PATRIOTIC Front deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri says the ruling party now has three more provinces to conduct intra-party elections before deciding on a date when the general conference will be conducted.

In an interview, Phiri also declared that there would be no wrangles in the ruling party during the build up to the general conference.

“How many times are we going to answer that? We haven’t yet finished all the provinces, we are remaining with Lusaka, Northern and Luapula provinces. When we finish, that is when we will have a meeting as the central committee to decide the way forward. I cannot give you a specific month with this COVID. You have heard the COVID is rising so we have to sit and decide how we will do it. Leave people that are talking, we don’t worry about them. Have you seen any political party, which is having a general conference? We are the only ones who are having a general conference, show me the political party. There will be no wrangles, where will they come from?” wondered Phiri.

Last January, PF secretary general Davies Mwila announced that the highly-anticipated general conference would be held in July, 2019, which was was later postponed to last month.

However, with the emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic last March, all political activities had been affected, with voters still awaiting confirmation of the major party’s conventions ahead of this year’s general election.

“Further, in line with our party constitution, as well Article 60 of the Republican Constitution, the party will this year (2020) go for an elective general conference to choose a party president, who shall also be the party’s presidential candidate for the 2021 general election. 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,” said Mwila.

“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. 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.”