THE confusion of who leads UPND leadership deepened yesterday following revelations that Alliance for Development and Democracy (ADD) president Charles Milupi has been chairing UPND national management committee meetings instead of the national chairperson Mutale Nalumango.
This comes in the absence of the incarcerated leader Hakainde Hichilema and his vice president for administration Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba who has vanished.
Mr. Milupi, who campaigned for Mr Hichilema during the 2015 presidential by-election and the 2016 general elections, fuelled speculation that he was positioning himself to take over the leadership of the biggest opposition party when he claimed that he was appointed leader of the alliance between UPND, Dr. Nevers Mumba’s MMD faction and Mr. Mike Mulongoti’s People’s Party.
Mr. Milupi is alleged to have told a media briefing in Lusaka on Wednesday that his political party, ADD, was in an alliance with UPND, MMD (Nevers) and People’s Party and he was leader of that alliance.
He explained that although he was a leader of the alliance, in the absence of the UPND president and the vice president, the UPND was headed by Ms Nalumango, the national chairperson, according to the UPND party constitution.
But Patriotic Front (PF) media director Sunday Chanda disclosed to the Daily Nation yesterday that Mr. Milupi had taken over the UPND and was now chairing its National Management Committee meetings.
Mr. Chanda has challenged Mr. Milupi to deny the fact that he had taken over the UPND leadership by chairing meetings which Mr. Hichilema used to chair.
“We find it interesting that Alliance for Development and Democracy leader Charles Milupi, who is also a well-known United Party for National Development sympathiser, can have the audacity to declare himself leader of an alliance when he never did so before Hakainde Hichilema was arrested.
“Charles Milupi also fails to deny the fact that he has been chairing UPND National Management Committee meetings in the absence of Hichilema. We put it to Milupi that he has been chairing these meetings to the exclusion of Mrs. Mutale Nalumango, who is National Chairperson,” he said.
Mr Chanda claimed Mrs Nalumango was not in charge of running UPND, adding that it was now being run by Mr. Milupi.
“After President Michael Sata died, it was very clear who was running PF and that was Republican Vice President Mrs. Inonge Wina, then National Chairperson of the Patriotic Front and her decisions were respected by all, including defiant Dr. Guy Scott,” Mr. Chanda said.
Earlier during a UPND press briefing, Mr. Milupi dispelled assertions that he has taken over the leadership of the UPND.
Mr. Hichilema is currently in jail facing treason charge