President Edgar Lungu on Tuesday met Cabinet ministers and other PF members of parliament who were accused of having dark corner meetings with an intent of destabilizing the ruling party and resolved that there was nothing wrong with holding caucuses.
And the PF has nullified ward elections for Lusaka Central and Munali constituencies in Lusaka District with immediate effect, citing lack of proper supervision by the party’s Elections Committee.
This is according to a statement issued by Patriotic Front deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri, Tuesday.
On Monday, PF supporters from the seven constituencies in Lusaka presented a petition to secretary general Davies Mwila, demanding that disciplinary action is taken against Justice Minister Given Lubinda, Lands Minister Jean Kapata and Higher Education Minister Prof Nkandu Luo, Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Minister Lawrence Sichalwe and Matero PF member of parliament Lloyd Kaziya for dividing the ruling party.
Mwila promised the youths that he would immediately present their petition to President Lungu.
But in separate interviews with News Diggers! Lubinda and Kapata described the allegations as malicious, the latter going further to state that there was an invisible hand which did not want democracy in the party.
“The true picture in the constituencies is that those people do not want competition, they do not want to be challenged. Those same people who went to present the petition do not want to be challenged. Anybody who is challenging them, they say that ‘it’s the MP’s group.’ There is no MP’s group. All of them are our people. Democracy entails that people should challenge one another. Even at country level, the president’s compete against each other, so why shouldn’t people compete at constituency or ward-level? So, the issue here is that, those people are not being sincere, they are not allowing anyone to compete against them,” said Kapata.
“And I know that there is an invisible hand that is saying a certain person should be provincial chairman and a certain person to be a district chairman and the people have refused; they want people to be voted in properly. There is an invisible hand that wants somebody…they have already orchestrated how they want the province to be and how they want [the district] to be. What we want is to challenge those people.”
And in a statement read on behalf of Mwila, Phiri stated that the party had no issue with MPs holding caucuses if it was for the purpose of building the party.
“His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Patriotic Front (PF) today met with Her Honour the Vice-President, Mrs Inonge Mutukwa Wina, and Party Secretary General, Hon Davies Mwila, and the following members of parliament: Hon. Professor Nkandu Luo, MP, Munali Constituency; Hon. Given Lubinda, MP, Kabwata Constituency; Hon. Margaret Mwanakatwe, MP, Lusaka Central Constituency; Hon. Jean Kapata, MP, Mandevu Constituency; Hon. Elizabeth Phiri, MP, Kanyama Constituency; and Hon. Lawrence Sichalwe, MP, Chawama Constituency. As the nation is aware, Patriotic Front has been carrying out intra-party elections and in most instances these have gone up to the branch levels,” Phiri stated.
“The meeting, which looked into the petition presented yesterday by constituencies in Lusaka, resolved that the Patriotic Front is one political organization that promotes consultation among members as a matter of right and this extends to members of parliament having caucuses or meetings amongst themselves for as long as the intention or motive is to build the party. This forms part of Patriotic Front’s intra-party democracy and this space is protected under the party constitution. This practice is a common practice, even among Cabinet Ministers. This is borne in the party’s desire to entrench a culture of being consultative.”
And Phiri stated that the meeting resolved to call off ward elections in Munali and Lusaka Central constituencies of Lusaka District due to lack of proper supervision by the party’s Elections Committee.
“Party elections in Lusaka Province, and in particular, in the following districts namely; Kafue, Chirundu, Chongwe, Rufunsa and Luangwa, will proceed as scheduled while elections in Lusaka District have been put on hold immediate effect until further notice. Further, elections for Kabwata Constituency, for the sections and branches, have been upheld while the ward elections have been nullified with immediate effect. Ward elections for Lusaka Central and Munali constituencies have been nullified, while those held for sections and branches have been upheld. These did not have proper supervision by the party’s Elections Committee,” Phiri stated.
Meanwhile, Phiri announced that President Lungu had called for a meeting with all the constituencies in Lusaka District as a way of interacting with party members.
“The Party President has also called for a meeting with all the constituencies in Lusaka District to interact with them and avail them a platform to air their concerns. This has been called for in the spirit of promoting intra-party consultative mechanisms. I wish to reiterate the call for unity of purpose in the party between elected representatives and party structures, including all our members. As we head towards voting day in Chilanga Constituency, I wish to call on all our members to continue campaigning with civility as they have so far demonstrated. Patriotic Front is the only party that can deliver development to the good people of Chilanga Constituency,” stated Phiri who also conveyed a message of condolences to party Secretary General Davies Mwila whose mother died on the Copperbelt.