After ignoring him for close to three years, the Patriotic Front is finally responding to Mr Kelvin Bwalya Fube (KBF). This is the ‘nonentity’ whom the PF Secretary General Davies Mwila and his deputy Mumbi Phiri have, all along, been saying he is not worth responding to because he represents nobody’s views.
But immediately KBF declared his intentions to challenge President Lungu at the 2020 PF convention, everyone who is eating with President Lungu in the ruling party has jumped to their feet in objection. All the provincial committees are issuing statements laced with threats against KBF, claiming he is not in good standing with the party to qualify for the presidential primary race. Uuuum? When did KBF stop being in good standing with the party?
It’s not like the PF has never considered KBF as a member worth entrusting with any leadership position. In March, 2018, the PF Central Committee wrote to KBF, seeking his services as deputy chairman of the legal committee. They wanted him in the top hierarchy of the party because they felt he was in good standing with the party and still very relevant to them. Unfortunately, or fortunately, KBF turned down the offer, describing it as an insult to his professional standing.
So, KBF is not an outcast, he is a bonafide member of the ruling party, recognized by the President himself. The only ‘crime’ he has committed is to go for Mr Lungu’s job. Suddenly, they are saying he is not a member enough and does not qualify to challenge President Lungu at the 2020 convention. Interestingly, no one is quoting any clause in the PF constitution, which prevents KBF from vying for any position. On why GBM must apply to be readmitted to the PF, Mr Mwila is very clear and categorical, citing Article 74 of the party’s constitution, but on KBF, he can’t state, which clause prevents an ordinary member from seeking election into office. This is very absurd.
But what must worry the public even more is the continued hypocrisy being exhibited by Mr Mwila and his PF leadership. Why is it that PF is consciously forcing UPND members to hold a convention where party members should challenge Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s presidency, but they don’t want PF members to challenge Mr Lungu’s Presidency at the ruling party convention?
We have heard repeated times in Parliament when Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo and his Ministry of Justice counterpart Honourable Given Lubinda, have ridiculed the UPND and its president for failing to allow internal democracy to flourish. So, why are they at pains to allow KBF to exercise his democratic right and vie for the PF presidency? Does intra-party democracy only apply when dealing with the opposition?
Bwana Mwila, why are you panicking over KBF’s decision? Why are you suddenly responding to a nonentity? If he is such a non-factor, why are you and your boys issuing threats on Mr Lungu’s challenger? Surely, a ‘nobody’ like KBF should not give you diarrhoea and sleepless nights! He must be very easy for President Lungu to defeat, not so? Well, let him come to the convention and lose from there. You are the ones who created the rules, and rules are rules; what is good for Mr Hichilema must also be good for Mr Lungu.
So, Mr Mwila must face the reality here, which is that many PF members are unhappy with President Lungu’s leadership. In fact, many PF youths are unhappy with Mr Mwila himself, so there is a serious concern that if the unhappy clique gets together to form a united voice, Mr Lungu may be ousted. When KBF called for an indaba to iron out differences in the party, he was rubbished and insulted, but today, the PF is afraid of facing the hostile members whom it has injured.
PF, you want democracy, and KBF has brought it on your doorstep, so stop running. Of course, we know that KBF, despite his own questionable character, is superior in eloquence compared to President Lungu. He is a Frederick Chiluba of some sort. If KBF and Mr Lungu were criminals, we would say KBF is a rather smooth criminal who speaks more convincingly.
But that’s the beauty of democracy; it doesn’t allow you to choose whom to compete with in an election. If that was allowed, it would defeat the very essence of competition. PF must not be allowed to choose who challenges Mr Lungu, ‘president’ KBF and all others who feel the urge to lead PF and Zambia in 2021 must jump on board and declare their intentions to remove mudala wa kasaka ka ndalama!