DIFFERENT Campaign badges each of them bearing respective portraits of the Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata and United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema as 2011 presidential candidates are being distributed in Ndola.
The badges that are being printed by Shakti Engineering Limited of Ndola upon request from interested respective party members, are also being sold at K10,000 each.
An official at Shakti Engineering said customers brought the badges for printing.
But when contacted the UPND-PF co-spokespersons Charles Kakoma and Given Lubinda expressed ignorance about the badges saying the pact would come up with a single presidential candidate for 2011.
Mr Kakoma said the badges were not official as the pact would come up with a single candidate as soon as it was ready.
He said the material being distributed in Ndola could be the ones that were produced long before the 2008 presidential by-election because the UPND had launched the 2011 campaign for its party president Mr Hichilema as far back as 2008.
Mr Kakoma said the UPND had not yet decided when to hold a convention but that modalities would be worked out to come up with a single candidate when time comes.
He said the working committee was already in place working out such modalities that would be implemented at a later stage.
“Mr Hichilema is a president for UPND and Mr Sata is PF president and the two political parties will hold separate conventions.
What will happen is that after the respective conventions, the higher organ will then sit and come up with a single presidential candidate for 2011.
We are just a pact and cannot hold a joint convention,” said Mr Lubinda.
UPND Copperbelt provincial chairperson Elisha Matambo accused the ruling MMD of allegedly being behind the printing of the badges with the aim of destabilising the pact.
Mr Matambo said the provincial leadership would launch an investigation to establish those behind the distribution of the different material at a time when the pact was planning to come up with a single presidential candidate.
“Investigations will be launched and if we find out that the people behind this are our members, we will not hesitate to mete out discipline although we are aware that it is the MMD which is behind this,” he said.
But MMD acting spokesperson Mike Mulongoti said the distribution of different campaign materials for the pact signified the serious problems the two parties were facing despite pretending that all was well.
“There is confusion in the pact. The two leaders do not trust each other and that is why they decided to come up with different campaign materials despite saying they will come up with a single candidate for 2011.
They are just pretending that all is well and let them not even accuse the MMD of being behind their confusion,” Mr Mulongoti said.
Courtesy of Times of Zambia