Political analyst Dr Alex Ng’oma says whoever will challenge President Edgar Lungu at the ruling party’s general conference this year must have a lot of political clout because it will not be easy to dislodge an incumbent leader.

And Dr Ng’oma has urged whoever emerges as the President’s challenger to be courageous and bold enough to withstand the pressure of attempting to unseat him.

In an interview, Dr Ng’oma, a political science lecturer at UNZA, said President Lungu’s challenger should ensure that he or she holds significant political weight as unseating an incumbent leader would be difficult.

“Even after the announcement that there will be a [general conference], and that all positions will be contested for, there are still some sections within the PF that are saying that, President Lungu must be the sole candidate, they will continue to do that. You see, in a democracy, people are always entitled to their opinion; we must allow people to be entitled to their opinion; the only thing the party has to do is to manage these suggestions, all these pronouncements, all these aspirations, to make sure that they do not undermine the standing of the party. So, in short, what I am saying is that, what is important is the fact that the door has been opened wide for people to challenge, but then they must believe in themselves, they must bring to the table a lot of political clout because it is not easy to challenge the incumbent,” Dr Ng’oma observed.

He urged whoever will be President Lungu’s challenger not to be intimidated by the PF central committee’s insistence on having him as the sole candidate ahead of next year’s general election.

“It appears that the decision of the central committee has finally been overturned or overruled and that is the reason the convention will be held. So, if anyone is to challenge the incumbent party president, Edgar Lungu, that person must really have political clout and must have courage to be able to be able to stand up. You see, that is exactly what politics is all about, that’s why people say politics is a dirty game. It is not going to be easy, it cannot be easy to challenge the incumbent because the incumbent is already entrenched in the position; he already has a large constituency to support him or her, that is how difficult it is. Whoever chooses to stand up to him must definitely believe in himself or herself. I don’t think it is proper form to allege that it is intimidatory because the central committee has already made their decision,” said Dr Ng’oma.