Intense divisions have emerged in the Patriotic Front as youths across the country call for the resignation of Secretary General Davies Mwila on grounds that he has failed to work with the grassroots.
But Lusaka Province youth chairman Kennedy Kamba has warned cadres who are trying to influence confusion in the party, singling out Ephraim Shakafuswa as a divisive youth who must go back to UPND or face retaliation.
Copperbelt mine dealers commonly known as Jerabos have flooded social media with voice notes in which they are complaining that PF leaders in Lusaka were enriching themselves while ignoring the plight of the “foot soldiers” who mobilise people during campaigns.
Jerabo leader Tobias Mwamba is heard in one of the voice notes explaining how hard the youths on the Copperbelt worked to help PF win.
“When they gave us the black mounted, we did not use it for personal benefit, we used the money to mobilise the youths. We fought hard to mobilise the community on the Copperbelt. We were not selfish, we mobilised university students, former prisoners, marketeers, miners and ex-miners. Over 6,000 came to those campaign meetings so that we have have enough votes. That little money we were given helped to produce votes,” Mwamba said.
“But now the people are the secretariat are just saying go and mobilise people, but they are not producing money. How are we going to mobilise the party like that? If you don’t buy food for your children at home, they run away and you cannot blame them. For me to mobilise I need to first make sure that my family has eaten first, then I can go to mobilise people. But I cannot mobilise for you and when we say tupenikofye iyaka meda, you say I will come tomorrow, now what kind of mobilisation is that?
He said President Lungu was a good man, but was surrounded by bakandile (opportunists).
Other youths are also heard in other voice notes, saying the PF was falling apart on the Copperbelt.
“Ifilimba twalepitana bonse nokushana twaleshanafye bonse (we used to play and dance to campaign songs together) but now you have forgotten us. It’s us and people like Eddie Gowa and Ba Shimumbi, General and others, who came to help us mobilise the party. Sometimes you never sent us money, we used our own resources to ferry people to campaign rallies,” complained the youths.
“And this Minister (Bowman Lusambo) who says ‘I am a bootlicker and when the President says ‘jump’ I jump’, why can’t he tell the President to order him to jump onto our problem here? Let them open black mountain so that people can sort out some problems. They have sold the party. Me I am just like a campus, I will just go where I want to go, I don’t want foolishness,” said another youth.
In Lusaka, renowned cadre Maxwell Chongu who has received support from his Copperbelt compatriotic, is warning the PF secretariat that if youths are not taken care of, the party will fall apart. However he discouraged his fellow youths from defecting.
“Yes, we might be having economic turbulence mostly among the grassroots, but I am convinced that our able listening leader President Edgar Lungu will soon address the issues,” Max said.
He expressed concern that some senior district and constituency officials were attending NDC meetings in the name of getting information from the opposition.
Meanwhile, Kamba held a meeting with cadres at the PF secretariat to warn Shakafuswa against calling for Mwila’s removal.
“Shakafuswa should go back to the UPND, he is less than a year in the party and he wants to bring UPND confusion to PF. My fellow youths of the party, you are the security of the party. We are going to defend the President and the Secretary General of the party,” said Kamba before leading the cadres into chanting some threatening slogans.
But Shakafuswa said there was no need for the PF to send out cadres to harm him. He insisted that Mwila was failing to steer the party in the right direction.
“The party Secretary General Mr Davies Mwila is a good man, something no one can take away from him. But he is overwhelmed with the job in the face of the threats that PF faces both internal and external. He needs extra help to stay clear from steering the boat into an iceberg. My voice is only meant as a wake up call which can be taken serious or discarded,” said Shakafuswa.