PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri says it is true that members of parliament from Luapula Province are very organised and coordinated than any other group of MPs in the ruling party, but says she does not believe that they are scheming to oust President Edgar Lungu under the umbrella of “Luapula United”
And Mumbi says she is aware that some MPs and minister are jostling to replace Vice-President Inonge Wina as 2021 running mate, a move she says is a waste of time because it is not a position that requires a campaign.
“I saw the article yesterday (Monday) in which Munir talked about me and Luapula United. I wish he said exactly as I told him. My father is from Kasama [in] chief Chitimukulu, village Machemba. My mother if from Chinsali, Shibalange village. So I am not from Luapula myself to be linked to that. But what is going on is that because the MPs from Luapula work together, people have given them that name. Yes, they can have their own problems but they work together and they support each other. And if you go further, you are going to find out that they usually have meetings. Even when one of them is sick, they makes sure [that] they look after that person,” Phiri explained.
“When you go to the MPs from Eastern Province, they are being called ‘ndine’ (I am me) why? because it’s one for himself and God for us all. The Muchinga clique, they are being called ‘tufillile munsenga’ because they believe they stab each other to break each other. All these groups have been given names according to how people are looking at them.”
She explained that Laupula united was not targeting to remove President Lungu.
“It has nothing to do with the leadership of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. And let me tell you [that] those people who have now started linking me and Given Lubinda to the Luapula united are just confused and they think they will divide this party. It’s far from it. We stand united and we are all behind President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. and I would urge all the MPs…do you know that from Muchinga, we have the deputy speaker Ms Catherine Namugala. She comes from Muchinga. The second deputy speaker comes from Muchinga and if you count how many ministers we have from Muchinga, you are going to discover that we have more ministers than Luapula. But because we don’t support each other, nitufilile munsenge efyo fine baletwita. That’s why we are looking confused as we are looking,” Phiri said.
“So I can tell you with confidence that that is a miss. There is no clique called Luapula United that is after President Lungu. People are just creating it in their heads. I come from Muchinga and I can tell you that the problem with us from Muchinga is that we even segregate ourselves by the regions where we are coming from. [It’s] the same with Eastern province. Catherine Namugala is from Buyombe, [it’s] the same with those from Northern province. We don’t regard them as our relatives but look at those from Luapula. You will never hear them referring to their friends to those groupings. That is why they are looking united. And let me tell you [that] even [in] Eastern Province where I am married to, there are fights between Chewas and Ngonis because they don’t see each other as one from one province. So let us not be jealous of our friends who recognise that whether you are from Chembe, you are from Kawambwa, you are from Nchelenge you still come from Luapula. Let’s just emulate them and learn to be united so that we move as one.”
She said it was true that some MPs and Ministers were positioning themselves to be appointed running mate after Wina.
“No, it is not even rumour. You remember mama Inonge Wina gave an interview when she was in the United Kingdom [and] that interview was aired live on BBC and she said she is going to leave the mantle to the young ones. But nobody can negotiate for running mate because that’s the prerogative of the president. You don’t even have to lobby, it is up to the president to pick who he wants to be the running mate. So it will be very foolish for anybody to start sizing themselves for running mate position because that is the prerogative of the president,” said Phiri.