By AARON CHIYANZO
THE OCIDA brokered UPND Alliance is on the verge of collapse following high level treachery that has raised tension in the grouping.
Firstly, UPND president, Hakainde Hichilema is reported to have back-tracked on the position of running mate which he had reportedly earlier offered to MDC president, Felix Mutati to select his vice president, Mutale Nalumango.
However. Highly placed UPND sources have said party members want Mr Hichilema to appoint Mr Mutati as running mate and have dispatched some party officials to Southern Province to appeal to chiefs in the area to persuade Mr Hichilema to take on Mr Mutati.
Apparently anticipating the fallout, impeccable sources within the UPND have revealed that Mr Mutati, who was supposed to be the running mate secretly paid the K95,000 presidential nomination fee and is considering breaking off the alliance and instead work with the Joseph Akafumba-led NDC.
Secondly, Mr Hichilema’s reported insistence to give only one parliamentary seat to each alliance partner has greatly upset the partners who not only feel used but also treated as unimportant.
Thirdly, Mr Hichilema is said to feel that he could do as he pleases since the deadline to pay the K95, 000 presidential nomination fee had elapsed.
When contacted, UPND spokesperson, Cornelius Mweetwa said there was no truth in all the claims.
The sources said there was realisation among stakeholders that the future of the UPND Alliance was bleak just like some political pundits had earlier warned that the alliance was founded on selfish motives and characterised by suspicions against each other.
The sources said members were demoralised that OCIDA tried in vain to broker a deal between Mr Hichilema and the Alliance partners so that a compromise could be reached ahead of the crucial election.
OSIDA brought together some Bemba-aligned political parties now known as Zambia We Want with the sole purpose of finding Mr Hichilema a running mate.
But even before the pact, both Zambia Must Prosper Movement leader, Kelvin Bwalya Fube and Mr Mutati, the MDC president had separately and secretly been promised the running mate position.
The intention was to secure votes from Luapula, Muchinga and Northern provinces.
It was forced by the Constitutional Court confirmation of President Edgar Lungu’s eligibility and ECZ calendar in which presidential candidates and their running mates must file their nomination papers in a few weeks’ time.OCIDA is an association for senior citizens including former Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu who is a known UPND sympathiser and Simon Zukas.