By NOEL IYOMBWA
UPND leader, HAKAINDE Hichilema has picked his deputy, Mutale Nalumango as the running mate despite earlier speculation that Felix Mutati would be picked on behalf of the alliance.
Flanked by thousands of supporters, Mr Hichilema and Ms Nalumango arrived at Mulungushi International Conference Centre to file in their nominations accompanied by other alliance partners.
The alliance partners included Movement for Democratic Change leader Felix Mutati, Zambia Shall Prosper Movement’s Kelvin Fube, Zambians for Empowerment and Development leader, Ernest Mwansa, ADD leader Charles Milupi and Movement for Change and Equality leader, Kaluba Simuyemba among others.
The parties recently merged ahead of the August 12, general elections with the sole purpose of unseating the ruling Patriotic Front.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) validated the nomination of Mr Hichilema and his running mate, Ms Nalumango.
ECZ Chairperson, Justice Esau Chulu informed the duo that the Commission had scrutinised their nomination documents and that they were valid.
And speaking after successfully filing in their nomination, Mr. Hichilema said the UPND alliance had a pool of talented leaders to manage the affairs of the country.
“With the pool of talents that this alliance holds, it is the best from which to draw the leadership to manage, and reconstruct our nation, rebuild the economy and the social fabric that has been destroyed,” he said.
Mr. Hichilema appealed to Zambians to choose leadership that would save and unite the country.
He thanked the alliance members for unanimously adopting the running mate for the party.
UPND alliance Chairperson, Charles Milupi said that the alliance was ready to go across the country to preach a message of hope adding that the alliance was solidly united adding that nothing will divide it.
Mr. Milupi said that the decision to choose Ms. Nalumango as running mate was unanimously agreed upon.
Former alliance partner, Chishimba Kambwili however said the Alliance was a sham because all the top leaders came from one political party.
Mr Kambwili said the alliance was not genuine because all the partners were too ambitious and only pretending to support Ms Nalumango.
He said Ms Hichilema had ‘duped’ the other partners.
“There is no way that can be an alliance of leaders when the president is UPND, running mate UPND including most of the MPS,” said Mr Kambwili.