Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan, that is why some unknown families are coming up claiming that they raised President Edgar Lungu from childhood, PF Secretary General Mumbi Phiri has said.

Last week, a bereaved family in Lusaka’s Kalingalinga township complained that a first cousin to President Lungu named Chazingwa had died, but that the Head of State ignored the funeral without sending any form of help.

But the PF deputy executive said it was normal for people to claim to be related to a success story.

“It’s very shocking how people start claiming relatives when it’s neither here nor there. I am saying that on the basis of a story of a relative of the President in Kalingalinga who was crying that the President has abandoned them. Today I heard a response on one of the community radio stations where the immediate elder sister to the President was complaining about those people who were claiming that they are his relatives. What I can urge the Lungu family is to ignore such people and move on with their lives. One thing they should know is that those people are claiming because President Lungu is a success story. Even me, those who claim, they claim because I am a success story. If I was a failure, they wouldn’t have claimed. And what they should know is that success has so many fathers, failure is an orphan,” Phiri said.

“The message to Mrs Chama Lungu is that just keep quite and ignore such people. They shouldn’t even worry, let them go on with their lives, like the way I have ignored those who have been claiming that they brought me up. In our language we say Kuchibolya takubula mukaya, and when people are claiming what they haven’t done, people who know the truth just tell them that iwe ulebepa (you are lying). They will just ignore them and say that fipuba (they are insane). The truth will always stand because lies have short legs. Ignore them, don’t answer as long as you know who your relatives are.”

Asked if the Chazingwa family was not related to President Lungu, Phiri said: “I wouldn’t know because President Lungu is not my relative. I am from Muchinga and he is from Eastern Province and I never grew up with him. We were never in the same neighbourhood. I have known President Lungu when I was an adult so I wouldn’t know which one is a close relative and which one is a distant relative, that’s for the family to sort out.”

She went on to narrate her own childhood and how unknown family members claimed to have brought her up after she had become successful in life.

“Mrs Chama, I am a victim of such people. Everybody who knows me in my life, know that I was born in Mufulira, I grew up in Kamuchanga at U144. So this is not a strange story. Some people who say they are my relatives have been claiming that they brought me up in Lusaka. But everybody knows that I moved to Lusaka when I was in grade 15. I was in that stream of those people who started the grades when they were introduced in Zambia,” she said.

“I started school at Buyantanshi Primary School, moved to Ipusukilo Primary School where I wrote my grade seven, then qualified to go to Mufulira High School. And the people I was with in these schools are alive and they get shocked to hear that I was brought up in Lusaka. I came to Lusaka in 1985, in September when I started my last term of grade 10 at Kabulonga Girls Secondary School. I lived here with my relatives. If you count, from 1985, I got married and I had my own house from 1990.”

And Phiri charged that she knew that the said family was being influenced by some PF faction.

“We know that there are disgruntled PF members who are bitter with President Lungu who are taking this propaganda to the media. These people are claiming that they are helping President Lungu but they are lying. I have asked around this same family and I have investigated that they actually went to see a known PF member who wants to seek attention. This member is a nonentity, but he wants to push the party agenda and in the process scandalise the President. But we will now allow that,” said Phiri.