4R leader Eric Chanda begged for money from Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general Davis Chama for his campaigns in the January presidential election with the aim of splitting votes for the opposition political parties, it has been revealed.
But when contacted for a comment, Mr Chanda could not deny having begged for the money from Mr Chama but instead said his preoccupation was to discuss big ideas such as dislodging the PF from power.
Patriotic Front member Frank Bwalya has alleged that Mr Chanda had continued attacking President Edgar Lungu and the ruling party because Mr Chama had refused to give him money for his campaigns in the last presidential election.
Fr Bwalya said that Mr Chanda’s aim for participating in the January presidential election was meant to split the vote for the opposition, thereby giving the ruling party and President Lungu a smooth chance of winning the election.
Fr Bwalya alleged that Mr Chanda was bitter that Mr Chama rejected his “miscued plans to extort money from the PF” and had vented his anger on President Lungu.
He told the Daily Nation in a statement that Mr Chama told Mr Chanda that it was not going to make sense for him to finance the campaign activities of an opposition political party even if the scheme was to split the votes for the opposition.
Fr Bwalya revealed that after the 4R leader had made his unsuccessful bid to get money from the PF, he (Fr Bwalya) and Mr Chama were of the view that Mr Chanda’s thinking was fallacious.
“During the 2015 presidential campaigns, Mr Chanda called Mr Chama several times to beg for money for his campaigns. On one occasion when Chanda called Mr Chama I followed the conversation and I remember Mr Chama telling Chanda that it would not make sense to give him money for his campaigns. Mr Chanda’s response was that if he was going to be successful in his campaigns he was going to split the vote for the opposition and PF would benefit from the development,” he said.
Fr Bwalya said he was convinced that Mr Chanda, who he had fired as his secretary general in Alliance for a Better Zambia (ABZ), was a turncoat who was maliciously criticizing the PF.
He alleged that Mr Chanda was loudly criticising President Lungu and the PF during the day yet while other opposition political parties were not looking, he would be pestering the ruling party members and begging for money.
“Mr Chanda should wake up to the reality that PF will never give him money for his campaigns because it would be against the values of the party. He should just find means to fundraise for his party and criticize the PF government constructively,” Fr Bwalya said.
But Mr Chanda when asked if he begged for money from Mr Chama opted to skirt around the question without denying the allegations.
Mr Chanda said he was going to refer the question to his branch official in Kaputa to respond to the allegations that his participation in the January presidential election was meant to split the votes for the opposition so that the PF could have a smooth victory.
When pressed to answer the question on allegations that he attempted to extort money from Mr Chama, the 4R leader retorted: “They (PF) are feeling the heat and they are panicking. No amount of propaganda shall stop my agenda of removing the PF from power in 2016 and I will not waste time responding to small issues.”