CONFUSION and infighting has broken out in the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) ahead of the August polls after key party loyalists have been left out in the latest leak of names to be adopted as parliamentary candidates.
And Party Secretary General Stephen Katuka admitted that some members have been rejected at Ward, Constituency, District and Provincial levels but would have to wait for the National Management Committee (NMC), National Executive Committee (NEC) and an Intelligence report before knowing their final fate.
In Southern Province, the party’s stronghold only Mr Gary Nkombo and Mr Jacob Mwiimbu are set to return to Parliament.
Former Choma Central Member of Parliament Cornelius Mweetwa and his former Bweengwa counterparty Highvie Hamududu are among the top casualties as they have fallen out with leader Hakainde Hichilema.
Even popular songbird Saboi Imboela has been left out in Kafue in preference for an academician Dr Choolwe Beyani.
But Mr Katuka said those members who had been rejected at Ward, Constituency, District and Provincial should wait for the final scrutiny from the National Management Committee (NMC), National Executive Committee (NEC) and the Intelligence Report. Mr Katuka said some UPND Members of Parliament had been in office for over fifteen years and that their seats were not personal to order but would have to pave way for others.
Mr Katuka, however, said that the fact that some had been UPND Members of Parliament for over fifteen years did not mean they could not be readopted. It depended on their performance and loyalty to the party.
“But that is total rubbish to say some people have been left out because the process has not been concluded yet. Yes, they may have been rejected at lower stages but there is a procedure which we have to follow when it comes to the adoption process,” Mr Katuka said. He said the first process for adoption was the ward level which interviews the candidates and makes their recommendations to the constituency who also scrutinises the candidates.
Mr Katuka said after the constituency finishes scrutinising the candidates they make recommendations to the district that also do the same process and make recommendations to the provincial executive committee.
“The province is not part of the district executive committee they only supervise the recommendations from the lower organs,” Mr Katuka said. He said after the provincial evaluation, a report is then submitted to the National Management Committee who also scrutinises all the candidates including those who might have been rejected at various lower organs.
Mr Katuka said after the National Management Committee, the National Executive Committee is the final body which makes final recommendations of who should be adopted or not.
“I am the one who calls for the National Executive Committee to scrutinise the recommendations submitted by the National Management Committee. And there is also what we call an Intelligence Report where we send independent people who are unknown to everyone. They also scrutinize the candidates independently and submit a report to NEC,” Mr Katuka said.
He said those rejected at lower organs were not automatically disqualified but would have to wait for the entire process to be concluded.
“We are now in the dying minutes of the adoption process… within the next few days I shall receive a report from the National Management Committee,” Mr Katuka said.
He said so far he had not received any report from the lower organs but that it was a reality that some members had been rejected at lower organs of the party including the provincial level.
Zambia Daily Nation