PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri has asked the PF leadership to set the example and be willing to give up power to the young ones since party positions are not personal-to-holder.

Speaking at the PF Secretariat where she received 500 defectors from the FDD, led by former Lusaka Mayor aspiring candidate Sirre Muntanga today, Phiri warned that the party would deal with those causing confusion on social media.

“Let me also just re-emphasize from what the Secretary General told us when he was in Southern Province [that] those of you who are trying to scandalize us as your leaders during these campaigns, let me warn you that, we shall deal with you! These offices, which we are holding, we were given this mandate by you. I was elected as a member of central committee at the last convention when Mr [Michael] Sata was still alive. And let us remember, we also know that these positions are not personal-to-holder. As leaders, we should know that when Mumbi Phiri is in this position as deputy SG, I should be willing to give up power to somebody who is just like me. Leave this stage to the young ones to take over from us. It should be a culture, and I think us, as PF, we should put it in practice. We should practice that,” Phiri said.

She said even those who intimidating the grassroots would be dealt with.

“I would want to see [the young ones] to come and take over from us. This leadership of Davies Mwila and Mumbi Phiri, they are very much aware that in these positions, like where I am, there was Mrs [Bridget] Atanga whom I took over from, there is no need for you to come here and remind Davies to say, ‘there was Wynter Kabimba.’ We know that, and when the times comes, we shall gladly go and we shall be proud to say we were local SGs. And our job is to protect our structures. Just because you are deputy SG [or] you are member of central committee, if you start intimidating our grassroots, we shall deal with you! Our strength, as a secretariat, is our party structures and you are the members of the party,” Phiri added.

She further warned that those posting confusion about the party on social media shall be dealt with.

“And as leaders, we should learn to accept when our people vote for a candidate. We must support and work with them. This campaign which you are doing because you don’t like this person, you have even made camps. Those camps you are basing your campaigns on individuals, you are telling them that, ‘if you want to join our camp, just go and say Mumbi Phiri is a bad woman,’ ‘just go and say Honourable Yamfwa Mukanga is very fat.’ The SG emphasized that let us tell the people what we are going to do for the people. Confusion should come to an end. And I repeat, those who are posting things on social media, you shall be dealt with,” she warned.

And speaking at the same event, PF chairperson for elections Yamfwa Mukanga said only loyal party members would be elected at the general convention.

Mukanga, a former Transport and Communications Minister, also said the opposition should start shivering because in the next general election, the PF leader would be pronounced as winner before midday.

“When we see a lot of people coming to join us, then we are very sure that the PF is gaining ground every day. We are increasing in number every day and it is for this reason that those in the opposition should start shivering because come 2021, we want by 10:00 hours, our president should have gone through! So, we will urge even those who are outside there; don’t be afraid of your neighbour. Just come back, especially those who left PF should come back, those who are still in the opposition, should come back because this boat is so big to an extent where it will not get filled until every Zambian comes to the boat because they belong to PF. If you look at what is happening, there is no reason for somebody to remain in the opposition. The roads have been done, there were no street lights, but now they are there, there were not even coins in Zambia, the coins were brought back by PF. And there is a lot that is happening,” Mukanga said.

He said during the renewal of the leadership mandate for the party at the next convention, only loyal leaders will be elected.

“When you look at development, no one can argue, look at the airports, they are looking very nice! What else do you want? The hospitals are changing. Right now the President is looking at unemployment; how we are going to resolve the unemployment issue? How we are going to look at the women empowerment, how we should empower the youths? Those are the issues to talk about. We are looking at how we are going to improve the food security on the table. It’s for this reason that PF being democratic, we are now reorganizing ourselves. As elections committee, we have been going round conducting elections. So, it’s very democratic because after three years, we need to re-examine ourselves. So, now we are doing that as PF so that we can renew the mandate of our leadership. During this renewal of the mandate of the leadership, I’d urge everybody to be selfless and look at the people who have been loyal to the party and we will vote for them to take those positions,” Mukanga added.

He urged those already elected not to vie for other party positions, but leave room for others.

“We do not want to vote for people who are not loyal, who are jumping from one party to another and without coming back to PF. We want the first to get those positions. And also I want to ask and beg for those who are councillors and mayors [that] if you have got a position, don’t vie for another position in the party because the party is big. You hold the administration [and] let the other people who are not working [to] also hold the party positions because we want to move together as one. We cannot be intimidated, no one is going to intimidate you [because] you are entitled, but I am giving you free advice,” Mukanga narrated.

And speaking after declaring her defection to PF, Muntanga said she made the decision after realizing that she had been “wasting time” in the opposition.

Losing 2016 FDD mayoral candidate Sirre Muntanga speaks to journalists shortly after she defected to join Patriotic Front at the party secretariat on September 11, 2018 – Picture by Tenson Mkhala

“I joined the PF, not the myth that you are seeing on the media that there is money that we are being given; no one is being paid to join the PF. I came at my free will. No one forced me to join the PF. I wasn’t even bribed. I looked at the leadership of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and the PF and I admired. I said, ‘I am wasting my time in the party that is not even moving forward. I decided to join the PF after seeing all the developments that we are seeing in the country. The PF government is working! Let us appreciate and learn from the PF when they are still alive, and not when they go, and work together,” appealed Muntanga.

Among the FDD members that Muntanga defected with include; 2015 Munali constituency losing candidate Sonile Hamawa and two losing councilors from Lusaka.