Transparency International Zambia president Reuben Lifuka says 2021 presidential candidacy debates are premature and risk ushering the country into acrimonious election campaigns.

On Sunday, Patriotic Front Secretary General Davies Mwila announced that the party’s Central Committee has adopted President Edgar Lungu as their preferred candidate for 2021 subject to approval by the general conference in 2020.

But in an interview with News Diggers!, Lifuka said the debates were a distraction to the problems affecting the Zambian people.

“It is our considered view that discussions and processes of selecting or naming sole candidates for the 2021 Presidential election is not only premature, but unnecessary distraction from the current problems that affect the Zambian people. Premature nominations of presidential candidates will usher the nation into a premature and possibly acrimonious election campaign,” Lifuka said.

Lifuka also urged the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) to focus on delivering on their campaign promises and work towards improving the well-being of Zambians.

“It is a pity that in Zambia, our political leaders are obsessed with politicking and campaigning for office instead of in vesting their time and energy in devising appropriate solutions to the myriad of problems and challenges that the people face,” said Lifuka.

“We would like to urge the PF as a ruling party to focus on delivering on their campaign promises and generally work to improve the well being of millions of Zambians, who yearn for development. We would like to urge the PF Government to get its priorities right and provide leadership, mobilizing Zambians to unite and collectively work for the betterment of our nation.”