PF secretary general Davies Mwila has asked PF members calling for a convention to remain calm and wait for the central committee to make a decision.

Following the UPND’s mammoth rally on the Copperbelt over the weekend where residents braved the rains to attend Hakainde Hichilema’s address, several PF youths turned to party blogs and WhatsApp groups to air their frustrations are fear. The youths demanded that the party holds a convention immediately so that a new presidential candidate could be elected as opposed to President Edgar Lungu.

In the WhatsApp group called Zed youths countrywide, the youths expressed concern that the party had been stripped off membership after Chishimba Kambwili and Harry Kalaba left.

“We are already divided, Kambwili has gone with his people, Kalaba has also taken his share. Those who have gone to school have also followed KBF. Apa nomba naikosa, the voters we have are divided into four and HH supporters have remained intact. That’s why I am saying we will lose 2021, said one youth.

Bwalya Mwamba Chikwanda posted: “The first step in rebranding PF is by changing leadership.”

Another PF youth posted: “Mr Lungu has obliterated everything that Mr Sata stood for. They have totally moved away from what the old man was pursuing. They are pursuing their own things. Today a minister can go against the ruling of the court, even going publicly saying ‘I won’t pay the money because I wasn’t working for free’, do you think Sata would have allowed such to happen? So those are the challenges we will be facing in the PF under ba Lungu, as long as ba Lungu is at the helm of leadership in this country, his ministers and PF cadres will be above the law, a country cannot continue on that trajectory.”

But speaking when he officiated at the party fund-raising dinner in Mpongwe district, Copperbelt Province on Saturday evening, Mwila said the party central committee had already adopted President Edgar Lungu as PF’s preferred Presidential candidate and was yet to decide on whether or not to hold a convention for other office bearers.

“I want to make it very clear [to you] honourable Provincial chairman for Copperbelt Province, Mr Nathan Chanda that as Patriotic Front, we have a candidate for [the] 2021 general elections. President Edgar Lungu responded to our decision last week that he is ready to be our candidate. As Central Committee, we made a decision that we are going to go with President Edgar Lungu as our candidate for 2021 and President Edgar Lungu has accepted that he’s ready to go as our Presidential candidate. But I want to make it very clear that for us, we made a decision to go to a general conference. The supreme organ in between the general conference and the Central Committee is the central committee and central committee is the only organ mandated to make a decision whether to go to a general conference or not. So all those who are talking about the convention must remain quiet and wait for the Central Committee to make a decision,” Mwila said.

Speaking at the same event, Minister of National Development Planning Alexander Chiteme, who is also Nkana PF member of parliament said he was ready to go to the grave with President Edgar Lung, before pledging K20,000 cash towards the fund-raising

“We have raised this money in order to support President Edgar Lungu, and all those who have evil plans against the President are just cheating themselves. The way I know President Edgar Lungu, he’s a man of the people. Ifwe tulefwa na Edgar Lungu (we will die with Edgar Lungu). Ukwaya Lungu naifwe bene eko tukaya (wherever Lungu goes so shall we). We are going to be with the President, His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu from gravel to grave. So while we are supporting the President we should be supporting him in all not at shani shani uko ifwabupuba (we should not make silly excuses). So as for myself as Alexander Chiteme, this evening, just as you know me, I am pledging K20,000 cash to be given this instant!” said Chiteme.

Meanwhile, speaking when he officiated at the national women’s league fund raising breakfast in Ndola, Mwila regretted that women in the party were not supportive of each other.

“President Edgar Lungu is in the forefront supporting women. But the problem we have with women is that they don’t support each other. But what you don’t know is that once you start supporting each other, you will encourage the men. President Edgar Lungu has shown the way, he has given us a Vice-President who is a woman, the Chief Justice is a woman, director general at Anti-Corruption Commission is a woman, Drug Enforcement Commission director is a woman, the president for Constitutional Court is a woman, Commissioner of Police for Copperbelt is a women… we have women everywhere. But the ball is in our court, so you have to support each other as women in order to support the men,” said Mwila.

“We want 50:50 in terms of women participation in politics. Even when it comes to adoption in 2021, we want 50:50. We have to adopt 50 per cent men and 50 per cent women, that will be better. Moreover, women are always in the majority and they are the ones who look after us. Because when we are at home, we are all treated like children. There is a woman who looks after you [a man] and the children. So we are under you as women and we expect you to ensure that you work together, support each other, that’s when we can even expect this country to develop.”