Hundreds of UPND supporters in Kaoma district yesterday stormed their party’s constituency office in Mangango in protest against the purported adoption of former defence deputy minister Akakandelwa Mwedoi as the area’s opposition party parliamentary candidate.
The cadres who besieged the Mangango UPND constituency office accused the party’s National Management Committee (NMC) of not respecting the people’s will by adopting a candidate who was one of the tail-enders during the party’s primary elections.
UPND Mangango constituency chairperson Michael Mutobo said that party members in the area are aggrieved because they had made a decision during the primary elections to adopt Godwin Putu as their parliamentary candidate but their verdict has been ignored.
Mr Mutobo said constituency officials in the locality also made recommendations that Mr Putu be adopted as candidate on the UPND ticket and were therefore dismayed that their endorsement has been made to appear irrelevant by the NMC’s decision to adopt Mr Mwendoi.
He said that a UPND loss in Mangango should not be blamed on constituency officials as they had had done their part by recommending a popular candidate to contest the Mangango seat which the opposition party has never held before.
Mr Mutobo urged the UPND hierarchy to reverse their decision to adopt Mr Mwendoi as it will cost the party at both district and national level because the expectant frustration will result in several members switching sides.
He said that UPND structures in Mangango constituency are quickly being dismantled as a consequence of the alleged adoption of Mr Mwendoi, the former Mangango Member of Parliament, whom they said is a less favoured candidate.
Mr Mutobo said that in all fairness, the UPND should have alternatively picked on Naluwa Mwene or Allan Nkumbwa who came second and third respectively if they had negative issues to do with Mr Putu who was evidently the people’s preferred candidate.
And Peter Linka, who is also Headman Shimbali in chief Mutondo’s area, wondered why Mr Mwendoi was adopted as UPND parliamentary candidate in Mangango when he was not a popular candidate in the constituency.
Mr Linka said that people were not happy with the apparent adoption of Mr Mwendoi whom they have accused of being arrogant and unapproachable for him to serve as Mangango Member of Parliament.
But Kaoma UPND district coordinator Kenny Ndumba who addressed the incensed cadres who had gathered at the party’s constituency office called for calm as the purported adoption of Mr Mwendoi was not conclusive.
Mr Ndumba urged the enraged party fanatics to continue to rally behind UPND president Hakainde Hichilema and their preferred candidate.