FORMER Kitwe District Commissioner Binwell Mpundu says while he welcomes the PF strategy of announcing adopted candidates on nomination day in order to avoid other members competing as independents, the only sure way of curing the problem is by adopting popular candidates.

Last week, PF secretary general Davies Mwila said an announcement of candidates wanting to stand as members of parliament would be on May 17, to prevent people from going to other parties or competing as independents.

But Mpundu, who has applied to contest for the Nkana Constituency seat, said people were crafty and would definitely find ways to counter the PF strategy.

“I think that the call on party members always is to be loyal to the party and I think what the party is trying to do is basically to try and curtail all those who want to walk away and ditch the party which is a very good thing. Except in my view, the party is very strong at the moment that we can ever be scared of individuals who would want to walk away. What is left for the party is [to] position ourselves in such a way that even if somebody left, they wouldn’t leave us wounded because at the end of the day, no matter what we do, individuals who wish to walk away may still walk away. So the only way out for the party is what the President has been preaching all along that the party is going to adopt popular candidates,” said Mpundu.

“Because if the party sticks to its pledge of adopting popular candidates, I don’t think that the party will be worried about unpopular individuals because in any case, they will still be injured by the party. In as much as it is a good move to curtail anyone who would want to walk away, but what may save the party is the commitment to adopt popular candidates because only then are we going to avoid having independent candidates. Those who want to stand as independent they will still go, people are crafty, they will know and put mechanisms to ensure that they are not curtailed.”

Speaking when he met the executive committee and aspiring candidates in Lusaka, Friday, Mwila said candidates would only be announced on May 17.

“The closing date for receiving applications is 20th March, interviews by structures up to province will be 22nd to 30th. So you can start if you want on the 21st, after two to three days you send the documents to the district, after two days the district will send to the province, the province I will give them more time, you can even give me the files first week of April. Submission of provincial reports to send to the Central Committee, 12th April. Adoption of non-Patriotic Front held seats that is Western, Southern, North-Western, we will start announcing adoption 6-7th. We have to announce the candidates in the three provinces. Adoption of PF held seats will be 1st to 5th May. Announcement of candidates, I will announce on 17th. Bonse mwebafwaya ukubutuka all those that want to leave the party) we will not leave a vacuum. Kaili bambi mwikele fye mulefwaya ukuya kuma party yambi, bambi mulefwaya ukwiminina independent (Others want to go to other parties or stand as independent members of parliament when you are not adopted). So we will not give you room,” said Mwila.