PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu’s re-election will largely depend on the popularity and credibility of the parliamentary candidates the Patriotic Front (PF) will adopt for the 11th August a general election, Wilber Simuusa has said.
Mr Simuusa, who is Nchanga PF member of Parliament, said the parliamentary candidates would be the ‘‘running mates’’ to President Lungu and if the ruling party was going to make a mistake of adopting candidates that were unpopular, there was a danger that the Head of State would find it difficult to win the presidency.
He said while President Lungu had remained popular and likeable by many Zambians, it would be the popularity and credibility of the candidates that would be adopted that would make the PF win the general elections in the first count of the vote.
Mr Simuusa said in an interview yesterday that there was need for close scrutiny of the parliamentary candidates because the electorate had become enlightened and new the kind of people they wanted to represent them in Parliament.
He said serving MPs who had remained loyal to the party and had performed well in their constituencies should be given preference because they were on the ground and would easily retain their seats with majority votes.
Mr Simuusa said there was a general perception in the ruling party that the PF had been infiltrated by outsiders who were positioning themselves to be considered for adoption at the expense of loyal members who had worked hard for the party for a long time.
Mr Simuusa said some of the serving MPs had misunderstood a statement by PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri that unpopular candidates would not be re-adopted and should therefore be assured that their constituencies would not be given to people from outside the ruling party.
“I would in fact state that the candidates the PF will adopt will be running mates to President Lungu because they are the people who will make it possible for the Head of State to get re-elected. If we are going to have candidates that are unpopular, there is a danger that the President will have difficulties in getting re-elected.
‘‘We also have to deal with the general perception that the PF has been infiltrated by outsiders some of whom had been hostile to the leadership of the party. The perceived outsiders are positioning themselves to get adopted and are eyeing the constituencies of faithful and loyal serving MPs who have grip on their seats,” Mr Simuusa said.
Mr Simuusa said the PF had remained the most popular political party and that the adoption process had attracted a lot of aspiring candidates.
He said in his constituency, eight people including himself had applied to contest the seat on the PF ticket and cautioned that care would have to be taken in the selection of candidates if victory was guaranteed.
He said people were keen on knowing who would be adopted and that those who had immensely contributed to the growth of the PF should not be abandoned.