Patriotic Front Secretary General Davies Mwila says the ruling party has already made a decision that President Edgar Lungu will stand in 2021, and that the decision is final no matter what happens.
He refused to discuss the eligibility case against the Head of State which is before the Constitutional Court, saying while the party will wait for the judges’ interpretation of the law, the Central Committee’s resolve to field President Lungu would not change.
In this question and answer interview which unfortunately turns emotional, I ask Mwila to explain why he says President Lungu would be recontesting the presidency when the Head of State told citizens recently that he would only go upto 2021.
Mwila’s Answer: That’s what I have said. The President was talking about his term of office, he didn’t say that… The President was talking about his term of office, he didn’t say that ‘I will not stand in 2021’. So, you get the whole statement from ZNBC. That is a small clip… So what do you want me to do madam?
My Question: The reason I am calling you is I want to verify because often times when we quote… (Mwila interrupts)
A: I have given a statement and that’s a party position. That is our position as a party and it will not change.
A: So what I have told you, that’s the party position. I speak on behalf of the party, what is inside the party not what is in the head of [Chishimba] Kambwili, no!
Q: But I am saying that you have resolved as a party that you have endorsed President Lungu for the 2021 elections. But my question is this, there is a case of his eligibility still in court.
A: What do you mean? So you want me to start debating on the issue that is in Court?
Q: No! I was thinking that, are you not going to wait for… (Mwila interrupts)
A: We have said that, as a party, he is eligible to stand. We have talked about this matter.
Q: Yes, now what about waiting for the court’s decision before you can finally endorse him?
A: We will wait for the Courts to decide [because] we cannot speak for the courts.
Q: No, I am not saying you should speak for the courts but… (Mwila interrupts)
A: So what do you want me to say madam, what do you want me to say?
Q: I was only saying that wouldn’t it have been appropriate for the party to wait before they endorse a candidate since… (Mwila interrupts)
A: The party made a decision, we didn’t wait. We made this decision before going to court so the decision is still binding.
Q: Okay, how about if the outcome of the court says that the President is not eligible, what happens?
A: what do you mean? We can’t speak for the courts, that is a debate. You can’t talk about an issue which is in court. We leave it for the courts to decide, not us.
Q: Yes, I am not saying that you should decide for the courts sir but… (Mwila interrupts)
A: But why are you wishing that the judgment should come negative? No!! Let’s wait for the courts to decide, it ends there.
Q: Yes, that’s where my question is, now why are you not waiting, you have already endorsed.
A: We endorsed a long time before the matter went to court. We endorsed President Edgar Lungu before the matter went to court.
Q: Yes, now that it is in court you have kept saying that he is your sole candidate, you are just from telling me that you have made a decision…(Mwila interrupts)
A: What do you want me to say?
Q: I want you to say that, are you not going to wait…
A: I have said it and I have told you that the President will not change.
Q: Alright then
A: President Lungu remains the candidate in 2021 for PF
Q: Even if the court rules against it?
A: No, I will not respond on that.
A: …because it is now a debate.
Take a listen: