FOREIGN Affairs minister Harry Kalaba has dispelled assertions that Patriotic Front (PF) president Edgar Lungu on Wednesday travelled to Zimbabwe to solicit for financial assistance for his campaigns in the January presidential election.
Mr Kalaba said the PF was enjoying a lot of support from its membership and had received sufficient financial support from local sympathisers and did not need foreign support to conduct its campaigns.
Mr Kalaba said insinuations that he (Kalaba) and Mr Lungu met Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe to solicit for financial support for the campaigns were unfounded as the duo had travelled to Harare purely on inter-party matters. He said the two travelled to Zimbabwe to reassure Mr Mugabe as Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) chairman that the PF was going to ensure that the January presidential election would be fair, free and transparent.
According to the National Assembly application of leave of absence from sittings of the House and committees, Mr Lungu and Mr Kalaba applied for leave on Tuesday, 9, December 2014 to attend to political matters with the SADC chairman in Zimbabwe.
Mr Kalaba said the Patriotic Front and the ZANU-PF were sister political parties and it was therefore appropriate that the leaders of the two political parties met to brief each other on their respective party general congresses apart from other party issues.
Addressing the media at his office yesterday, Mr Kalaba said Mr Lungu and Mr Mugabe have since renewed their commitment to continue cooperating after the demise of President Michael Sata.
“Allow me to dispell some reports you may have read in the media. During the meeting, the issue of funding for the PF was never discussed. I wish to confirm that the PF has recieved and continues to recieve support from local well-wishers. The need for external help in this regard will not arise,” Mr Kalaba said.
He stated that the PF had confidence in the electoral system particulalrly in the men and women tasked with the duty of managing the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). Mr Kalaba appealed to all contenders in the coming presidential race to be ready to accept the outcome of the January 20, 2014 poll.
“But remember that our party went through a sad period of wrangling and we need to demonstrate that the issues are behind us,” Mr Kalaba said. Mr Kalaba said PF president Lungu had clearly assured Zambians that the ruling party was not going to dip its fingures into the national purse and use public money for its campaign so as to promote a fair and level playing field. And Mr Kalaba has accused some opposition political parties of inciting farmers to rise against the PF government by exploiting matters relating to money owed to the farmers by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA). Mr Kalaba said Government has already released the money and that the farmers across the country were currently being paid, adding that the money owed included payments to transporters for the delivery of inputs.
Meanwhile, some University of Zambia (UNZA) students have declared that they will support and campaign for PF president Lungu so that he could uphold late president Michael Sata’s legacy and continue with his vision of creating more jobs and putting more money in people’s pockets.
Goodhope Mwewa, Noris Mwashi and Wilfred Chilufya speaking on behalf of other students told Mr Kalaba, Chiefs and Traditional Affairs minister Professor Nkandu Luo, Works and Supply Deputy Minister Mwimba Malama and former Defence minister Davis Mwila that they had decided to support Mr Lungu because the transition period was too short to consider changing leadership.
The trio said they were happy with what the PF had accomplished in the last three years, stating the the economic infrastructure President Sata had embarked on should not be halted on account of changing leadership.