PF national chairperson Samuel Mukupa says the ruling party remains solidly behind President Edgar Lungu’s candidature for this year’s general election despite calls to select an alternative because he has proved to be effective at developing Zambia.

And Mukupa says the central committee is looking for ways in which the party can hold its general conference amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commenting on Democratic Party (DP) president Harry Kalaba’s remarks that the PF should select another candidate for the forthcoming August 12 election, Mukupa said the party was not interested in selecting another candidate as President Lungu had stood tall in developing the country.

“We have never had this good in this country. In terms of posture, in terms of commitment, in terms of humility, in terms of hard work, I think President Edgar Lungu stands very tall! True to the word, he is a democrat true and true. We have had five presidents before him and we know how all of them reacted on the slightest form of provocation, on the slightest criticism; we knew how each one behaved or rather reacted. President Edgar Lungu has his eyes capped on the ball of development. You can’t distract him with all these careless and protracted arguments, he is far much above that,” Mukupa said in an interview.

“In terms of management of the party and the governance, he lives true to his word that he would not want to leave any one behind. In terms of performance, he stands tall; tell me one district where there is no development? You are talking about a person who only talks about development; any other argument doesn’t belong to Edgar Chagwa Lungu. You know, social media we wouldn’t have had it good. Here, there are people who insult anyone at will. All I am saying is that if we had another president, I think his reaction could have been totally different, most likely aggressive. President Lungu, he is a special gift to Zambia at this appropriate time!”

Mukupa, who is also Road Development Agency (RDA) board chairperson, added that anyone wanting to succeed President Lungu should be prepared to fit in his big shoes as Head of State.

“We had the founding president whose style was also different. But I want to tell you that each one brings to the core his own form and skills; his own form of administration. But within the agreed hospice of our party constitution, but ultimately, it is for the general good. But in terms of comparison, I think everybody you talk to in PF will tell you that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has taken our party to another level. Yes, that’s the kind of leadership you expect to see in the 21st century, in the golden era of Zambia,” Mukupa said.

“We have had unprecedented levels of development. Anyone trying to succeed Edgar Chagwa Lungu better be very much prepared because he might not fit in his shoes. Zambians have appreciated Lungu so much that they, too, are in accord. For PF, we have a very big asset; for Zambia, they have a great leader! Edgar Lungu would be the most difficult target in the 2021 elections. This is a man that has come at Zambia’s most exciting and interesting time.”

And Mukupa said that the PF central committee was looking at ways on how the party would hold their general conference amid the pandemic.

“First of all, we share the concern with so many members of the party and truly to the fact that members of the party are obligated to not only vote and perhaps stand, but also to make such suggestions as necessary for the better administration of the party. The central committee has been equally concerned, particularly with the surge that has hit the entire world bringing down all economies and making it extremely difficult for human life to freely interplay with one another. From last year, we were moving very well with issues of selection from the lowest organ up to the province so that we can end up with the general conference,” said Mukupa.

“We, as the central committee including the President, are preoccupied at which is the best way forward and use the available technology. For instance, like what is happening nowadays [events] are now being held virtually. This is a very big possibility, which must be explored. I want to think that it is possible that it can be done. But honestly, it has to be a subject of the central committee to look at it. It is advantageous and it is less costly in my view than assembling so many people, the transportation aspect, food, everything, including lodging, it is a nightmare.”