PF Secretary General Davies Mwila says the party is too sweet and popular as evidenced by people who are campaigning in some constituencies, hoping to be adopted to stand on the ruling party ticket.

And Mwila has announced that the party’s general conference will be held between July and June this year, saying while the central committee has announced President Edgar Lungu as sole candidate, anyone is free to challenge him.

Meanwhile, the PF has adopted Francis Mulenga as candidate for the Chilubi by-election slated for February 13, 2020.

Speaking at a press briefing, Sunday, Mwila said no one was allowed to campaign in constituencies that had had incumbent PF members of parliament.

He was responding to a question from a journalist who wanted to know if some people who were campaigning for adoption in various constituencies had the blessings of his office.

“Firstly, the party is too popular, it is too sweet. We have made a decision as the central committee that no one is allowed to campaign in those constituencies where we have PF incumbent members of parliament. And I would appeal to the provincial leadership to ensure that that directive is adhered to. They have to follow that instruction [and] anyone who is going against that directive, disciplinary action must be taken. The central committee will make a decision when campaigns can start and if they are campaigning, they are not coming from this office,” Mwila said.

And Mwila said the general conference would be held in Kabwe.

“Further, in line with our party Constitution as well Article 60 of the republican constitution, the party will this year go for an elective general conference to chose a party president who shall also be the party’s presidential candidate for the 2021 general elections. We are going to the general conference and it is an elective conference and of course we have to look at amendments for the party constitutions and also we will look at the approval of the manifesto and other issues. We challenge other parties to emulate the good democratic record of the PF by also holding democratic conventions,” Mwila said.

“So we expect to hold this conference between June and July this year and the possibility is there that this conference can be held in Kabwe because that is where we have facilities that accommodate 2,000 delegates who are coming from the 10 provinces. Us as the central committee we have given a position that we are going with President Edgar Lungu in 2021 but we are democratic. We will allow anyone who wants to come and challenge the President. We expect to proceed with the provincial elections and we are going to do elections in Northern Province after the by-elections in Chilubi and in March we are going to do Muchinga we have to finish all the elections before May.”

Meanwhile, Mwila announced that Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya and PF legal chairman Brian Mundubile had been appointed as campaign managers for the Chilubi by-election.

“Following the untimely death of honorable Rosaria Fundanga, the Electoral commission of Zambia has set 13th February 2020 as the date for the Chilubi by-elections. On the same date, five local government by-elections will take place in Nachikungu Ward in Kalomo District, Sinafala Ward in Gwembe District, Kakwacha Ward in Mitete District, Kaande Ward in Mongu and Lukau Ward in Lukulu District,” Mwila said.

“The PF received 17 applications from aspiring candidates for the Chilubi by elections. This overwhelming response shows how popular and attractive our party is. The PF central committee has adopted Francis Fube, former district commissioner of Kaputa, as our candidate. The central committee has appointed Dr Chitalu Chilufya and Brian Mundubile as our campaign managers.”

Mwila said the campaign managers would be deputized by Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, second deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mwiimba Malama and Bangueulu member of parliament Anthony Kasandwe.

Mwila also said Minster of Finance Dr Bwalya Ng’andu had appeared before the PF central committee to give an update on policy interventions that government had proposed in order to enhance debt management and economic growth.

“The central committee invited the Minister of Finance Dr Bwalya Ng’andu to give an update on 2019 macroeconomic development and economic outlook for 2020. In his update, the minister informed the central committee of the specific policy interventions that government has proposed in order to enhance debt management and economic growth. These measure include the following; putting a stop to the contraction of new loans, re-scoping of two-thirds of the loans that have been contracted but not yet disbursed, enhancing domestic resource mobilization. Clearing arrears, cutting down on wasteful spending and enhancing engagements with our cooperating partners,” said Mwila

“The Central Committee directed the Ministry of Energy to amicably resolve the impasse between the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) and Zesco. As you might be aware, CEC is the single bulk buyer of power from Zesco talks to extend an agreement which allows CEC to buy power in bulk from Zesco for resale to mining companies have stalled, meanwhile the contract between Zesco and CEC expires in March 2020. In view of the above, the Central Committee has given the Ministry of Energy up to the end of February, 2020 to resolve the matter of Bulk Supply between Zesco and CEC.”