UPND President says he wanted somebody who would be a uniting factor and was willing to soil his hands as his running mate and that GBM fits the billing.
And the opposition leader says the manner in which they handled the secret of who would be his running mate shows the level of maturity and readiness to govern the country.
Asked why he settled on GBM as his running mate when featured on a live political program “Zambia Decides” on Muvi TV Mr. Hichilema said that he chose Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba as his running mate because he is willing to go round the country and sleep anywhere and that GBM is a hard worker.
He said that with so much division in the country he felt obliged to pick an individual who would bring the country together.
“…the second reason was to reunite this country together. Zambia today is divided and it is my obligation, it is the obligation of all of us seeking leadership to act in a manner that will bring the country together.
The third reason is that it is important to get somebody who is willing to soil their hands. If you follow our campaigns, I go anywhere and I don’t mind whether I sleep in a tent or classroom, I needed a running mate who is equally committed to moving across this country, crossing the bridges of this country, somebody willing to work night and day to drive a hard bargain in these campaigns and I think GBM is that individual,” he said.
And on the secrecy and if there was any indecision surrounding the running mate, Mr Hichilema said there was never any indecision as the running mate was chosen much earlier and that the confidentiality demonstrated the level of maturity in their party.
“The fact is that the decision was made much earlier but was not announced clearly shows the level of maturity that we are exhibiting even before we even start running the country, not many people have been able to do this, I think it’s a demonstration of maturity,” he said.
He also thanked his other Vice President Dr Canious Banda for graciously accepting the decision adding that there can only be one running mate.
Meanwhile Mr Hichilema said it was not fair for the people who were not adopted to say the party was bad because being the party of choice in the country, the party had its own challenges and among them was the competition for adoption.
He said it was incumbent on those who are not picked to demonstrate unit of purpose and ensure that they rally behind those who have been picked so as to delivery victory not only to the party but for Zambians who are suffering under the directionless leadership of President Lungu.
He also expressed regret that former MPs who have been left out are accusing him of being a bad leader when they have been MPs since the formation of the party.
He said it was unfair on the part of those who have been MPs to note his bad leadership when all was well when it was them being picked.