Post Newspaper owner Fred M’membe is orchestrating schemes meant to discredit and purge all Patriotic Front (PF) officials who have launched a campaign to endorse Mr Sata as the sole candidate for the 2016 general elections, defence minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba has revealed.
Mwamba has told the Daily Nation in an interview that M’membe beleives that he made Sata win the 2011 general elections and that he had embarked on grooming a named senior cabinet minister to take over from the Head of State.
Mwamba has called on the general membership of the PF and the citizenry at large to ignore confusing and hate stories being peddled by the Post Newspaper saying the ruling party would at an opportune time deal with M’membe for scheming against President Sata and fanning acrimony in the party.
He said M’membe should not cheat himself that he had made President Sata win the last elections saying Zambians did not vote for the President based on what the Post Newspaper published.
A succession battle has erupted in the ruling party with two clear factions having come out, one calling for the endorsement of Mr Sata as the sole candidate for the 2016 general elections and the other strongly against the endorsement of Mr Sata.
Mwamba said the party was getting divided because of the selfish motives of the Post newspaper owner who he has described as a man who did not mean well for ruling party and the country.
“As far as we are concerned, no member has been suspended for endorsing President Sata. This man (M’membe) does not mean well for the PF and the country. He is dividing the party but he will not succeed. We shall deal with him at an opportune time for dividing the party” Mwamba said.
Mwamba said M’membe has been using his newspaper to scandalize and discredit party officials supporting the endorsement of President Sata because he was allegedly propping up a named preferred candidate to succeed the Head of State even before the expiry of his first term of office.
Mwamba said the succession debate in the PF that had seen the suspension of some party officials was being used by people who were against President Sata running for the second term.
Mwamba has vowed that he would never allow the clique that was allegedly against President Sata to win their battle because Zambians did not vote for Sata on account of what M’membe and the Post published during the run up to the 2011 elections.
He said there was a hidden agenda that the owner of the Post Newspaper was pursuing but that the agenda would not succeed because Zambians had started seeing through what was being peddled.
He explained that it was not the newspaper that would decide who would succeed President Sata when he retires from politics but that Zambians that gave the mandate to PF to govern would decide who would be the heir to the presidency.
Mwamba said the suspension of some PF officials who have been endorsing the candidature of President Sata for the 2016 elections was not only targeted at him (Mwamba) but was also targeting the Head of State so that an impression should be created Sata was not wanted by Zambians.
“The purported suspension of PF officials endorsing President Sata is not only targeted at me but also meant to knock out President Sata from recontesting the presidency in 2016. It is Fred M’membe who is at the heart of schemes of refusing to endorse President Sata because he has a hidden agenda. We know that he is using his newspaper to prop up his candidate and we are aware of his plans. He will not go anywhere with such schemes even if he believes that he is the one who made Mr Sata to become President,” Mwamba said.