The Patriotic Front (PF) has continued to suffer widening cracks with the latest division surfacing in Eastern Province where the ruling party has been split into two parallel structures following serious leadership wrangles that saw the suspension of the entire women leadership in the province.
The power struggle is centred on division between provincial chairman Lameck Mangani and former provincial vice chairperson Attan Mwamba who has been calling for his boss, to step down.
The Attan Mwamba led committee is demanding for an immediate resignation of Mr. Mangani whom it has accused of having failed to mobilize the party in the province.
The committee has further claimed that Mr. Mangani was not a PF member and his holding of the position of provincial chairperson was illegal and unconstitutional because he had never been elected.
Mr. Mwamba has also threatened to take legal action against Mr. Mangani if he continued to preside over the operations of the party because he was only imposed on the province and that his loyalty was highly questionable.
But Mr. Mangani said that those waging wars against him were fighting President Sata’s appointment adding that the party had only one provincial chairperson who was busy and preparing the party for the impending by-elections in the region.
PF officials at provincial level said that the rift between Mr. Mangani and Mr. Mwamba was serious and has affected the mobilization process of the party in the province.
The officials claimed the rift was sponsored by some named ministers from Lusaka who did not want Mr. Mangani to continue holding the position of provincial party chairperson.
“There is a scheme aimed at hounding out Mr. Mangani from the party and this whole scheme is being sponsored by the same people who want to kick out Kasama Central Member of Parliament Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) from the ruling party. This is a well circulated scheme which evil desire is to finish Mr. Mangani politically,” said one of the officials.
The other official accused Mr. Mwamba of taking the matter tribal, saying that Mwamba thought that top positions in the PF were a preserve of the Bemba speaking individuals and not others.
“Just ask him why all the people demanding for the resignation of Mr. Mangani hail from Northern Province and are Bemba speaking individuals? Ask Mr. Mwamba why the Bemba women protested in Lusaka against Mr. Mangani?” said the official.
The officials also said that the wrangles in Eastern Province have also spread to other parts of the country as a result of poor leadership at national level.
The official said that the leadership crisis the ruling party was experiencing was making it impossible for the PF to organize and mobilize throughout the nation.
Mr. Mwamba could not be immediately reached for a comment. And in an interview Mr. Mangani said the wrangles which have characterized the PF leadership in the province were as a result of the forthcoming by-elections in the province.
Mr. Mangani said that people who were claiming to be PF were being sponsored by the opposition to destabilize the party.
“I am aware of some people fighting me, Mr. Mwamba used to be a provincial deputy chairman in the Mike Tembo led committee but President Sata dissolved that committee and appointed me as the chairperson. So whoever is fighting me should realize that he is fighting the appointing authority,” said Mr. Mangani.