Warring PF leaders cease fire

THE Patriotic Front (PF) which has been engulfed in deep succession wrangles since the death of President Michael Sata has finally reconciled and has called for unity, peace and harmony among its members.

Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba said Cabinet ministers yesterday unanimously resolved to put their personal differences aside and proposed to Acting President Guy Scott to amend the scheduled Cabinet agenda to discuss the state of the nation so as to reduce tension in the party and the nation as a whole.

Mr Kalaba said Dr Scott agreed to the proposal and the meeting was held in a reconciliatory atmosphere and that it was resolved that all the 16 suspended Central Committee members should be allowed to attend the Central Committee meeting scheduled for today.

The 16 Central Committee members have since been reprieved and will attend the Central Committee meeting today at State House to discuss the adoption process of a presidential candidate

But when contacted, Dr Scott refused to talk to this reporter charging that he does not give interviews to the Daily Nation.

“Can I help you, no! no! No, I do not give interviews to the Daily Nation, goodbye,” Dr Scott said before cutting the line.

By press time, Dr Scott had called for an emergency meeting with all the 16 Central Committee members he suspended on Saturday.

But the Daily Nation has been informed that Dr Scott was compelled to amend a Cabinet meeting agenda and tabled the state of the nation after 14 ministers threatened to walk out of the meeting if the political environment and tension was not going to be addressed.

Dr Scott was also asked to immediately reverse the suspension of the 16 Central Committee members for the sake of unity and peace in the party.

The ministers who started arriving at State House as early as 08:00 hours for the Cabinet meeting threatened to storm out of the meeting if Dr Scott was going to continue with his stance and alleged dictatorial traits in the governance of the Patriotic Front (PF) and national affairs.

Cabinet was scheduled to discuss the budget for the January presidential election but 14 out of 18 ministers warned Dr Scott that they were going to walk out of the meeting if he was going to insist to stick to the agenda when there was so much tension in the country as a result of the continued succession wrangles in the ruling party.

The ministers said there was need for the PF leadership to bury their differences and reconcile so that the party could go for a general conference united.

Meanwhile, the Zambia National Broadcasting Cooperation has blasted Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili, Patriotic Front deputy secretary general Anthony Kasolo, his brother at the Ministry of Information Chanda Kasolo, Chongwe Member of Parliament Sylvia Masebo and Vice-President Guy Scott’s senior private secretary Robert Kamalata for verbally abusing and threatening the national broadcaster’s staff and threatening them with dismissals.

ZNBC board chairman John Mulwila has since banned the PF officials and ministers from storming newsrooms and has ordered that from now on, all ministers and party officials would have written and signed statements because the national broadcaster was not a political battle field.

Dr Mulwila said Mr Kambwili, the two Kasolos. Ms Masebo and Mr Kamalata had no authority to dictate which stories should be broadcast because ZNBC had an editorial policy which had a candid complaints procedure.

Dr Mulwila said what happened on Sunday when Mr Kambwili and Mr Kasolo stormed ZNBC newsroom and harassed and ordered director of news and current affairs Kenneth Maduma to drop stories on PF chairperson Inonge Wina and UPND president Hakainde Hichilema was unacceptable and a criminal offence.

“What happened last night (Sunday) where Mr Kambwili and Mr Kasolo stormed the newsroom, harassed and ordered Mr Maduma in front of his staff to remove the stories on Ms Wina and Mr Hichilema is unacceptable and should be condemned in strongest terms. The threats by Mr Kambwili to dismiss Mr Maduma and his staff from employment on account of doing their professional work do not only amount to abuse of authority of office but it is also a crime,” Dr Mulwila said.

He said the ZNBC board was equally disappointed that Ms Masebo had the audacity to verbally abuse Mr Maduma on telephone and ordering him to ignore Ms Wina’s story.

ZNBC is further disturbed that Mr Kamalata, a senior private secretary in the office of the Vice-President could call Mr Maduma and accuse him and newsroom staff of having an agenda of working against the party in government.

“It is also unacceptable that Mr Kamalata, a civil servant had the audacity to threaten ZNBC newsroom staff with dismissals which is outside his authority and power. And sadly the conduct of Mr Kambwili and Ms Masebo comes barely a week after the new Permanent Secretary for Information and Broadcasting Chanda Kasolo came to ZNBC newsroom and ordered staff to stop using all stories from the opposition political parties and anyone endorsing the candidature of Defence and Justice Minister Edgar Lungu for the PF presidency.” Dr Mulwila said.