Patriotic Front mayoral candidate for Lusaka Miles Sampa yesterday engaged in a public display of remorse when he broke down and knelt before President Edgar Lungu, asking for forgiveness over his political movements in the last three years.

And President Lungu promised to vote for Sampa on July 26, saying the latter had learnt a lesson on the dangers of leaving the ruling party.

Meanwhile, President Lungu says all those who have gone astray and wish to return to the ruling party must make a public confession instead of seeking to meet him in the night.

Addressing a public rally at Muchinga Grounds in Matero, the Head of State begun by stating that Sampa was the PF’s prodigal son who had been received after publicly announcing his remorse.

“I want to make it very clear that Miles Sampa has been a member of the PF for a long time, since inception. Of course he went astray, but he has come back. He is a prodigal son. We have to accept those who come back. Miles Sampa went astray, alilubana (he got confused), it happens to all of us but he came back and asked for forgiveness and we have forgiven him without any conditions at all. Unlike some people who want to meet me in the night and say ‘let’s discuss, I want to come back but let’s talk in the night. Isn’t that witchcraft? If you want to come back to your party PF, just come back and tell the party that ‘please forgive me, I am human and I erred, that’s how we play politics. You go and form a party, they are covering you in newspapers and on radio [but you say] ‘I can come back to PF but let’s talk to President Lungu in the night at State House, take me to State House, it will not work. Those who are forming their own parties, they are confusing us, dividing us and insulting us but in the night they are saying ‘Lungu we should meet, we want to come’, it won’t work. What will work is simply public confession and show remorse that you went astray and you have come back. We will receive you with pride because you are one of us,” President Lungu said.

“All of us are capable of being sinners because that is our nature. So come back and we shall receive you unconditionally. So this Miles has come back and please don’t let him down. The question is why do they want to contaminate Lusaka City Council by bringing an alien to the council? How is it going to work? The vision that Wilson Kalumba had as our mayor is the same vision we carry as PF. Other are busy saying ‘no…what vision does Lungu has?’ the vision that I have is a collective vision that we have as PF. There is wisdom in numbers, there is wisdom in consulting people. When you lose elections, you have to sit down and review what went wrong, if there is need to remove that substitute, you remove. How do you have the same player all the time? So Miles, these people are going to give you a vote. Why I am saying so is because I am also a voter and I have a voter’s card and I vote from Lusaka, so I will vote for you. We will vote for you because we love you and because you have learnt your lesson. We differed but it is over.” 

At this point, President Lungu handed the microphone over to Sampa, asking him to say a few words to the crowd.

Sampa started by leading the crowd in chanting the “Lungu 2021”.

“When I say 2021, you should say ‘Edgar Chagwa Lungu ‘nafuti nafuti (again and again),” Sampa said.

Sampa, who became emotional, thanked President Lungu for forgiving him.

“Your Excellency Sir, it hurts if no one loves you and equally, it’s painful when people give you so much love. Sir, you have given me love and it is painful sir. Sir, Your Excellency, the love you have given me, the love the President has given me, is that kind of love which an elder brother gives to his brother, the last born in a family. You know, sometimes the last born becomes cantankerous, he doesn’t even know why he has gone mad but when you have an elder brother and he gives you love, that is the kind of love the President has given me and I am grateful. Sir, I am grateful, I am grateful to the MCC and I am grateful to PF,” Sampa said before kneeling and bowing down before President Lungu.

After a few seconds, President Lungu helped Sampa to his feet and one of the senior PF members who was on stage with him consoled him after noticing that the former Matero lawmaker was shedding tears.

President Lungu then continued his address, saying no other party could change the status quo in Lusaka because it was the Patriotic Front which was in office.

“The people that are going to bring water here in Matero, the people that are going to bring roads here, schools and hospitals is PF. People should not lie to you. You have already answered for yourselves that where is [the opposition] going to get the money to bring all that development. The person who has got the money is Margaret Mwanakatwe and it is you who voted for her. Things are changing in this country and you can see for yourselves. PF is very attractive now. So we welcome all of you to the party but you have to change your bad habits,” President Lungu said.

“If we see that your habits are not good, we will sit you down. I am saying this to respond to the appeal by the Secretary General that let us bring back all those who left the party. We will bring all of you who went astray back to your party of choice and we will make sure that you follow our regulations. If you bring violence, lies or confusion, we will refuse you. I want to thank Miles Sampa and all those who contested [but were not picked] that gentlemen this is a true spirit of democracy. I salute all of you gentlemen.”

He also denounced UPND’s ‘panga for panga’ slogan.

“So let us work together and let us not listen to those saying Panga for Panga. Panga for panga for what? Your children are safe home and you have sent others abroad but you are busy telling other people’s children that panga for panga. What kind of selfishness is this? Their own children are very safe, others are in schools outside the country and they are paying lots of money for them but here they are proclaiming war panga for panga. Go and tell your children in that case. Dear parents please I am appealing to you that don’t listen when they say panga for panga, they are selling your children and yet they have sent their own abroad for safety. They are saying ‘no…you have to defend yourself in case you are attacked’ who is going to attack who? That is unreasonable, that is irrational. Other are saying ‘punch for punch’ punch for punch with who? Instead of just cooperating so that you iron out things you are busy saying punch for punch,” said President Lungu.