THE prospects of the UPND-PF pact to form government have become bleak amid growing frustration from UPND MPs who are upset with the failure by their leader Hakainde Hichilema to heed their advice on breaking away from the alliance.
According to sources, the development has left HH isolated because he can neither draw comfort from the goings-on in the pact, nor seek solace from his party where he is finding it difficult to deal with the dissatisfied MPs.
The sources told the Daily Mail that the problems in the pact have left Mr Hichilema feeling like he has reached a dead end.
“The tension and anger among UPND MPs over the pact has been building up, especially since the announcement by PF of its shadow cabinet which effectively rendered the alliance a non-starter,” the sources said.
The sources said PF president Michael Sata’s recent announcement that his party will field candidates in all 150 constituencies and naming a shadow cabinet which excludes UPND members has further angered the UPND MPs who feel their party is being used in the alliance to cement PF’s popularity.
The sources said the MPs feel their doubts on the viability of the pact may cost them adoption because they fear that Mr Hichilema may take their position as insubordination and have them replaced.
But Mr Hichilema said in an interview that his relationship with his MPs is sound, saying no one in the party is unsettled over problems besetting the alliance.
He said UPND will not be “greedy” like its pact partners but will instead be patient and try to resolve all outstanding issues.
Meanwhile, Chief Chikanta of Kalomo district in Southern Province says the PF-UPND pact has a slim chance of offering meaningful opposition to the MMD in this year’s general elections because of the leadership confusion that has engulfed it from inception.
Chief Chikanta said the confusion in the pact has given President Banda a lead in the race to the republican presidency, which he said Mr Banda will win with ease.
“From the way things are going in the pact, President Banda is already ahead in terms of winning this year’s presidential elections. If the confusion does not stop, President Banda is already the winner,” he said.
Chief Chikanta was reacting to Mr Hichilema’s remarks that his party is free to campaign for him to stand for the presidential election this year.
He said Mr Hichilema and Mr Sata are not showing signs of good leadership by being unpredictable to each other and to the Zambian people, whose favour they are trying to win.
Chief Chikanta said the pact may not survive the leadership crisis that has characterised it right from its inception.
“What is obvious is that the pact may not work. Each of its leaders is campaigning for the presidency. Their manifestos are not even similar,” he said.
He urged Zambians to seriously scrutinise political leaders vying for positions in this year’s general elections to ensure that they vote for the right ones.
And UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma says now that it has become apparent that the PF is not willing to respond to the letter requesting it to attend a joint national council meeting, UPND will consult its members on the way forward.
Mr Kakoma said in an interview on February 13 that UPND has still not received a response from PF since the letter was sent many weeks ago.
He said the letter was first written to PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba by UPND secretary-general Winstone Chibwe and when there was no response, Mr Hichilema wrote to Mr Sata, who has also not responded.
Two weeks ago, Mr Sata told the Daily Mail in an interview that his party would respond in its own time.
“We have not yet received a response from PF and time is running out. At least we have done our part. This is an election year and we have started our campaigns as a party and the campaigns will continue,” he said.
On the Mporokoso by-election, Mr Kakoma declined to state whether UPND would support PF candidate Maynard Misapa.
He said, however, that the two parties did not meet as a pact to decide who should field a candidate and that PF decided to adopt Mr Misapa without consulting UPND.