elections, Thole said he respects his opinion because he was giving an opinion from his understanding.
“We don’t know the parameters that Dr Banda has used but we the owners who are still in the party our chances going forward are much brighter than before. Whether or not we cannot win 2021 he knows it in the heart hearts that UPND has been winning the elections only that either we have been swindled or their win we have contested in the courts of law and nothing has been resolved. Other issues are still pending; the right to be heard is still there. He is aware of our status and the status of the last elections,” Thole said.
He said the UPND had good chances of scooping the 2021 elections.
“In terms of going forward 2021, if you the people of Zambia, including him, Dr Banda, and myself, if the cost of living is bearable now than before, if economically we have improved, if our reasoning is being governed by what we are experiencing and seeing, feeling on our bodies and seeing the state of the economy. If economically people are happy,
then we don’t stand a chance but if the opposite is the fact, then we are winning,” said Thole.