THE infamous Zambia National Framers’ Union (ZNFU) cartel yesterday suffered another setback ahead of today’s elective congress when members shunned its make-or-break meeting, with insiders openly expressing their unwillingness to support Richard Lisimba’s candidature as union president.
Yesterday’s highly secretive and clandestine meeting which was supposed to feature some of the people who are doing some “dirty ground work” for the cartel ended in limbo without any way forward on how the cartel would weave its way back into the board after it became apparent that the group had lost the support of councillors.
Members want a complete audit of the organisation to facilitate a clean-up and reorganisation with untainted leadership.
An insider told the Daily Nation that all the people the cartel was banking on for support shunned yesterday’s meeting as they have reportedly joined the majority of the councillors who want former ZNFU president Jervis Zimba to take over as president.
“All the people they had invited to the meeting including someone from North-Western Province whom they were banking on for votes never showed up and it is clear that even if Mr. Lisimba stands tomorrow (today), he is not certain of victory.
“Despite this open rejection, Mr. Lisimba adamantly told the extraordinary meeting today (yesterday) that he will stand and asked for support from the members but this is wishful thinking. There comes a time when people get fed up and cannot listen to you anymore but this is one thing that the cartel dont realise because they are obsessed with power,” the source said.
And more information has emerged that during the District Farmers’ Association (DFA) meeting in Chisamba last week, a senior member within the cartel gate-crashed and attempted to lobby for votes from the delegates in today’s elective congress but was instantly rejected by white farmers who openly told him to leave the institution because he was part of the team that had brought ZNFU down.
An insider who attended the meeting in Chisamba explained that the white farmers openly told the cartel member that they would not support his manoeuvres to lure votes from them because he was part of the rejected team which the donors did not want in the institution if they were to continue funding it.
“He went to the DFA meeting in Chisamba as part of his campaign but was not well-received. When he declared his interest to stand, the white farmers openly told him they did not want him anywhere near the institution because he was part of those who had participated in the alleged ZNFU plunder.
“Mr. Ray resigned from his position as commodity representative and ZNFU board member because he did not want to be part of the cartel’s schemes. This did not affect the cartel in any way because they were banking on today’s (yesterday’s) meeting to finalise the election but were given a shock when the people they were relying on never showed up. All the councillors, who include small scale and commercial farmers, have declared support for Mr. Zimba to take over. With the current mood, there is no way this cartel member can win,” the source said.