The PF says it agrees with UPND Vice President for politics Dr Canisius Banda that his President should express gratitude as opposed to the punishment he has received.
PF Deputy Spokesperson Frank Bwalya said Dr Banda joined the party when it needed high profile politicians to diminish the tribal tag which had become indelible on the party skin.
Mr Bwalya said Dr Banda has worked hard for the Party and has enhanced Mr Hichilema’s image as a presidential material.
“We agree with suspended United Party for National Development vice president for politics Dr Canisius Banda that what he should have expected from the UPND Mr Hakainde Hichilema was gratitude and commendation for his loyalty and sacrifices and not the malicious suspension he has been slapped with.
“The reason we agree with Dr Banda is that he joined UPND at a time when the party desperately needed high profile politicians from regions beyond Southern province to join them as party of the project to diminish the tribal mark that had become indelible on the UPND skin,” he said.
He added “Zambians have not forgotten that Mr Hichilema’s ascendancy to power in UPND having emerged from without after the death of founding leader late Mr Anderson Kambela Mazoka was characterised by scandalous tribalism.
“During the succession process the UPND made it clear that the party wouldn’t accept a non-Tonga to take over as leader of their party. The move to exclude non-Tongas for the top position caused the exodus of many senior members who accused the party of tribalism. Those who left UPND include Mr Sakwiba Sikota SC and Mr Patrick Chisanga, to mention but a few.
“Against this background, we believe that Dr Banda made a great contribution to project the UPND as a non-tribal party. He also added value to the UPND top leadership owing to his wise, sober and thoughtful leadership. We are aware of the many sacrifices that Dr Banda made for the UPND and Mr Hichilema as an individual. He helped to launder Mr Hichilema and did a lot to enhance his profile as presidential material,” he said.
He said Dr Banda is a classic example of how the UPND has been using people to wash off their tribal tag.
“Therefore we believe that the suspension of Dr Banda is a classic example of how UPND has been inviting people to their party and use them as detergents to wash of their tribal tag and thereafter get rid of them. In this case, Dr Banda was used to help Mr Hichilema become appealing mainly to Easterners. This explains why each time Mr Hichilema visited Eastern province as part of his party mobilisation and campaign programme he always went with Dr Banda.
“As such, we think that the suspension and impending dismissal of Dr Canisius Banda from the UPND should serve as a timely warning to the many newcomers to the UPND who were invited for the sole purpose of changing the party’s tribal complexion. These members including the likes of Mr Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM), Mr Mulenga Sata and others will soon realise that they are not wanted in UPND,” he said.
He added “Finally, we wish to advise unsuspecting politicians in our country who may think UPND is attractive to consult those who supported Mr Hichilema in the 2015 presidential election and swiftly distanced themselves from him. These include Dr Katele Kalumba, Mr Lameck Mangani and now finance minister Mr Felix Mutati to mention but a few.”