Deep confusion has erupted in the opposition National Democratic Congress with only a few months to go before the August general elections. The party through its Secretary General Bridget Atanga earlier today announced that it has expelled its Leader Chishimba Kambwili for differing with the Opposition Alliance’s decision to settle for UPND Leader Hakainde Hichilema as its sole Presidential Candidate for the August 2021 general elections.
Mrs. Atanga announced Mr Kambwili’s expulsion at a media briefing in Lusaka today adding that the party will go ahead and work with the UPND Alliance.
Mrs Atanga who was flanked by Lusaka Province Party Secretary Joseph Kasonde and Roan Member of Parliament Joseph Chishala among others said Party Vice President Joseph Akafumba will act as Party President.
She stated that Mr Kambwili has not been acting straight over the issue of Mr Hichilema as the Alliance’s presidential candidate.
“When Mr Kambwili returned from the UK, I went to visit him and he openly told me that he cannot work with Mr Hichilema as President and that it would be better he went back to the PF,” Mrs Atanga said
The opposition Alliance yesterday resolved to rally behind Mr Hichilema as the sole presidential candidate ahead of the August elections, a decision Mr Kambwili has disagreed with.
But Mr Kambwili has rubbished his expulsion from the NDC as null and void describing it as a joke.
Speaking at a media briefing later today m. Mr Kambwili said the five Central Committee Members led by Vice President Joseph Akafumba did not follow the party Constitution in expelling him and has warned that they risk being expelled.
Mr Kambwili said the NDC Central Committee will on Saturday meet to discuss matters surrounding the UPND Alliance and agree on the way forward.
“You cannot have small ants fighting a Lion. This is a joke!”
He said the NDC Constitution stipulates how a President can be expelled adding that the reasons advanced by the party do not make sense.
“Firstly, only a full NEC can meet to expel a President and atleast 80 percent of those present should agree with that motion and before that, the President is charged and written to and he has to be heard before any decisions is taken and clearly these people didn’t follow that procedure,” Mr Kambwili said.
Mr Kambwili has clarified that he is still Party President and has not been expelled.
Mr. Kambwili has also advised Zambians to treat the statement by NDC Vice President Joseph Akafumba as baseless.
He said the decision taken by the five members that announced his expulsion does not represent the views of the NDC.
Mr. Kambwili has advised Mr. Akafumba and his team to carry out a risk assessment before starting a war.
Mr. Kambwili has also advised those willing to leave the party and join the UPND to do so in peace and not cause any confusion.
He said the decision to call an Alliance as the UPND Alliance is an insult to the NDC which should not be tolerated.
Meanwhile, NDC youths led by its Youth National Chairman Charles Kabwita have backed Mr Kambwili.
“As NDC youths, we’ve always put national interests above self and patronage. In continued efforts to see a better Zambia today and tomorrow, we retain our commitment to respect opinions made by leadership within and outside NDC. It is diversity in opinions that presents an opportunity to us and everyone to understand someone’s mind, plans, intentions and abilities. It is now clear that some of our leaders in NDC, led by our vice president, Mr. Akafumba, have always had intentions to work with UPND at all costs,” Mr Kabwita said.
“We have always been committed to the alliance as NDC youths too. However, we differ on certain grounds from Veep and his team. We can work with UPND and any other political party with mutual understanding and benefits. Above all, the nation that we wish to serve.”
“It’s extremely unfortunate that our colleagues in the UPND want us, NDC, to contest elections under the UPND umbrella. Foregoing the NDC flag. On contrary, an alliance must be all-inclusive. When NDC fields a candidate at any level, UPND must not but rather support that candidate.”
He added, “In the same event, when UPND fields a candidate, NDC must not challenge that but support that candidate. Just like we did in Roan Constituency.”
As NDC youths, we remain committed to NDC and the party president Dr Kambwili. We respect the opinions of the Veep and his team but we do not agree with them at all costs. It is a very unfortunate eventuality.”
“The same wrangles that the alliance has led NAREP into with same conditions, are the same they wish to see us go into. When Mr. Nyirenda refused to be bullied by HH, his vice, Mr Maboshe rose to expelling Mr Nyirenda and claimed to cling on to the Alliance. It’s the same systematic route being used on us.”
Mr Kabwita said Dr Kambwili has refused to be bullied in accepting one sided conditions while Mr Akafumba has gathered some members to do just like what his NAREP counterpart did.
“It clearly appears someone is sponsoring and championing this agenda of a one man lead alliance. As NDC youths, we remain steadfast and committed to Dr Kambwili and wish to distance ourselves from the Veep and his team.”
He charged that Dr Kambwili remains the party president and iconic flag bearer.
“As NDC youth National chairman, I call on all youths to remain calm, not issue any statement, bad or good as we wait for guidance from our president and NGC leadership.”