Patriotic Front (PF) national chairman Samuel Mukupa has directed all social media groups bearing the name “Patriotic Front” to register the platforms with the party secretariat with immediate effect.

This follows a youth propelled bombardment on party Secretary General Davies Mwila whom they want removed, on grounds that his alleged incompetence led to the party’s parliamentary by-election defeat in Roan Constituency last week.

The youths spent the weekend through to Monday posting various disparaging remarks against Mwila in different PF WhatsApp groups and Facebook platforms.

“Julias Komaki where are you? Come and give us a signal! Mwila must go! He has destroyed the party. The youths are also tired now, we will not continue labouring for the party without any benefits, as if we don’t have people who can talk to the President on our behalf. One day we will come and lock the [secretariat] office. We are not afraid batata, we are so many and we will rise against you soon. Look at the youths who are being chased by the police, you are not defending them. Some are in prison, some are being hacked by pangas, they are suffering for the party. But you move in your tinted car with closed windows,” posted one PF youth called Richard Soko.

“We need to start reorganising the party. PF is rotting every day and we cannot allow that to happen just because of a few people in the party who can’t do their job. Can’t you see what happened in Roan? Us we are still mourning the loss, maybe you are secretary general, you are not mourning, you are enjoying tea and cappuccino. Us we were sleeping in the bush, you were eating chicken and chips, we will not allow it. In fact, we are changing the names of the blogs (WhatsApp groups) from “PF youths countrywide” to “Zambian youths countrywide”. We need to talk to Kambwili, if it’s to bring him back, we must negotiate. All those who have left must be called back, it’s your job as Secretary general and chief executive of the party to bring back people not to segregate members,” posted another PF youth.

Komaki was the architect of the campaign that led to the removal of former PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba, before late president Michael Sata replaced him with Edgar Lungu who served on the position before ascending to the presidency.

In reaction to the barrage on Mwila, Mukupa directed his party chairperson for youth and security Stephen Kampyongo to summon administrators of all PF aligned social media groups to give them guidelines.

Mukupa said he had noted a disturbing trend where some bloggers were using the PF name to utter insults and demeaning statements against the ruling party leadership.

“The Party has directed that all Social Media Groups bearing the name of the Party, “Patriotic Front” shall be required to be registered with the Party Secretariat with immediate effect and consent of members should be obtained before they can be added. To register, group administrators shall be required to be bonafide members of the Party in good standing with traceable references. Only duly appointed administrators will be allowed to run online media on behalf of the Party. Members of the Party, including Party leaders retain the right to consent or not consent to be added to a group,” Mukuka stated.

“The Party has since directed Chairperson for Security and youth to summon administrators of all PF aligned groups immediately with a view to providing clear guidelines. The Party has noted a disturbing trend on Social Media platforms where some spiteful bloggers using the name of the Party are publishing and circulating insults and other demeaning and derogatory statements as well as voice notes targeted at respective Party leaders. In any case, the Party wishes to remind the general membership that it is against the law for anyone inside or outside PF to publish insults or any slanderous statements especially targeted at the Patriotic Front political leadership,” Mukuka stated.

He also warned leaders who are sponsoring hate agendas against their fellow leaders in the party that they will be investigated.

“The National Chairman has further instructed the Party Secretariat to immediately compile a record of all those who have a tendency of publishing insults on social media and report them to the Police immediately. The Party has also warned that reports of certain leaders sponsoring hate agendas against fellow leaders in the Party shall be investigated and sanctions shall accordingly accrue to all culprits,” he stated. In addition, we are calling on all members to report any Whatsapp group inciting violence and promoting hate speech to the Party Secretariat, ZICTA and the joint cyber security task force. While we promote freedom of expression, we must never degenerate into a society of insults and hate speech. These measures are important for the Party to maintain and maximise discipline both online and offline in accordance with the founding principles and objectives of Patriotic Front. In conclusion, the Patriotic Front emphasises that any abuse of social media is retrogressive to PF’s quest of promoting intra-party democracy,” read Mukupa’s statement.