By NOEL IYOMBWA
DEEP distrust between Hakainde Hichilema and Chishimba Kambwili on Wednesday scuttled a meeting that was intended to formalise the alliance and electoral pact.
The meeting of alliance partners comprising UPND, NDC and ADD which were scheduled to be held on Wednesday February 3, 2021 failed to take off and has been postponed to a later date.
According to inside sources, the meeting was postponed after it became apparent that it would not be possible for Mr Hichilema and Mr Kambwili to agree on terms that would enable them formalise the alliance.
A confidence-building measure that included the possible attendance of former Catholic Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu and Bishop John Mambo failed to build the necessary consensus on the substantive terms of the pact.
The sources revealed that the mistrust between the two opposition leaders reached alarming levels as the duo had been misled by propaganda being propagated by unidentified people on social media to disrupt the alliance.
The UPND has apparently refused to accept conditions reportedly demanded by Mr Kambwili, which includes rebranding the alliance to reflect equal status to safeguard the party’s interest.
Meanwhile, impeccable sources within UPND have revealed that Mr Hichilema was being persuaded by some senior members of the party to agree to proposals by Mr Kambwili so that they win the election and later refuse to implement the agreed terms once they form Government.
Mr Kambwili wants the pact to be called “UPNDC” and should be assured of a position.
But asked for comment yesterday, Mr. Kambwili admitted that the NDC was still in talks with the UPND but could not disclose what was being discussed.
Mr Kambwili said meetings had been held on formalising an alliance but that no conclusions had been reached yet.
“Yes, we have been having meetings but nothing has been concluded yet. We shall inform the nation once an agreement is reached,” Mr Kambwili said in a statement.
UPND have reportedly been looking for a Bemba-running mate to attract the Bemba vote.
Some of the people reportedly being courted included Lusaka businessman Patrick Chisanga, Democratic Party leader, Harry Kalaba and former Finance minister Felix Mutati. The UPND has launched a campaign to dismantle the Bemba vote by destabilising the ruling Patriotic Front in Muchinga, Luapula and Northern provinces.