The position of UPND vice-president has been vacant since the departure of Canisius Banda (administration) and Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (politics) over three years and six months ago respectively.
Nalumango is being considered as a compromise choice for two main reasons – voter appeal beyond Southern Province so as to diffuse the tribalism tag and an attempt to buttress the women movement.
The UPND inner circle, however, considers Jack Mwimbu and Gary Nkombo – both Tongas – as the party’s close lieutenants to the throne and line of succession.
Like GBM and Dr. Banda, Nalumango will also be a filler in a position that aims at giving the opposition the cosmetic outlook in a bid to appeal to the voting block in the Northern Province and generally Bemba speaking regions.
The UPND consider that Nalumango’s appointment as Hichilema’s deputy will compliment the appointment of Patrick Mucheleka as deputy secretary general.
However, Nalumango – like other non-Tonga deputies that have served in the capacity – will serve as ceremonial.
The UPND inner circle comprising Mwimbu, Nkombo, Cornelius Mweetwa and Douglas Syakalima will remain intact and largely in charge of the opposition party.
Hichilema is aware that appointing any of the Southern Province stalwarts will create and confirm what the public consider the UPND – a tribal party driven by Tongas.
To quell this, Nalumango was the perfect choice so. There was attempts to consider Sylvia Masebo in that position but because she is of Soli heritage it means that the Bantu Botatwe debate will still arise.
UPND has struggled to fill the position of vice-president, with the likes of Sakwiba Sikota and Bob Sichinga also falling off the radar when they showed signs of interest in taking over as leader of the party.
UPND founding members such as Ackson Sejani have previously declared that only a Tonga can succeed a Tonga in the party’s leadership hierarchy.
Hichilema has reportedly refused to put the position of vice-president to a vote, fearing it will create confusion and throw the party leadership into chaos. To date, since Hichilema assumed the party leadership from its founder, Anderson Mazoka, UPND has not held any party convention and has not allowed its members to vote on its leadership.