THE decision to hold a general conference to replace late President Michael Sata is a scheme aimed at disadvantaging Edgar Lungu who has received overwhelming support from the majority of the Central Committee members and the general membership of the ruling party, says former PF secretary general Edward Mumbi.
In an interview, Mr. Mumbi said the PF had set a precedent not to select party president through a general conference when President Sata was hand-picked by the Central Committee in 2008.
“When the Central Committee adopted President Sata in 2006, 2008 and 2011 no one objected and even the Bemba clique in the PF supported the process because it involved their own,”
“I find this disturbing especially that I am Bemba. A statement attributed to sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili and PF deputy secretary general Anthony Kasolo who stormed ZNBC and told off Mr. Maduma and accused him of covering Mr. Hichilema because he (Maduma) was Tonga is wrong. This is sad. I have to remind Mr. Kambwili and Mr. Kasolo that Mr. Hichilema enjoys rights like any other Zambian under article 20 of the Constitution of Zambia. And their action is discriminatory and criminal,” said Mr. Mumbi.
He charged the insistance on a conference was a tribal scheme to eliminate Mr. Lungu from the race.
Mr Mumbi accused Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili and other Bemba-speaking officials of perpetuating the tribal talk in the PF when Zambia had over 70 tribes.
He warned that the tribal talk which has divided the PF had the potential of promoting tribal conflict in the country.
“As Zambians, we must be careful with this filthy Bemba tribal supremacy which is vigorously revisiting the adoption of Edgar Lungu.
He said even when then Kasama Central Member of Parliament Saviour Chishimba went to court for an injunction, it was thrown out by then Lusaka High Court Judge Philip Musonda.
“Dr. Chishimba attempted but failed to block Mr. Sata’s filing of nominations before the Supreme Court by applying for an injunction on the basis that he had been disadvantaged as an interested person in the PF presidential candidature,” Mr Mumbi said.
He claimed that although Mr. Sata contravened the PF constitution provisions which stipulated the holding of a general conference to elect a president of the PF party, the courts ruled in favour of the party. But Mr. Mumbi has now challenged the PF leadership to state whether the current wrangles were not tribal aimed at blocking Mr. Lungu who had received massive support from both the party’s Central Committee and the general membership.
He said the tribal talk aimed at disadvantaging others could be seen in the manner Mr Kambwili and Mr. Kasolo stormed ZNBC newsroom and threatened Kenneth Maduma with dismissal for airing UPND president Hakainde Hichilema’s launch of his 2015 presidential by-election campaigns at the Golden Bridge Hotel and the campaign rally in Kanyama.
Mr. Mumbi said it was sad that Mr. Kambwili and other Bembas were exhibiting high levels of tribalism in the manner they were conducting themselves.
Mr. Mumbi warned that it was criminal for Mr. Kambwili and the PF deputy secretary general to threaten Mr. Maduma for covering Mr. Hichilema on the basis of tribe, adding that their action contravened the law of the land.
He accused Mr. Kambwili of having abused his powers by storming ZNBC and attacking Mr. Maduma who was just doing his job.
Mr. Mumbi said it was time the notion of Bemba tribal supremacy came to an end because it had eminently become dangerous for the country.
He said it was important for the PF and Government to prove that the attacks attributed to Mr. Kambwili and Mr. Kasolo was not the ruling party and Government policy to control public media and prohibit opposition political parties from being covered.
Mr. Mumbi said unless Acting President Dr. Guy Scott puts his foot down and denounces Mr. Kambwili and Mr Kasolo for their tribal conduct, Zambia would not hold free and fair elections.
Last Friday during a briefing at Government House by Dr. Scott to cadres in support of his action to suspend PF Central Committee members and pushing for the PF president to be elected at a general conference, Mr. Kambwili threatened reporters from the Times of Zambia with dismissal.