WE welcome the decision by the Patriotic Front;s supreme policy and decision making body, the central committee’s resolution to unanimously endorse the candidature of President Edgar Lungu as its party President and consequently the Presidential candidate in the upcoming general elections.
Here, we will explain why the PF delegates at the general conference should vote for President Lungu as the party’s leader and validate his candidature in his second term bid.
We are of the view that the decision to back President Lungu is evident-based and responsive to the popular demands of both the PF elected leaders in various structures, the PF loyalists and the nation at large.
Other stakeholders that have made relentless persuasion to his second term bid includes the traditional leaders who have endorsed him, the church, the non governmental organisations among others.
President Lungu deserves continuity as PF and and Republican President because he has performed exceptionally and exemplary well in his service to the party and the nation at large.
It is public knowledge that at the time he took over as President, the party only had about 62 members of Parliament but as at now the parliamentary presence has been expanded and PF has close to 90 MPs.
Additionally, the PF support base in Parliament has attracted close to about 20 additional user friendly MPs from UPND, MMD, FDD and independents. This clearly shows that President Lungu has made the PF an attractive political party among people’s elected representatives.
Another political goal President Lungu has scored is the increase of the party’s support base from 2011. In 2011 the PF won with less than 50 percent of the Presidential votes cast and in 2016 the party’s Presidential vote increased to more than 50 percent of the votes cast in the first round.
We are well vested with the fact that during his tenure as PF President, the party has made inroads even in the areas that have been perceived to be UPND strongholds to the extent that it has grabbed their seats.
The areas in question are Western and North-Western provinces which saw high profile defections. In our view, this does not just yield political benefits but justify our long held view that Mr Lungu is on course to unite the country.
This did not happen in isolation but it is the various strides that he has made at the helm of the party and it has been made attractive.
We also recall the storm the party went through after the death of the founding father President Michael Chilufya Sata and it experienced mass exodus some high profile and key figures of the party.
Others opted to wage an internal rebellion against President Lungu. With time, President Lungu started on the healing process and the once departed colleagues have come back and the once PF rebels have come back home and made peace with party and the President.
With these key highlights of President Lungu’s style of leadership, we see no any basis upon which the party delegates at the convention should not vote for President Lungu.
While it is within the democratic rights of those wishing to challenge President Lungu at the conference, we are on the view that it will be betrayal of the collective will of the Zambian people not to ratify ECL’s candidacy. ECL is the man and let the game begin.
MARVIN CHANDA MBERI,