UPND opens party presidency nominations

Party spokesman, Patrick Chisanga, announced in Lusaka this week that it was the decision of the NMC to open the nominations to any party member regardless of tribe and that the applications should be lodged through the party general secretary at the UPND secretariat.

Recent media reports have quoted various members of the party in southern province as saying that the party had a quota system which allocated specific positions to specific provinces. According to some UPND members, the president was supposed to come from southern province, vice president from western and secretary general from north-western province.

But Chisanga said this impression was erroneous.

“The correct position is that the quota system is an unwritten convention that arose during the formative stages of the UPND. The objective of the quota system was aimed at ensuring balancing the leadership card in order to give the party a national character. Thus no two positions in the top hierarchy of the party could go to the same province. As a result of this convention, a fair representation of all provinces in Zambia was achieved,” he said, adding: “Nowhere is it stated nor was there any intention that specific positions are reserved for specific provinces or tribes.”

The Tongas and Toka-leya of southern province have been demanding that someone from either of the two tribes take over the presidency.

Mazoka was Tonga.

Chisanga said the NMC had concluded that it was “misleading, and inconsistent with the spirit of the quota system to imply that only one province is eligible to contest the presidency. All the nine provinces of Zambia are therefore, fully eligible to contest the vacant position of party president, in a true spirit of democracy.”

“It is also worth noting that during the on-going provincial assemblies, all positions have been open for any member to contest including the presidency. No one was barred on account of region. The qualifications for members vying for positions were as spelt out in the electoral regulations,” he said.

According to the UPND constitution, a party presidential candidate needed to satisfy the following qualifications:

President

1.1 Applicants must be fully paid up UPND members of at least one and half years standing.

1.2 Applicants must be aged 35 years or above.

1.3 Applicants will require to be nominated by one delegate and seconded by ten (10) delegates each from at least five provinces of Zambia at the General Assembly.

1.4 Pay a non-refundable fee of K5,000,000.00.

1.5 Where only one candidate secures the requisite number of nominations and support, that candidate shall be declared unopposed.

1.6 Where there are two or more candidates, the winner shall be determined by winning 50 percent + one of the UPND General Assembly delegates that cast their votes.

1.7 Where no candidate obtains over 50 percent of the votes cast, a re-run for the first two candidates will be conducted to determine the winner.

1.8 There will be no restrictions whatsoever as to the number of presidential candidates subject only to eligibility in accordance with the above rules and regulations.

1.9 Aspiring candidates may begin to declare their intentions and commence campaigns effective from today, Monday, 12th June 2006.

He said in the case of only one candidate securing the requested number of nominations and support,that candidate would be declared unopposed but where there were more candidates, the winner would be determined by 50 plus one of the convention delegates that cast their votes.

Chisanga said where no candidate obtained over 50 per cent of the votes cast; a rerun for the first two candidates would be conducted to determine the victor.

“There would be no restrictions whatsoever as to the number of presidential candidates subject to eligibility in accordance with the outlined rules and regulations and aspiring candidates were free to declare intentions and commence campaigns effective Monday,” he said.

As for the other consequential vacant party positions, Chisanga said aspirants would require to secure one nomination and seconded by five delegates each from three provinces at the party national convention.

For the time being until the party general assembly is held on July 8, Chisanga said the NMC had appointed party vice-president, Sakwiba Sikota, to act as party president.

He said the party would hold its last provincial assembly in Mongu from June 24-25, 2006.

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