THE Patriotic Front central committee has upheld the recommendation by its Copperbelt Provincial executive to remove Kitwe Mayor Christopher Kang’ombe from the position of vice-chairperson after he was found guilty of gross misconduct.

Speaking when he addressed journalists at the PF secretariat in Lusaka, Monday, Mwila said Kang’ombe misconducted himself when he refused to bid farewell to First Lady Esther Lungu.

“The Copperbelt Provincial executive recommended that Mayor Kang’ombe who is Provincial vice-chairman be removed from the position because of his conduct. This matter, when it came up, the President of the party Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu had to declare interest and mama Inonge took over and deliberated on this matter. The central committee resolved or upheld the decision or recommendations from the Copperbelt Province. So from Saturday, February 29, 2020, Mayor Kang’ombe will no longer be the Provincial vice-chairman, he will remain an ordinary member and Mayor of Kitwe. So the Provincial executive committee will sit in consultation with the secretariat to find a replacement as soon as possible,” Mwila said.

Asked, if there were any other issues surrounding Kang’ombe’s removal as Copperbelt vice-chairperson apart from his reported failure to line up to greet the First lady Esther, Mwila said the Kitwe Mayor publicly complained about being given a back seat in church.

“That’s not the charge, the charge was gross misconduct. What had happened was that it was in a hall and Mayor Kang’ombe was not given a front seat where the Chairlady and the Permanent Secretary had seated. So he started protesting in public, which brought embarrassment and from there, he went and sat at the back seat. So when the Bishop started recognising all the leaders in Church, Mayor Kang’ombe was called and he went on the phone and he could not stand up so that people were able to see him. After the function, as in when the function finishes, you are supposed to line up and say bye to the guest of honour. But Mayor Kang’ombe walked out and instead of following the First Lady to the Presidential Guest House, he went home. So we thought that was gross misconduct and he needs to be disciplined,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mwila encouraged PF members whose government contracts had not been renewed not to feel rejected by the party.

“The other issue that the President emphasised on [during the party central committee meeting] is that the President has prerogative to appoint people. Once people are appointed, there comes a time when their contracts come to an end and when a contract is not renewed, it means that the appointing authority wants other people to also work in those positions. Therefore, it is important that all members of the party whose contracts were not renewed understand that it does not mean that they have been rejected. They just have to accept that other people also can perform those duties,” said Mwila.