Wrangles in the Patriotic Front have deepened with Lusaka Province officials now demanding that the Lusaka Province chairman Geoffrey Chuumbwe appointed by Party secretary general Wynter Kabimba should be subjected to an election through a provincial conference where new leaders will be elected ahead of the national conference.
This follows an attempt by Mr. Chuumbwe to bring back Goodson Banda as Lusaka District PF vice secretary a move which was rejected by party officials and almost put him in trouble with cadres, as it was viewed as an attempt to overthrow Mulenga Sata who was elected chairman unopposed.
And the breakaway Patriotic Front has challenged government spokesperson Joseph Katema to explain the disintegration in the ruling party, saying denial will not help the ruling party deal with the numerous wrangles and factions.
The officials wondered why Dr. Katema was quick to deny the fact that the PF was breaking up when senior party official among them ministers were holding dark corner meetings in government offices together with cadres.
“I am shocked that Dr. Katema wants to deny the fact that the PF is breaking up. I am sure he is aware about meetings which have taken place around Lusaka at a known hotel along Kasangula road, he is also aware of a meeting which took place at Baluba Motel on the Copperbelt and he should be aware about Ministers and deputy ministers who have been tasked to mobilize Western, North Western, Copperbelt and the entire Bemba region as well as Lusaka and Eastern Provinces respectively,” said the official.
The official said that it was hypocritical for the government spokesperson to suggest that it was wishful thinking of PF breaking up.
The official also revealed that (today) yesterday evenings they were meeting six PF serving civic leaders from Kabwata, Matero, Kanyama, Mandevu, Munali and Chawama Constituencies respectively to chart the way forward on mobilization.
“Dr. Katema was supposed to talk about the wrangles that have continued to reign in the party and in government over Mulenga Sata going through unopposed as Mayor for Lusaka City Council rather than disputing the fact that the PF is cracking. Dr. Katema is aware that ministers are unhappy about Mulenga Sata’s ascendance to the top Lusaka District leadership and most of us actually have expressed an open disapproval,” said the official.
In a new development, wrangles in the ruling PF have taken a different direction with members making new demands that Mr. Chuumbwe should be subjected to an election at the province in order to bring sanity in the troubled ruling party.
The demands were made after Mr. Chuumbwe attempted to sneak into the party district leadership embattled Banda as vice secretary.
The move was foiled by youths who rushed to the district office saying the action was an attempt to overthrow President Sata’s son Mulenga.
But when contacted Mr. Chuumbwe denied scheming to overthrow Mulenga stating that Banda was only taking up his substantive position of vice secretary which he was holding before he was appointed Lusaka district chairman.
“Banda was elected as vice secretary of the district and when he was appointed district chairman, his position became vacant and after Ashell Kampengele was appointed District Commissioner. It is just appropriate for Banda to revert back to his position as vice secretary,” said Mr. Chuumbwe.
Mr. Chuumbwe said it was not his personal decision to have Banda revert to his position but that the district leadership that included Mulenga Sata had resolved that the former chairman be given back his position.
“Please talk to the district chairman about this because there is no way I would start scheming to overthrow an elected leader. Mr. Banda’s substantive position was vice secretary and after Mulenga Sata was elected chairman, it was resolved by the district and the province that he (Banda) should revert to his position. The meeting we called today (yesterday) at the district office was meant to resolve this matter and I do not see any problem,” Mr. Chuumbwe said.
And some youth leaders who attended the meeting accused Mr. Chuumbwe and Mr. Banda of scheming against President Sata and the PF by having links with the suspected breakaway ‘Fourth Republic Party’ formation.
“They failed to organize the party when they were at the district, there were heavy divisions which are now a thing of the past, so we don’t want them to start bringing confusion.
They should just concentrate on organising the Republic Party and leave the PF alone if they want to be at peace or we shall sort them out,” the youths said.