Wynter Kabimba’s woes in the Patriotic Front yesterday showed signs of worsening when for the first time he failed to be among Cabinet ministers and senior government officials welcoming President Michael Sata at the airport.
And Daily Nation reporters were yesterday beaten in the presence of police Inspector General Stella Libongani.
Kabimba was conspicuously missing at the KennethKaundaInternationalAirport to welcome President Sata who was arriving from his United Nations trip.
At the airport, Patriotic Front (PF) cadres searched for the justice minister while singing songs littered with profanity against him and Vice-President Guy Scott.
The airport incident marked a widening of the rift in the Patriotic Front between Wynter Kabimba who is backed by a named daily tabloid and the camp which seeks to ensure the PF president stands in the 2016 elections.
While Defence Minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, Miles Sampa, Dr. Scott, Willy Nsanda, Colonel Gerry Chanda, Information Minister Mwansa Kapeya and finance minister Alexander Chikwanda were at the airport, those believed to be seen to be loyal to Kabimba were conspicuously missing.
And contrary to Vice-President Guy Scott’s statement in Parliament that Robert Chikwelete, a man who usurped the position of Lusaka district chairman following the forceful ouster of those seen to be for the Kabimba camp, was not legally in that position, President again recognised Chikwelete as chairman saying:
“Mr district chairman, where is your secretary general” as he proceeded to greet other officials before he boarded the presidential helicopter to State House.
And in the case of beatings, PF thugs manhandled Daily Nation reporter Wallen Simwaka before they went for George Zulu whom they kicked out of the airport accusing the two journalists of corresponding with the Zambian Watchdog, an online publication that has since been blocked by the state but continues to run on Facebook.
The thugs approached Simwaka and asked him where he which media he was working but when told that the reporter was working for the Daily Nation; the thugs refused and immediately hoisted and beat him while uttering threatens to kill him.
The beating occurred after a senior cameramen from State House whispered that the duo corresponded for the Zambian Watchdog.