Serious divisions have emerged in the Patriotic Front Lusaka District Committee after it was discovered that some officials were offered plots at Northmead Market parking area to erect shops if they supported the adoption of a named councilor for the position of deputy mayor ahead of today’s polls.
And a 21 man committee of the PF district leadership has adopted Chawama Ward 2 councilor Potipher Tembo, Silwizya Ward Councilor Chikutano Nkhoma and Mpulungu Ward 23 Councilor Christopher Shakafuswa to compete for the position of deputy mayor.
The committee has also allowed President Michael Sata’s son Mulenga to flex his muscles against Munali Ward 33 Councilor Robbinson Kalota for the position of mayor. Party District Secretary Captain Devision Mulenga said that the district leadership had settled for the three names in order to foster unity and peace in the party. When reminded about allegations some of the adopted councilors were facing in the council, Capt. Mulenga said that he was personally not aware.
He claimed that the selection of the candidates to compete in today’s mayoral election was transparently done.
“On the position of deputy mayor seven applicants have been left out from the polls, this is in order to foster unity in the party. Issues to do with Shakafuswa and Chikutano were discussed and the party leadership felt that it was not the basis for stopping people from contesting,” said Capt. Mulenga.
Those rejected are Humphrey Kapapula from Lubwa ward 15 and George Nyendwa, Casius Nyendwa from Kabwata Ward Six, Joyce Banda of Kamwala Ward five, Maggie Zulu from Chilenje Ward 8, Pio Phiri from Kapwepwe Ward 25 and Mcbride Sekeleti of Independence Ward 14.
But officials who attended an hour meeting held on Wednesday to scrutinize the applicants said that officials differed over the selection of Shakafuswa and Chukutano because they had issues which they felt should have been cleared with the party and higher authorities.
“It was not a resolution but a directive that we should adopt anyone among the three picked candidates competing against each other. But the preferred one is Chikutano whom the leadership wants.
“This meeting only lasted for less than 1 hour 30 minutes scrutinizing the 12 councilors who had applied. This was a predetermined process which should not be allowed to go unchecked,” said the official.
The official said that most of the executive committee members were of the idea that aspiring candidates with a questionable character should not be adopted, especially that some of the applicants had issues over allegations of awarding themselves council contracts.
The official also said that the committee found out that some party officials had benefited from the illegal plots being demarcated at Northmead market for shops, adding that it would be unfair to restrict the rest of the applicants when the party was faced with a huge challenge for leadership at all levels.
The committee also heard that the some named councilors have been tasked to spearhead the Wynter Kabimba 2016 presidential ambitions in their respective wards.
“Let me say something, the names which you have been picked long before now. We are just here to endorse what these guys want. Mind you there are the Wynter Kabimba 2016 presidential ambitions.
That scheme has not ended, these people are reorganizing and they want to have loyal members in councilors and deputy mayor,” said the official.
And some of the councilors spoken to said that the party leadership at the district level differed over the proposed names for the selection of the position of deputy mayor.
Early this week PF councilors threatened to boycott the mayoral elections if the party exerted pressure on the selection of candidates to compete for the two positions.