UPND vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba says he will not be stupid to rejoin a sinking PF.
And UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says it is tough to be a genuine opposition party in Zambia.
Over the past week, social media sites, with abstract owners, have been reporting that Mwamba was about to rejoin the PF at a whopping US $50 million, as an enticing fee.
Addressing journalists at the party secretariat in Lusaka yesterday, Mwamba said it was true that “I’ve been missing in action.”
He said his inactivity in the opposition party was as a result of his ailing wife.
“Everyone has been asking ‘where is GBM?’ You know, sometimes when you have someone close to you who is not feeling well, you can’t be active. My wife hasn’t been too well…. I always take her to Italian Hospital three times a week for physio. I’ll be taking a few days off; I’ll be out of the country to take her for specialist treatment,” Mwamba explained.
“The main thing that I have to dwell on so much is what is being speculated on social media. There is a lot of speculation [and] most people, in the last seven days have seen on social media that GBM has resigned from the UPND. It can only take a foolish person to think like that. Is that the way you know GBM? Am I a weak soul? Can I be bought for 30 pieces of silver at the expense of many Zambians who are suffering under utu tu PF tukabolala? Come on, be serious, Zambians!”
He charged that the “stupid and foolish” people, both inside and outside the UPND, who were speculating of his departure must “stop it.”
“Otherwise I’m going to stamp my authority as vice-president of this party and I’ll deal with you. Time has come now to deal with those who want to bring confusion in the party. I’m not going to allow that at all! If it used to happen in the past, not anymore!” Mwamba cautioned.
“From today onwards, behave yourselves [or] I’m going to deal with you personally. Why do you want to bring so much confusion in the country? People have stopped sleeping, thinking that it’s true GBM has resigned. Maybe people think GBM is just GBM alone? GBM has followers and those followers are not sleeping; they are saying ‘why have you done this?’ But I have told them come on, take it easy – I haven’t resigned.”
He emphasised that he had no reason to resign from the position of UPND vice-presidency.
GBM added that there was no one who was going to “shake me.”
“I have no reason to resign. Why should I resign? Where am I going? Unless I’m going to form my own political party! But they are saying he is joining PF; tukabolala natuleta insala elo nje mukucita ntwane (damn thieves, they have brought hunger and I go and do…)” Mwamba charged.
“Sooner rather than later, they will be out of power. Look at the misery they have brought among Zambians! Would I be foolish as GBM to go and join a sinking titanic called PF? Let’s be serious, Zambians. I don’t want that nonsense again! People of Zambia, I want to assure you that I’m not going anywhere, I’m still vice-president of UPND. There is no one who is going to shake me and I’m not going to go because I’ve seen how much Zambians are suffering. There is no way I’m going to join PF.”
And Mwamba, an ex-defence minister, laughed off the US $50 million ‘thrown’ by the PF to ensnare him.
“The speculation is that they gave me $50 million…. Come one, guys! Even those who were writing that story are stupid! They don’t know what I’m worth? I’m worth more than $50 million. How can I go and get a paltry $50 million from those guys? In any case, do they have that money?” he wondered.
“The treasury is depleted; baliiba indalama shonse shili ku China (they have stolen all the money and it’s in China). Please, remain united as a party. We are still intact as your leaders; there is nothing that will divide me and Hakainde Hichilema, no matter what you say. Those detractors who think that they are going to break UPND, mwailasha (you’ve fired a blank).”
At the same event, Hichilema said while many political parties have been registered in the country, “many have fallen by the way side.”
“Others are there simply by registration! It is tough to be a genuine opposition party in this country. It takes a lot from the members…. The risks are high! The brutal dictator has taken some of our members – they are dead. Those of us who are still alive have a responsibility to carry the vision of this party, as those who came before us left it – including our late president [Anderson] Mazoka and his many colleagues,” Hichilema said.
“UPND is very organised, it does not make decisions by the winds in the streets. [But] we make decisions on a consultative basis, in a structured way. We have not made any changes to the officer bearers of this party. Be proud of being UPND because you are a member of an organised grouping. When political parties crumble by the day, this institution is growing by the day. I want to demystify the rumours on social media that someone has been dismissed; GBM has not been dismissed. There is nothing to fight about; everything that there is in this party is to toil, to dodge bullets from these tyrants called PF.”
He said the opposition alliance was there to bring unity in the country.
“UPND remains an independent party with its structures, NDC, ADD, NAREP, remain independent parties. I have seen people saying ‘Chishimba Kambwili is replacing GBM as vice-president.’ Where have you found that? Kambwili is important in NDC, Milupi is important in his ADD, Chipimo is important in his NAREP,” said Hichilema.
Several senior party officials attended the press briefing.