By Staff Reporter
Internal wrangles and infighting has erupted within Patriotic Front (PF) as 29 aspiring candidates jostle for the position of Lusaka Mayor on the ruling party’s ticket. The PF has since started interviewing aspiring candidates for the position of Lusaka Mayor.
According to sources at PF secretariat, the 29 aspiring candidates who have filed their nomination papers for adoption to stand as Lusaka Mayor on the ruling PF ticket, have caused some division as they solicit for support to be adopted.
“There is serious infighting, maligning and character assassination among the candidates the party structures. Money is at play,” said a source.
PF sources disclosed that former Commerce, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Miles Sampa, former Lusaka Province Minister Mulenga Sata and former Lusaka Mayor Fisho Mwale are the main contenders for the race to Lusaka Civic Centre.
According to sources, the three candidates have caused some discomfort among some party members who felt the mayoral position should be offered to committed members.
“There is fear that the candidates might be picked on account of his financial capacity to buy off support for adoption,” said a source.
According to sources, the PF in Lusaka was at the verge of cracking as some aspiring candidates have managed to mobilise support within the party structures and set up support groups for their adoption.
“Just wait for the adoption. After we pick the party candidate, we are likely to witness a serious split among the losing candidates,” said a source.
The sources also disclosed that the infighting had reached an alarming level prompting PF Media director Sunday Chanda to issue a statement asking aspiring candidates to stop attacking or vilifying each other in the Lusaka Mayoral race.
Chanda confirmed the infighting among the aspiring candidates saying: “As we may be aware, insulting in order to market ones candidate of choice only works to the disunity of the Party and could potentially affect the member in question. This is therefore a clarion call for unity of purpose, issue-based intra-party debates void of insults and character assassination. The Patriotic Front is one family and let this season confirm that we are indeed a shining example for intra-party democracy.”
He said his party was concerned that some aspiring candidates have resorted to attacking or vilifying one another.
“Following the guidelines by the Party and the subsequent filling of applications by respective members of the Party vying for nomination on the Patriotic Front ticket, we have witnessed intense debate, which is indeed as it should be in a democracy such as the one which prevails in the ruling Party,” Mr Chanda said. “We have seen with pride our members taking to respective media houses to debate their personal ideas for the Greater City of Lusaka. This is part of the democratic space existing in the Patriotic Front which we must all guard jealously and ensure it leads to the unity and strength of the Party. There is however concern that some of our Comrades have resolved to attack or vilify other contestants in the Lusaka Mayoral Race. Please note that while members are free to support a candidate of their choice in this democracy, this must not give rise to character assassination and derogatory remarks. On the contrary, we wish to encourage conversations among members of the Party focussing on ideas to make the Greater City of Lusaka better under the Patriotic Front.”
According to a petition circulating on social media, 22 of the 32 PF Councillors from Lusaka have endorsed Mpulungu Ward 23 Councillor Christopher Shakafuswa to stand as mayoral candidate for the Patriotic Front and have since petitioned the Party Central Committee to consider the criteria of experience, someone sellable and would not be learning again for the next 2 years.
The 22 councillors have stated in a petition that the people of Lusaka deserve a candidate who has requisite experience in the running of the Council and one who would work well with both the Party and Government in delivering services.
The PF Councillors also stated that a sellable candidate should be one who is people-friendly like Shakafuswa as he has unshakably stood by the ideals and principles of the party and will prioritise service delivery.
In the petition reportedly submitted to the party Secretary general, the 22 Councillors assured the party that they have known each other best and developed a working culture that should not be broken by introducing a new mayor who will have to learn the job for the next 2 years and that councillor Shakafuswa was the uniting factor whom they are ready to work with.
Shakafuswa had in 2016 applied to contest the 2016 mayoral elections but came second during PF intra party selection, and was later the party’s candidate of choice for the Deputy Mayor until the confusion that saw both Tasila Lungu and him standing down to pave way for the current Lusaka Deputy Mayor.
Founder member Mubanga Chileshe is quoted by the Daily Nation newspaper as having said that it was a disgraceful and immoral for Mulenga Sata and Miles Sampa to seek election as mayor under the PF
Chileshe asked PF party structures to adopt Lusaka City Market manager Mwenya Matafwali.
Chileshe told the Daily Nation in an interview that it was too early for the duo to seek the position of mayor after they ditched the party and worked against it in the last general election.
“Even if their father was the founder of the PF it does not give the cousins the right to leave the party and come back at will, this is a political party which obviously has many loyal members who equally deserve the right to be in these positions,” he said.
Chileshe urged Sata and Sampa not to be selfish adding that their return to the party was not in good faith.
He said there was nothing wrong with them returning to the PF but it was immoral to return to the party with only the intention to get positions of influence.
Chileshe said the duo had held several top positions under the Patriotic Front and it was unacceptable for them to be given priority in adoption, at the expense of members who had always been loyal to the party.
He further said that if the PF was adopting on merit they should consider adopting Matafwali as he had turned around the financial fortunes of Lusaka City Market even its current form.
Chileshe said Matafwali had managed to pay workers’ arrears which the market owed to the employees and had against all odds raised revenue for the market.
He added that Matafwali had excellent management skills and should be considered for adoption.
According to the list obtained by The Globe Newspaper, among the aspiring candidates that have successfully filed their nomination applications are Lusaka Business man Trevor Ngandu commonly known as Uncle T, Lusaka Deputy Mayor Chilando Chitangala and youth activist Munir Zulu and Brian Hapunda. Others are former Mayor Daniel Chisenga, losing 2016 Kabwata aspiring Member of Parliament Clement Tembo, Pamela Kalenga Chipongwe, Kumbikilani Phiri, Franklin Sikazwe, Bruce Ernest, Christopher Shakafuswa, Mukondo Chendela, Crispin Kabole, Mwenya Mwatafwali, Chileshe Chilela, Caeser Banda, Balaam Mwila, Patrick Mwansa, Francis Muchemwa, Yosi Miti, Simon Mapulanga, Tripher Ng’andu, Daniel Chisenga, Horace Longwe, Deborah Mwale, Humphrey Musonda, Gabriel Kabombwe, Munir Zulu, Chilando Chitangala, and Gift Kasaro.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia has set Tuesday 26th June as the date for the beginning of campaigns for the Mayoral elections in Lusaka and Council Chairpersons’ elections in Chasefu, Chipangali, Kasenengwa, Lumezi, Lusangazi and Chifunabuli districts.
The commission has since advised aspiring candidates in the Mayoral and Council Chairpersons’ elections to lodge completed and attested statutory declaration and nomination papers subscribed before a Magistrate, Local Court Magistrate, Head of a Government Primary or Secondary School, Principal of a College, Commissioner of Oaths, Election Officer or Returning Officer on Tuesday, 26th June, 2018 between 09:00 hours and 15:00 hours.