PATRIOTIC Front vice-president Given Lubinda says it is entirely up to former president Edgar Lungu to forfeit his benefits by continuing in active politics.

And Lubinda says in hindsight, there are things he did which he should not have done during PF’s stay in office.

Meanwhile, Lubinda says the entire PF membership is hurting and there’s need to dry those tears first before looking ahead.

Speaking to journalists, Friday, Lubinda said if Lungu decided to continue in politics, the PF was fully in support of his leadership.

“It is a constitutional provision that a former president does not qualify to receive benefits of a former president if they continue to be in active politics. And this is a personal decision to be made by the former president, we cannot make it for him. It is him to decide at what time and whether at all he intends to give up active politics. Because it is not surprising if he said he wanted to continue to be in active politics, nobody would stop him. He would forfeit the benefits and continue to be in active politics. That is a decision that he and his family will have to make,” Lubinda said.

“As for us in the central committee and the membership generally of the PF, we are solidly behind his leadership and we will leave it entirely up to him to decide on matters that affect him personally. His personal benefits do not affect the party, they affect him as a person and his family. And therefore, it is entirely up to him. However, the central committee even yesterday (Thursday) expressed their total support for the continued leadership of president Edgar Chagwa Lungu.”

He, however, said Lungu had already indicated that he would not be available for re-election in 2026.

“I am totally committed to contributing or rebranding of the PF and supporting Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu going forward. For those of my friends who are calling for a general conference I have to say to them that yes, this is something that will obviously happen, according to the constitution, the general conference will take place in 2026 but His Excellency Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has already indicated that he will not be available for re-election as the president of the party and will not be available to re-contest the republican presidency in 2026. This obviously will mean that the central committee will have to make a decision whether to proceed and wait for 2026 to have the general conference or to have an extraordinary general conference,” he said.

“When that decision is made, the public will be made aware. But our agenda now must be to pick up the pieces and move forward. I am very happy that I have been appointed at the time we have lost elections because it gives me this very important task of proving to everybody that PF is founded on solid ground that irrespective of this defeat, we are certainly still together and we shall work extremely hard to provide good checks and balances and to inspire the Zambian people to look forward to 2026.”

And Lubinda urged party members to introspect.

“I would like to appeal to all our members to remain patient, to remain resolute. Your leadership of the party has decided to conduct an introspection, a candid introspection. Each one of us has been asked to ask a question; what is it that I did which led to this? What is it that I did not do which I should have done? And once we answer these questions and we bring the answers together then we shall be forging the way forward. This is not time for name calling, this is not time for blaming each other, this is time for taking an introspective view of things,” Lubinda said.

“I, as former Minister of Justice and former member of parliament for Kabwata, I have also been spending sleepless nights agonising over what I should have done which I did not do. There are things that I did which I think in hindsight, I should not have done. All of us are challenged to do that before we make hasty decisions. Let us own up first, bring ideas together then we shall make important decisions.”

Meanwhile, Lubinda asked party officials not to make emotional decisions.

“I would like to appeal to all members of the PF, when you lose something that you hold dear, such as when you lose relations, you hurt. But you are also encouraged by people to be careful on how you make decisions because you make decisions out of emotions and you will regret those decisions. When you are hurt like all of us are hurting, the best thing is to sit back, lay back and recompose yourself before making drastic decisions. This is no time for making rushed, drastic decisions,” said Lubinda.

“All of us are hurting, members of the central committee are hurting, members of our provincial, district, constituency committees, all of our members across the country were hit unexpectedly and obviously all of us are hurting. We still have tears in our eyes. We should not try to look through those tears. Let us dry those tears first so that we can see clearly what is ahead of us.”