IT is the duplicity, lies and lack of transparency from the Patriotic Front Presidency that is most worrying.
For a start, there is no explanation from Dr. Guy Scott why it has become imperative for the National Convention to choose a Presidential candidate, when no such procedure has been followed before. The Central Committee has always nominated Mr. Sata.
Former Secretary General of the PF Edward Mumbi has confirmed that Mr. Sata did not have any National Convention endorsement in 2005,2008 and indeed 2011. Why has this become necessary when the majority of Central Committee members have already endorsed Edgar Lungu?
What is even more puzzling in the decision to hold the congress at the Mulungushi Rock of Authority is that the venue has no water. The Mulungushi University has been closed on account of this problem. Health authorities have warned that assembling 6,000 people in this unhygienic environment was a violation of health regulations.
We are aware that a permit for the Congress has been obtained but it appears totally disrespectful and a major omission that the welfare of the delegates should be relegated to political whims.
The logistics, secretarial planning, security and rules for the Congress have yet to be worked out and agreed upon by the Central Committee. Is this realistic and possible in the next three days? Is it possible to arrange for water to service the needs of 6,000 delegates over 3 days or so? They will need water for food preparation, ablution and general usage.
However what escapes us is the logic behind the demand for a national convention. The Central Committee which had decided this matter before has made its mind known. There is neither the luxury of time and resources to subject an already divided party to a bruising debate that will further estrange Zambians who put in office.
The following has happened before.
On Tuesday September 23, 2008 PF Legal Chairperson Edgar Lungu announced that the Lusaka High Court Judge Philip Musonda had dismissed with costs a court injunction by PF rebel Member of Parliament Dr. Saviour Chishimba restraining Mr. Michael Sata from filing his nomination because his nomination did not go through a Convention.
Edgar Lungu together with Bonaventure Mutale argued that the Central Committee was the Supreme organ of the party w fully entitled to nominate a Presidential candidate.
Dr. Chishimba also strongly argued that Mr. Sata had contravened the PF constitution provision which stipulates the holding of a convention to elect the PF Presidential candidate.
Chishimba sought a High Court injunction to restrain Patriotic Front Presidential Candidate, Mr. Michael Sata from filing his nominations, by arguing that Mr. Sata was adopted by the Central Committee against the provisions of the party constitution. He argued that by this action, Mr. Sata and the Central Committee had violated its own constitution.
He filed the injnction becauset he was also interested in standing for the presidency but the Central Committee had limited or denied him the chance to have an opportunity for a fair contest.
But Lusaka High Court Judge, Philip Musonda dismissed the petition and stated that the party’s Central Committee had powers to decide and determine the adoption process.
He further argued that the PF had been in existence since 2001 but had never held a convention appointing anyone as PF Presidential candidate, and that he was being disadvantaged as a prospective candidate from filing his nomination in accordance with the constitution.
He charged that Mr. Sata’s Presidency in the PF was ultra vires to the party constitution that required that the party should hold a convention every five years but that none had been held.
The court did not only dismiss the injunction but also awarded costs to Mr. Sata who duly filed his nomination and proceeded to lose the election.
What has changed now that the Central Committee cannot nominate a Presidential candidate from a number of contending aspirants?
What has changed? Is it because the candidate adopted by the Central Committee is from a “wrong” tribe?
These are some of the issues being raised by the people, who believe that ulterior motives driven by individuals with an interest to protect are behind the current controversy which threatens to derail any chance of the Patriotic Front retaining power.
Zambians from all walks of life have been very disturbed by the current in fighting in the ruling party because it has exhibited lack of judgment and discernment.