THE Patriotic Front is going through very difficult times as it mourns the demise of President Michael Sata and while pondering a smooth succession process.
This is not an easy task as failure to commit themselves to either of the tasks would easily see the PF dislodged from Government and they will have no one to blame but themselves.
The PF has only been in Government for three years, after winning the 2011 general elections.
From the current situation, the ruling party can either emerge stronger or condemn itself into extinction if it fails to hold together during this period.
So far, the ruling party has exhibited serious signs of disunity after the death of President Sata as Zambians had witnessed some ugly scenes of protests after interim President Guy Scott attempted to fire Defence and Justice Minister Edgar Lungu from the position of secretary general.
If the ruling party is to pull out of this crisis intact, its leaders should look beyond self otherwise they will be confirming that the PF was Sata and Sata the PF.
There are many PF die-`hards who would want the ruling party to live beyond the life of late President Sata and this would only be possible if those in leadership avoid taking divisive actions .
It is not the first time that Zambia has lost a sitting President and the ruling party should have something to learn from how the MMD, the former ruling party, managed itself after the death of Levy Mwanawasa in 2008.
What made the MMD succeed in its succession process was the internal democracy it had nurtured and the former ruling party did not circumvent its own laws in coming up with a presidential candidate.
We are alive to the fact that the ruling party has had factions from the time it formed Government and it has even experienced some of the worst forms of internal violence.
This should not be allowed especially this time when the party is trying to carry on with President Sata’s vision.
We understand how difficult and acrimonious succession processes can be and the emotions involved.
It is during the succession process that such emotions could be heightened and it is our expectation that the political bond the members of the PF created over the years would not be broken by selfish interests.
It would add nothing to the legacy of the PF to get into the Guinness book of records as a political party with the shortest lifespan in government.
Many have said there is a group of unelected individuals with immense financial resources that has over the years manipulated the internal democracy of the PF, thereby causing a lot of divisions in the process.
As the PF goes for their congress to elect the successor to President Sata, the leaders must avoid the temptation to trade their political souls with silver pieces.
The party must shrug the temptation of allowing individuals outside itself to manipulate its succession process, for that would certainly leave the opposition political parties going into the presidential election with glee.