President Michael Sata has decided to expel a number of senior party officials including Defence Minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM), Given Lubinda and other senior members who may habour presidential ambitions.
A well calculated scheme involving party Secretary General Wynter Kabimba and Party Elections Chairperson Sylvia Masebo has been mooted to secure the expulsion of all the original funders of the party who are considered to be an impediment to the presidency wishes and aspirations.
But the team does not know how to deal with Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda who has indicated his wish to leave government because he does not agree with the direction the President has taken on issues of governance, corruption fight and financial management.
These issues have split the PF Cabinet and President Sata has now decided to remove officials who he feels may not support his position on the matter.
Highly placed sources within the central committee of the PF, told the Daily Nation yesterday evening that President Michael Sata was uncomfortable with senior members of the party who worked extensively to ensure that the party won the 2011 elections, because they were challenging him on a number of very important national issues including the manner he was handling corruption charges involving the K14 billion Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) scandal, the illegal hand over of Finance Bank to Rajani Mahtani, miscalculated nolle prosequi offered by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito, to Mahtani and spate of deportations of business competitors to Dr. Mahtani.
The Finance Minister had indicated his wish to quit government due to alleged intolerance in the system.
“GBM thinks that the President trust him, but in fact the scheme is meant to undermine him and eventually destroy him politically so that he ceases to be a political giant and threat to Mr. Sata and the clique that has surrounds him,” a source said.
Sources close to Mr. Chikwanda said that, the Minister had in the past few months notified the President of his intentions to quit government but Mr. Sata and other senior members in government were not ready to let go of him.
The source said that Mr. Chikwanda had good relations with the international community and this was the reason why some donors had come forward to help the PF administration.
‘The minister has already notified the President that he wants to leave due to reasons best known to himself but Mr. Sata does not want to release him. We all know why Mr. Chikwanda cannot be allowed to go. The donor community has confidence in him and the exit will be a bigger blow to the PF,” a source said.
And another source said that President Sata and his nephew Wynter Kabimba feel that allowing GBM, Lubinda and other founders in Cabinet and the PF in general to stay on would expose the corruption in government.
According to the officials, the scheme to hound out senior members was being carried out by a clique of powerful individuals and businessmen who feel that their presence had influence on President Sata.
The source said that what had created more problems in the PF government was also the issue of making Mr. Kabimba third in government when normally a party Secretary General was nowhere in the government hierarchy.
“What is happening now is extremely serious if President Sata cannot see it then it will end up eating him. Mr. Kabimba has become very powerful and he is making all these moves in with the full blessing of President Sata,” they said.
The source revealed that the recent visit to Kasama by Masebo was in order to weigh the party’s strength in the constituency and the entire region which she found volatile.
The officials said that this was done with full support of President Sata who thinks that allowing Mr. Mwamba to remain in the party would not augur well for his business compatriots especially those that supported the PF in the last general elections, who would like a share in the lucrative public service supply programme.
“The President is aware and in full support of what was happening in the PF actually all these things are being schemed from State House. He is the one who even sent Masebo to go and humiliate GBM in Kasama but what they have forgotten is that people Like Lubinda (Foreign Affairs Minister) worked tirelessly to see the PF into government.
What they have also forgotten is that people like GBM contributed heavily to the party and actually to date they still fund the party. We were surprised to hear that President Sata has stopped Mr. Mwamba from visiting his constituency because he thinks that GBM is campaigning for party presidency in the region.”
The source warned that the PF leadership was being misled to think that getting rid of Mr. Lubinda and Mr. Mwamba would strengthen the party in the Northern and LusakaProvinces.