President Edgar Lungu has asked Patriotic Front members to be loyal to him the way he was loyal to Michael Sata saying there are great rewards in doing so.

And President Lungu says the people of Southern Province are like orphans because they did not elect members of parliament from the ruling party.

Speaking when he met party officials in Siavonga district, Thursday, President Lungu said he wouldn’t have been Head of State today if he did not remain loyal to Sata, even amidst frustrations.

President Lungu also warned against in-fighting.

“Those of you who were here when we formed the party in 2001…please we are one family, we are one people. And the nonsense I am hearing of fighting amongst each other should stop. I get reports from here about infighting, but there should be no in-fighting. Again I want to give you the example of hard work and commitment, it pays, I am President because I am committed to PF. When we formed the party in 2001, I stood in Chawama but I lost. I 2006 I was supposed to stand but the party chose madam Sampa Bridget and I gave way, I supported and campaigned for her. Why can’t you do the same? When Mr Sata formed government in 2011, I was just a deputy minister but I was loyal to Mr Sata and I was loyal to the party, look where I am today, I have been rewarded,” President Lungu said.

“So if you think you can be fighting my appointees here because you think you own the party, you are just disassociating yourself from me. But if you support the Chairman, you support the minister, you support the elected leadership of the Province, then you are working your way to the top. But if you are fighting them because they came after you, you are just killing your own future. So let me urge you to support others because they will support you in return. In PF there are so many rooms and all of us have got space.”

And President Lungu said the people of Southern Province are like orphans because they did not elect members of parliament from the ruling party

“Firstly, I want to thank you all members of the PF for being determined to continue being members of the PF. I am saying so as an acknowledgement of the intimidating environment which you are operating from. I know that you being intimidated, very badly for that matter. But having said that, I wish to call upon the police to do their job in protecting you. I am saying so because that is the job of the police, right? They are supposed to be protecting people. So I will not say much, I know there is a case in which one of own members was killed and the circumstances are being investigated by the police and I am told they are making progress. So I don’t want to pre-empt matters. Let’s allow them to work but my appeal to them is to begin protecting every citizen of the Republic of Zambia. Whether you are in Southern Province or in the North, you are entitled to police protection,” President Lungu said.

“Secondly, I just want to appeal to you to please welcome new people to PF. We were a handful in 2001 when PF started, we grew up until we formed government. But if we are not welcoming new comers, we will never form government here in Southern Province, it will be government from Lusaka. You don’t give me MPs so how can I choose people who are not part of my MPs to become ministers? So please work hard so that you have your own MPs, so that you can be able to walk freely. I beg you to be strong, to be resolute, focused and above all, to welcome new comers. That’s where your power lies. The more members you recruit, the more powerful you become. Eventually you will have MPs of your own, councilors and other leaders. If you elected people here and they are in the position of representing you in Parliament, there would be no problem but as it is, you are like orphans because you don’t have your own.”

President Lungu said there was no need for members of the ruling party to suffer when it was in charge of the country’s resources.

“We appreciate the struggle you are going through in this Province and your challenges are known and we will be working on them soon. Obviously you want transport, so we will be looking for resources so that you enjoy working for the ruling party. I don’t see why the opposition should be looking after its members better than we are able to, it’s a fallacy [because] we are in charge of resources, we are charge of the country. We have got a lot of support from outside the party and outside government, why shouldn’t we call upon our friends to support us? So I assure you that support is coming, you wont fail under my watch. 2021 it’s another election and I am sure you will give us a decent number of members of parliament, council chairpersons other leaders. God bless you, I will come back next time for party work,” said President Lungu.

Meanwhile, Southern Province PF Chairman Evans Lawrence said the leadership in that province needed more resources to grow the party.

“We are here to work hard with your support [Mr President], and I have no doubt that State House will support us with the things that we need in order to grow the party in Southern Province. We are not going to give up, we will make sure that we work hard. One thing I have observed is that most of our members are along the line of rail, I think it’s time we started going out into the village so that we can draw the numbers. This is one of the places where the opposition have got a lot of numbers. So we need to start going into communities in order to get more numbers,” said Lawrence.