I need time to consult, says Lungu

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) secretary general Edgar Lungu says he needs more time to complete his consultations before deciding on whether he can go ahead and apply for the vacant position of PF president ahead of the Presidential by-election.

Mr. Lungu said this to journalists at Cabinet Office in Lusaka yesterday minutes after having a caucus with Acting President Dr. Guy Scott and other Cabinet ministers.

He said he needed time before announcing whether he would be filing in nominations for party presidency or not.

Mr. Lungu, however, said he was available for the contest.

“Please give me time to consult; I need more time to consult. I will get back to you tomorrow,” said Mr. Lungu before he was whisked away by security officers.

And President Michael Sata’s son Mulenga has threatened to withdraw his presidential bid if the PF Central Committee members and MPs go ahead to adopt the party’s Presidential candidate without subjecting the selection to a general conference.

Mr. Sata said the PF was not made up of the Central Committee and Members of Parliament alone for them to dictate and demand the route they wanted to go.

He said the PF belonged to the general membership which included branches, wards, constituencies, districts and provinces.

“I wish to express my displeasure at the unfolding developments within the PF. I am disappointed to note that wrangles have taken centre stage instead of us organizing the party in readiness for the Presidential by-elections in the next few weeks.

“We all know that the PF is a democratic party, from its inception, the PF has respected the will of the people and it has always thrived on the voice of the masses. This is evident by the resounding vote which we got in 2011 when we were ushered into office by the people of Zambia,” he said.

Mr. Sata said true PF members would always respect the tenets of democracy by way of upholding the constitution of the party and by doing the right thing.

“I have been observing patiently the succession wrangles which have been going on in our party, I must indicate that I am deeply saddened with the development, and that should not be condoned by all PF members. To that effect I wish to state that after consultations, I have decided to file in my candidature for the position of PF president and I am available to contest in the forthcoming Presidential by-election on the PF ticket.

Mr. Sata also donated close to K40 000 to help in the preparations for the PF general conference to elect a president for the PF ahead of the Presidential by-election.

He also challenged the 82 PF members of Parliament to also contribute towards the successful holding of the conference.