Patriotic Front National Youth Chairperson Stephen Kampyongo has reacted angrily to Chishimba Kambwili’s call for the party to elect a presidential candidate before the 2021 elections, contrary to secretary general Davies Mwila’s declaration that President Edgar Lungu will stand for the third time.
On Saturday, Mwila asked those with presidential ambitions to shelve them until 2026 because President Lungu was the sole candidate for the party but Kambwili told The Mast Newspaper that it was against the party constitution to prevent people from challenging President Lungu.
“There is no provision in the PF constitution to support what Davis Mwila said in Kasama about President Lungu being the candidate for the 2021 general elections. PF is a democratic party and will always follow the constitution and not an individual’s opinion. Those who don’t want elections when they’re due should join the UPND where there no elections. There are no shortcuts in PF,” said Kambwili.
“PF will always elect its president every five years at the general conference. I am not talking about any particular individual or president, all I am saying is that the PF constitution is very clear on the election of the party president and candidate. There is no provision in the constitution to support what Mwila, said period. President Lungu is a democrat and lawyer, he cannot allow shortcuts.”
But Kambwili’s remarks have unsettled Kampyongo, who is also Home Affairs Minister, who advised those with an “insatiable appetite for power to take a chill pill” in a statement issued by PF media director Sunday Chanda today.
“Those with an insatiable appetite for power should take a chill pill and ensure they are in good standing with the Party. We are not short-circuiting democracy when we assert that there is the unwritten rule that an incumbent should not be challenged, we are raising a position not just peculiar to Zambia but other advanced democracies such as the USA. Senior members of the Party understand established channels of communication but a handful have elected to play to the gallery as darlings of hostile media whose authenticity and credibility is difficult to prove. Let me warn them that the Party will not entertain the pain they got us through when they rallied behind Guy Scott. We want a disciplined party and the national youth wing of the PF shall do everything to protect the Party from political vultures and scavengers within and outside,” Kampyongo said.
He insisted that party structures had decided to rally behind President Lungu but urged people to contest the Central Committee seats.
“The Secretary General did not say that the General Conference will not be held. PF is the most democratic party in the Zambia to the extent that despite having a position on who the Presidential candidate was, other members in good standing with the Party can file in their applications if they so desire. Those with Presidential ambitions are welcome to throw in their applications at the General Conference in 2020 but the Party already has a Candidate in His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. Those with an insatiable appetite for power should tame their hunger and anger. The General Conference will go ahead in 2020 as announced by the Secretary General and all Central Committee positions will be open to elections and those in good standing with the Party can apply to contest. However, as a mark of confidence, the Party structures have resolved to rally behind President Lungu as our candidate and I speak for PF Youth structures countrywide,” Kampyongo said.
He also recollected the fierce power struggle that rocked the party after Michael Sata’s demise.
“The Party has taken great lessons from the transition we went through after late President Michael Sata died in Office. We experienced the most painful period, politically as a Party. And as a learning political organization, we have taken great lessons in ensuring that the same vultures who sought our blood in 2014 do not do so in 2020 going into 2021,” said Kampyongo.
“On that premise, we’ll take President Lungu back to the people as our candidate because he would have proved himself as a faithful and loyal servant of the masses. Zambians want President Lungu to deliver and that is why the Party is rallying behind him. He is on course driving a robust development agenda and there is no substitution.”