PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says he is not a dictator and that the party constitution gives him the permission to prescribe names of candidates to be members of the party central committee.

And President Lungu says the People of Zambia are still in love with the PF government and that the party was destined to win the August elections.

Meanwhile President Lungu says it was unfortunate that while some opposition leaders are rich, they continued to call hard working Zambians in government as thieves.

Speaking during the closing of the PF general Conference, President Lungu said the party constitution compelled him to provide a list of members to be adopted as central committee members.

President Lungu added that during the selection of members he endeavoured to balance between regions and gender.

“Let me specifically address our good and dedicated members of the party who applied and did not make it on the final list of the 54 members of the central committee yesterday. In the PF, we must all know that there are no winners or losers when it comes to party leadership appointments and elections. It is important for everyone in the party to accept and defend the results for yesterday in the name of the party’s democracy, patriotism and loyalty. As much as we talk about balancing regions, balancing gender and making sure the interest of the party is not compromised, I did my best in trying to strike that balance. I did not do that on my own, I got inspiration, energy and authority from the constitution which gives me the right to submit a list to the national council. The national council saw it fit to adopt my list. If they did not, they could have provided otherwise. At the same time the law provides the national council to disapprove and approve names of those who have been submitted. I am saying this in response to the noise I am hearing out there, where some people think I am a dictator. The constitution allows me to provide leadership and I provided leadership,” President Lungu said.

“For those of you in the Eastern Province, where I happen to come from, originally of course my parents hail from there. I have heard your complaints that you have three members in the central committee. You have the President Edgar Lungu coming from there, what more do you need. If you don’t think I am from there then think again. You have people like Tutwa Ngulube who happen to be on the list of members of the Central Committee. I browsed through the list this morning, I saw names like Kebby Mbewe, I saw names like Elizabeth Phiri, on that list of members of the central committee. So, my plea is let us not be regional, I don’t expect you from the Eastern Province to be the first ones to provoke tribalism. We should be defending that list because you are oversubscribed, you have the President of all people coming from there. Others we would have demanded that you forgo all the positions so that you benefit from the bigger one of President, but that is something for another day.”

And President Lungu said the people of Zambia were still in love with the PF government.

He added that despite opposition parties being funded by some foreign elements, it was gratifying to him that they continued to lose.

“Don’t forget that the bigger picture is to serve our people. The Zambian people are still in love with us and we love them back. We have come a long way together and we must not depart from our values. We are a pro-poor party. On Thursday, 12th august, 2021 the Zambian people will have a choice to make. To choose between a party that is truly theirs to lead them, or, choose a section of people that represents the interests of their sponsors and a sectarian movement. For a long time, we have seen this during elections that certain foreign interests gather around, root for, and finance our friends to win elections. They have never won because Zambians are wiser and cannot be cheated or fooled,” President Lungu claimed.

President Lungu said those joining the party were making the greatest decision of their lives.

“Each day we continue to witness our new members joining us across all regions of the country, including the so-called opposition strongholds. More and more of our people are believing in us. This I must say is very encouraging. A warm welcome to those that have made their decision to join our party so far. You have made the right decision. I urge all those who are yet to join us to do so now without further hesitation, it will be the greatest decision that you ever make in life. A decision you will cherish for the rest of your life. A decision which will put you on the right path to contribute in concrete terms towards the development of the country. Join the moving and growing vehicle, join the Patriotic Front,” President said.

“On Thursday, 12th August, 2021, the Zambian people will have to choose between tested leadership and very untested leadership. I have been tested, we have been tested, we are here. And by tested leadership I mean, a man who has served in both private and government sectors at the highest levels. I have served in conglomerates such as ZCCM where leadership was integrated to all the echelons of the corporation; I have worked in Barclays Bank where management and corporate governance is of the highest quality and standard; and I have worked in government, where procedure is unshakable. I served as member of parliament for Chawama Constituency; then deputy minister in the office of the Vice President; the Minister of Home Affairs; then Minister of Justice; then Minister of Defence, and then President. Can you compare that track record?” President Lungu boasted.

He said it was unfortunate that while some opposition leaders were rich, they continued to call hardworking Zambians thieves.

“You will hear them come to you and tell you they are economists, lawyers, doctors or they are businessmen, what can you tell them? They know it all. They tell us, they are rich, and the rest who work hard to succeed, they are branded as thieves. They themselves are rich, anyone who tries to work hard and become rich is branded a thief. You see the paradox there. So, when you compare you think ‘well I am better off being in the boat’,” said President Lungu said.

“Let us aim and work harder for a landslide victory for ourselves as a party. I know we have the support of the Zambian people. I know we will get the landslide victory that we are looking for. When we contested under my leadership in 2015, we won the leadership of the government by 20,000 plus votes. In 2016, we got 100,000 plus votes. In 2021, we should get 500,000 plus. I can tell you that the future of the Patriotic Front is bright, I can tell you that the future of Zambia is in deed brighter because PF is in charge,” stressed President Lungu.