Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata has said United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema has been leading a small and tribal party, which would tumble in this year’s presidential elections because he emerged from the blues to assume his position.
Mr Sata said within the time he had been in the pact with the UPND, he had managed to find out that the UPND was actually only popular in Southern Province, which he said was proof that its leader was tribal and lacked a track record of how he ascended to the helm of the opposition party
Ironically, Mr Sata said he had built PF from the scratch after rising through the ranks to become Lusaka District governor in the UNIP era, Kabwata member of Parliament (MP) and Cabinet minister before he formed his party, which he had built while Mr Hichilema just emerged from nowhere to pronounce himself president of the UPND after scheming his way out.
Mr Sata was angered by Mr Hichilema’s performance on a QFM live phone-in programme last week where he said PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba was responsible for the death of the pact and that Mr Sata was hungry for power, hence their declaration that the PF leader was the pact’s presidential candidate.
“If UPND are not power-hungry, let them leave politics and do something else. Where in this country are they popular apart from Southern Province? UPND is a small tribal party but since they have declared that they will contest on their own, I wish them good luck,” Mr Sata said.
He said Mr Hichilema had a dubious character that he used to ascend to positions of authority and this was what the PF never wanted to happen in the pact.
“I have a track record myself because I have built this party but Mr Hichilema just came from nowhere because he uses dubious means to get his way up. Ulembe bwino efyo ndekweba. Ubebe (Write what I am telling you well, tell them)
“Mr Hichilema is a hijacker, dubious and an opportunist,” Mr Sata, who is in Mporokoso for campaigns for this Thursday’s parliamentary by-election said.
He said PF could not lean on UPND because it was very popular while UPND was relying on telling the people of Zambia lies to gain popularity.
Mr Sata said he was disappointed that the two opposition parties were now attacking one another in the media instead of working together because of the behaviour of UPND and its leader.
Mr Sata said UPND should be above board instead of provoking other political players and added that the PF was aware that UPND was already working with the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD).
Meanwhile, Mr Kabimba has accused Mr Hichilema of employing tricks against Mr Sata in the loose alliance to win adoption for candidacy in the 2011 presidential elections.
Mr Kabimba said his party would not allow Mr Hichilema to use the 1996 formula that was used at the time to make him the automatic choice to be head of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
Featuring on a live MOBI television programme Open Forum which also had UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma, Mr Kabimba said Mr Hichilema lost the 2006 elections terribly to the MMD and PF because of using such tricks.
Mr Kabimba accused UPND of hiding under the cover of putting together the social economic programme before electing the pact leader because it wanted Mr Hichilema to employ a formular that would make him the preferred candidate so that Mr Sata was knocked out.
He argued that the social and economic programme being agitated by UPND could not be mooted without a leader and UDA only announced Mr Hichilema as its candidate and the issue of the social and economic programme never arose.
Mr Kabimba said the pact leaders must be bold and announce the failure of the pact because of the deep divisions that had engulfed the pact lately.
He said the PF did not go into the alliance formed on June 4, 2009 after realising that it would falter in the 2011 elections but because of the need to form a majority Government.
He said there was need to bring on board all the stakeholders, including those aligned to UPND, but the party had the capacity to win the elections as a single entity.
But Mr Kakoma differed with Mr Kabimba, saying the reason for the formation of the pact was that the opposition was too weak to beat the MMD.
“This explains why we are having problems. Now I am being told that the reason why we had came together was to form a majority Government. For us we did not think that the most important thing was leadership.
“What we thought was that we were forming the pact because people wanted us to address poverty by putting up a social and economic programme,” Mr Kakoma said.
Mr Kakoma said the UPND was not prepared to rush into the sharing of positions but that fundamentals must be addressed. He said UPND was not tribal but national.
But Mr Kabimba maintained that the central cause of the divisions in the pact was the absence of a leader and not the lack of social and economic programmes.