Convention costs Canisius


By Nation Reporter

His demand for a convention and strong opposition against a revolution has earned Canisius Banda suspension from his party.

Last week Dr Banda told the Daily Nation that it was wrong for the party not to hold a convention as suggested by the party’s vice president for administration Mr. Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba.

He also said it was not right for Mr. Mwamba to call for a revolution to protest  his party’s failed election petition in the Constitutional Court.

But in pushing for the convention, Dr. Banda yesterday said any member of UPND was at liberty and must be allowed by its organs to stand and contest any positions in the 2021 general elections.

He told the Daily Nation in an exclusive interview yesterday before being suspended that it was premature for the UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka to start talking about who would be a presidential candidate for the UPND in 2021 in the absence of a convention.

On Thursday last week, Mr Katuka charged that the UPND party constitution allowed Mr Hakainde Hichilema to contest in general elections for an indefinite period.

Mr Katuka said in accordance with article 79 of the UPND constitution, Mr Hichilema was eligible to contest any election that could come at any time.

In a statement dated September 22, 2016, Mr Katuka argued that the UPND constitution did not put any limit on the term of office for the UPND presidency.

He said article 79 states that “a person shall be eligible for election for an indefinite period subject to this constitution provided that a party president who is elected Republican President shall only serve two terms that shall run concurrently with the term of office as Republican President”.

But Dr. Banda said it was premature for Mr Katuka to have issued such a statement because the party was ‘‘still in a post-election shock and post inauguration confusion’’ from which members, who were hurt and still recovering.

“And now people are talking about 2021. I think it is premature and one wonders where the pressure is coming from for this kind of conduct and you see there is not a single person talking about the convention or who is saying there shouldn’t be a convention. There is none, so there is no pressure for anybody to start talking about who will stand in 2021,” Dr. Banda said.

Dr. Banda said the general membership through its organs must be allowed to conduct its business and provide guidance to the party.

He said the party should decide on who should stand in 2021 because it had members and ‘‘anyone from ward officials in Muyombe, a constituency official in Mwandi, president Hichilema and everyone’’ was at liberty to stand as UPND candidate in 2021.

He said the statement by Mr Katuka was issued even before the organs of the party had deliberated.

“It is important that such statements are issued after thorough consultation with the people; then you move with the whole team but perhaps as an act of guidance we could say it is in order, but still it is premature.

“Right, the focus should be on keeping the party together and the membership at peace. There will be a time to discuss who should stand and when. To discuss 2021 today raises suspicions and it is premature,’’ he said.

And Dr Banda has charged that party president Hichilema was not God to be “wamuyayaya”, adding that only God could be referred to as “wamuyayaya’’.