By SIMON MUNTEMBA
I AM available for Patriotic Front (PF) presidency if the general membership want me to lead them, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Brian Mundubile has declared while the Eastern province leadership says no leader should be forced on members.
Eastern Province Information Publicity Secretary William Phiri has said the party should let democracy prevail and no one should be forced to support a candidate they do not want.
In an interview, Mr Mundubile, who is also a member of the party’s central committee said he had been receiving calls from members to consider taking over the mantle from President Edgar Lungu.
He said he was equal to the task if the general membership wanted him to lead the party.
“Of course as a party member, I have been receiving calls that I should consider taking over as Patriotic PF president. But the most important thing is that if you are going to go for that top job, you must first of all understand that it is a very big assignment, and a serious one for that matter. One, you must listen to as many voices as possible.
“It is not just like waking up with your wife and children clapping that you should be president that is not how it works. If the general membership feel that I am equal to the task, I will make myself available for the candidature to become the PF president. Yes I am available but we will cross the bridge when we get there,” Mr Mundubile said.
He explained that any member was eligible to contest the presidency through the national convention according to the PF constitution article 52.
He also called for old PF members who might have left the former ruling party for political adventure or explore option to return back home to avoid duplicating the same ideologies.
Mr Mundublile said the former ruling party had learnt lessons after the August 12 election defeat and it was in the process of rebranding to ensure it came out more organised and strong.
“We have leant our lesson more especially on caderism, we will do things differently in future,” he said.
He expressed confidence that PF was still a party of choice and it will bounce back to power in the next general election.
Meanwhile, in an interview, Mr Phiri said there was need for those aspiring to lead PF to tame their supporters before, during and after the convention slated for June next year.
He was reacting to a video of unidentified PF member who said only Mr Chishimba Kambwili would redeem PF.
Mr Phiri said the convention tone had been set and it was now time for the general party membership to show high levels of discipline.
He said it was also gratifying to note that some party members had come out in the open to state their interest to run for party presidency position at the convention, but their supporters must be tamed.
“This period before the convention may be dangerous to the party’s grassroots especially if aspiring candidates cannot control their supporters. Already we are seeing elements of some supporters trying to force a candidate of their choice on the structures,” he said.
He added, “Let democracy prevail, no one should be forced to support a candidate they don’t want. Actually, integrity issues should either qualify or disqualify some of these candidates.”
Mr Phiri said it was not healthy for party members to start imposing certain names as the only ones who could redeem PF now, “that is wishful thinking and undemocratic.”
He also said it was immoral for anyone to force the delegates to vote for one particular person.
‘It’s very easy to win at the PF convention but the issue is 2026, is the same candidate sellable to the Zambians? Zambians are not looking for a dramatist, or a loud mouth politician, they are looking for a Messiah to fish them out of poverty, debt, sickness, unemployment etc.,” he said.
He said insulting other tribes and being arrogant was not in the interest of anyone for now.
Actually, he said, politics has changed after PF lost the general elections, hence our tactics should also change, that’s the more reason that some old politicians should not be near the rebranding process.
Mr Phiri said it was time for PF to bring in new blood as party President and not those that want to use force to ascend to power.
“If anyone will go to the convention with the mind that these are pure greens and these are not, then forget about PF emerging as a united front any more,” he warned.