HAKAINDE Hichilema is today afternoon set to file his nomination forms for an intra-party vote.
The United Party for National Development (UPND) is set to hold an elective general congress on February 14 this year.
The general conference would be held virtually.
Hichilema, who is known for his acronyms HH, is set to defend the party presidency.
So far, no UPND official has unmasked their desire to challenge the well-heeled 59 year old Hichilema.
While there is disinterest or even fright to challenge Hichilema by UPND stalwarts, he is not averse to opposition – at least by what he said on a live programme, via Zoom, on Diamond TV on Tuesday night.
Hichilema said any UPND member is welcome to compete against him, at the party’s general assembly.
When asked who was going to be the UPND running mate in the August polls, and whether or not leadership of the UPND starts and ends with him, Hichilema countered.
“No! No! No! It’s not like that. There’s a wealthy of leadership in the UPND. UPND is a huge team with capable people to be president, running mate, good ministers,” he said.
“And we cherish the opportunity which we are going to have at our general assembly to elect leadership. We welcome new talent, old talent, middle-aged talent. It’s time for each one of us in the UPND, in the country, to take responsibility for the future of our children and those yet-to-be born.”
On whether the UPND presidency was available for other competitors at the February 14 general assembly, Hichilema answered that all positions were available for contestation.
“If you are interested to challenge HH, you are welcome. All positions are open!” said Hichilema.
The winner of the UPND presidency at the general congress becomes the party’s automatic Republican presidential candidate in the August 12, 2021 general elections.
Hichilema assumed the UPND presidency in July, 2006 when he was voted to succeed Anderson Kambela Mazoka, the party’s first president.
At the 2006 extraordinary general assembly in Lusaka, Hichilema defeated then deputy party president Sakwiba Sikota and Baldwin Nchite.
Hichilema got 512 votes, Sikota managed 226 while Nchite had seven votes.
©Kalemba January 29, 2021