The ruling Patriotic Front (PF) yesterday held a crucial central committee crisis meeting at which they were plotting the possibility of having President Michael Sata make a surprise public appearance in Mangango Constituency to allay fears that he is incapable of performing his presidential functions.
The central committee decided that President Sata must make a surprise visit to Mangango for the first time in almost two months since his withdrawal from public appearance on June 20th, 2014.
Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba who is PF secretary general and other senior government and party officials are today expected in Kaoma to prepare ground for the surprise visit by President Sata.
Sources have told the Daily Nation that the ruling party is desperate to win the Mangango by-election and have put in every effort to avoid a repeat of what happened in Katuba where the ruling party was trounced by the United Party for National Development (UPND).
According to sources, President Sata’s surprise public appearance to Mangango would help clear speculations and innuendoes surrounding his health and the feat would also be a means of shaming doomsayers who have been asking the ruling party to disclose the whereabouts of the Head of State.
The sources said Mr Kabimba would today lead an advance party of senior government and party officials adding that the increased number of police in Kaoma and Mangango was not by coincidence because President Sata was being expected in Mangango.
The sources said the central committee meeting which took place at State House resolved that following President Sata prolonged absence from public; it would be politically correct and advantageous for the ruling party to use the Head of State to campaign.
The PF is determined to have the Mangango seat and the defeat would be a sign that their popularity had waned in only the last three years the ruling party has been in power.
The last time President Sata was seen and heard was on Thursday, June 19th 2014 when the Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao paid a courtesy call on him.
On the night of Friday, 20th June, 2014, President Sata quietly left for Tel Aviv in Israel for a working holiday and the Head of State was in the Middle East country for two weeks.
His travel to Israel sparked a flurry of speculation and innuendoes about his health status especially after the Jerusalem Post reported that President Sata was in Israel for medical attention and not a working holiday.
And since his return, President Sata has not been heard from serve for the still pictures reportedly chairing a cabinet meeting, visiting his son Kazimu admitted to Johannesburg’s Milpark Hospital and a swearing-in ceremony for Attorney General Musa Mwenye and Solicitor General Abraham Mwansa.