PF acting secretary general Nickson Chilangwa says over 10 people, including women, have expressed interest to lead the party.
And Chilangwa says he believes Zambians will give his party an opportunity to bounce back into power.
Speaking when he appeared on Millennium Tv’s “The Platform” programme, Sunday evening, Chilangwa said over 10 members had expressed interest to contest for the PF presidency.
“The challenge of creating jobs, we did not create enough jobs to absorb the ever growing number of young people, a cadre of young people who are coming out of schools, colleges and universities. The picking of certain candidates in certain constituencies and certain prominent positions I think did not work to our advantage. Out of the members of the central committee who were elected, there is only one vacancy. That is the vacancy of the presidency. We are going to the general conference to go and elect a new president for the party. After the general conference with the new president, then he will make decisions on what he must do, how he must run the party between now until the general election,” he said.
“He will decide on who he must appoint as secretary general of the party. The PF constitution, fortunately, gives quite a lot of power to the president. Fortunately, yes a president must be [in] charge. There are over 10 individuals who are interested in the leadership of this political party. How many other political parties have had that number of people aspiring to be presidents? But for us, there are over 10 men and women who are saying I am also available.”
Chilangwa bragged that PF had about 2 million members in its register across the country.
“The Patriotic Front, our party, the people’s party, is intact. The party is not per se about the Central Committee or the substantive office holders, the party is about the grassroots. Are our branches in place? The answer is yes. Are our ward committees in place, yes they are. Our constituencies, are they in place, yes they are. What about our districts, are they intact? Yes. So, this party is as strong as it has ever been, in fact, it is going to be stronger by the day. Is PF relevant? Yes, it is. PF as we speak across the country according to the registers that we have in our offices, we have plus, minus 2 million members. We believe up to today, despite the loss, that we are still the biggest political party in this country because of the general membership which we command. Is it relevant? Yes it is,” he said.
“We have got 60 members of Parliament, other than the UPND, we are the second biggest political party in Parliament, if that is not strength, if it is not that big then I don’t know what strength is. When you lose an election, it is like when you have a big funeral in your family, if you lose the breadwinner in your family, if you lose your mother there are always those shocks and those shocks are inevitable especially that you were very sure that you were going to retain power. We were very sure that we were going to retain power, we didn’t see certain under currency but yes we are here, that is water under the bridge. We must pick up the pieces and move on.”
And Chilangwa said PF would bounce back.
“We believe that Zambians will give us an opportunity for the PF to come back. There is no shadow of doubt, tulebwelelapo. We are coming back! Even a 5-year-old child will tell you we are not heading in the right direction. We are heading in the wrong direction as a nation. The President when he was in the opposition, he made some major, beautiful pronouncements, sweet. He said if he is voted into office at 10:00 hours by 14:00 hours the exchange rate would have dropped. He said once voted into office, the bag of mealie meal will come to K50. He said once voted into office, a bag of fertilize will come to K250. And it was a string of promises,” Chilangwa said.
“He also said ‘when I come into government the people I am dealing with, I have international contacts, we shall bring US$25 billion in investment. Money which shall create jobs, money that is going to uplift the living standards of our people’. Now, instead of the bag of mealie meal coming down, it’s going up. Instead of fuel going down, it’s going up every month. Instead of all the good the things that were promised by our colleagues in the UPND, by the President, all the good things that he promised us, he has relegated on almost all of them and that is not fair.”
Meanwhile, Chilangwa said the party lost the 2021 elections because of hooliganism by certain people who wore PF regalia.
“We had our own isambo lyamfwa (postmortem) as a party and then we looked through certain critical things, why did we lose the election, what are the under currency. One of the reasons why we lost elections was because of the behaviour of some of our members, the cadres. In fact, we have abused the word cadres and cadreism, basically speaking a cadre is somebody who is respectable, who is basically thinking through what they are doing but I think there was an element of hooliganism. And I think certain people came and wore PF regalia and they were not really PF. Because if they were really PF, they should have thought about the bigger picture about the party,” said Chilangwa.