The UPND is burning! The top leadership of the country’s biggest opposition party is at each other’s throats. The party’s vice-president, Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, has finally been suspended. The problems that have been for years have now been laid bare – it is difficult to hide anymore. Like a pregnancy, the problems in the UPND are now too huge to be ignored and everyone can see them.
Mwamba, popularly referred to as GBM, has been accused of working against the party in Northern Province and for this, the UPND national management committee decided to suspend him yesterday for what they are calling “gross misconduct”. The squabbling all started with the suspension of a senior party official in Northern Province by a junior officer. This is what GBM did not like. And for this, the entire opposition party membership has been mobilized to ‘destroy’ him. Youths from all around the country who gathered for a briefing at the party secretariat were left free to unleash all manner of insults and threats against GBM. From this, you can see clearly that GBM was kept in this party only for convenience sake and not genuine love they showed towards him. It was a cosmetic agreement! It was just a matter of time before the true colours of the party leadership could be exposed. And here we are today! A man who was once the darling of the party has all of sudden turned into a villain. How?
This attitude towards GBM has not been triggered by what happened in Northern Province. This has been going on for some time and what happened in Northern Province only provided a loophole to hound out GBM, without caring about the contributions he has made to the UPND. It wouldn’t be wrong for someone to insinuate either that the excitement to hound out GBM at this time is because of the ‘newfound love’ in Chishimba Kambwili and his National Democratic Congress following their electoral pact for the Roan constituency by-election which they won. If this is the case, what the UPND are doing to GBM is like that man who throws away all the good in his wife just because of a ‘sweet 16’ he has met for a season.
But again, this must ring some bells in the minds of many Zambians. Why would Hakainde Hichilema ferry youths from all over the country to Lusaka to just come and denounce GBM for whatever disagreements he and the party may have with him? If Hichilema could not show leadership in handling this issue, does anyone expect reason from mere party members who are now parading themselves on camera insulting and threatening GBM? This exposes the much bigger problems that lie at the core of the party’s leadership. Through these happenings, the UPND is tolerating behaviour which this country must move away from. They have, on several occasions, accused the ruling Patriotic Front of being violent and running politics that are inimical to the growth of this country’s democracy. But funny enough, they are the ones actually promoting that behaviour and doing it in an uncivilized manner.
All political parties have problems, but they have clear systems that guide in solving such matters. For a party of UPND’s size to expose its issues in the manner done against GBM, one is left with many questions about the capability of that party’s leaders to handle even much bigger problems that the country faces. This is a serious indictment on Hichilema’s leadership style!