THERE will be serious in-fighting and a leadership crisis in the UPND if Dr Canisius Banda will not take over the presidency of the opposition party because it is the desire of the general membership that a non-Tonga should now take over, Edwin Lifwekelo has said.
Mr Lifwekelo said time had come for the UPND to test its intra-party democracy by calling for a national convention where a new leadership would be elected to take over from Mr Hichilema whose presidency in the opposition party expires in 2020.
Mr Lifwekelo said the UPND had an opportunity to redeem itself from the Ackson Sejani tribal declaration that only a Tonga should lead the opposition party by ensuring that tribe should not be a qualification of taking up the leadership of the party.
He said in an interview yesterday that while Tonga speaking people should not be disqualified from aspiring to take up the leadership of the UPND, it was important for the leadership to acknowledge that the survival of the party depended on leaders like Dr Banda and Mazabuka MP Garry Nkombo.
Mr Lifwekelo said any member of the UPND in good standing with the party such as Dr Banda and Mr Nkombo had the ability and capacity to take over the leadership of the party but warned that there shall be chaos if Mr Hichilema was going to attempt to hang on to the presidency of the party.
“For a long time, the UPND has been haunted by the infamous tribal declaration by Mr Sejani that only a Tonga should lead the UPND and time has come for the party to redeem itself from that stigma. If Mr Hichilema is going to hang on to the presidency of the UPND, there shall be revolt and that will without doubt disintegrate the party.
‘‘Dr Banda has come out in a modest form that he has the chance to take over from Mr Hichilema and if he is going to be fought and frustrated from inside, that would mark the beginning of the end of the UPND,” Mr Lifwekelo said.
And Mr Lifwekelo has said he was confident that President Lungu who had proved that he was his own man was going to come up with a Cabinet of men and women who were going to help him deliver the PF campaign promises.
Mr Lifwekelo said President Lungu had demonstrated that he would not allow himself to be held hostage by anyone and would ensure that development was taken to every part of the country.
“President Lungu is going to shame the doomsayers with his vision to develop and unite this country. The Head of State has proved that he is his own man and with the five years mandate, he is going to choose men and women who will help him deliver.
‘‘He is going to unite the country and I am happy that he has decided to make Dundumwezi his first point of call soon after his inauguration,” Mr Lifwekelo said.