Mazabuka lawmaker and United Party for National Development (UPND) Chairman for Elections Gary Nkombo says the hosting of the UPND convention next month heralds an entrenchment of democracy within the party.
In a notice to all members of the UPND dated 11 December 2021, Party Secretary General Stephen Katuka, announced that the Party will hold its General Assembly from 22nd to 24th January, 2021.
And UPND Chairperson Strategy and Mobilization Sylvia Masebo said it would be strategic for any leader who will be elected to lead the UPND into 2021 General Elections to appoint Party Vice Presidents.
In an interview yesterday, Nkombo said the General Assembly will be an elective convention for all positions.
Mr. Nkombo said elections and democratic principles have been the hallmark of the existence of the UPND since inception.
The outspoken Mazabuka lawmaker, who many insiders have said he is eying one of the top positions, says all positions are up for grabs at the UPND Convention.
“In our party, democracy means there is no sole candidate. From the President to the lowest position within the NMC (National Management Committee), all positions are up for grabs because UPND is a believer in internal and national democracy,” he said.
Mr. Nkombo said the coming General Assembly will be equivalent to an elective convention UPND held on July 14, 2006 which had about 777 delegates from the Ward, Constituency and National officials including Members of Parliament and ushered in Hakainde Hichilema.
“The only other Convention we held in 2009 was not an elective Convention but an extra ordinary assembly which extended the mandate of the NMC members to allow for the electoral calendar adjustment and removed the two-year term limit for UPND Presidency from the party Constitution,” said Nkombo.
Mr. Nkombo said Mr. Hichilema’s stay at the helm of the party beyond the original two-term limit was legally done following the resolutions passed at the 2009 extra ordinary General assembly and the amendment to the UPND Constitution.
Meanwhile Ms. Masebo said she expects the UPND will have the positions of Vice Presidents filled up after the January 2021 UPND General Assembly.
“We know Mr Hichilema may go unopposed but it may strategically be important for him to fill up the positions of Vice Presidents for Politics and Administration after he gains a new mandate,” she said.
She said Mr Hichilema must consider appointing a youth and woman as Vice Presidents and from different regions.
“The UPND is not a regional party and I expect our leader will appoint a youth Vice President and woman Vice President from different regions so we can shame those who accuse us of tribalism,” she said