PF POWER STRUGGLE CONTINUES
By SIMON MUNTEMBA
THE power struggle in the Patriotic Front (PF) has continued with counter accusations from the two opposing teams dominating debate.
PF Eastern Province Information and Publicity secretary William Phiri says no one is against holding the general conference but the timing is wrong and Mwenya Matafwali should stop being petty by supporting leaders who are just interested in positions for selfish motives.
Mr Phiri said certain faces or names eyeing the party presidency that Mr Matafwali was supporting should never be near the rebranding process because they would just annoy the general membership.
He told the Daily Nation that it was frustrating to see some party officials using old gimmicks and schemes that cost the PF victory in the August 12 elections, even during the rebranding process.
He said it was time for those who contributed to the loss of the elections to lie low and play in the background.
Mr Phiri was reacting to remarks by Mr Matafwali, the Lusaka Provincial secretary who said that only those who were not popular on the ground are against holding an early general conference to elect new leaders.
He said it petty for Mr Matafwali to talk about who was popular than the other, adding that those who thought were popular and important than the party should form their own political parties and probably contest the 2026 general elections.
“It is sad how my brother Matafwali is bringing the issues of popularity in this discussion. There is nothing as being popular on the ground or not, everyone is popular in their own ways. If the so called popular candidates are indeed popular, then they would have stood as party President on their own political parties and probably contest the August 12th general elections,” Mr Phiri said.
He explained that the Zambian people and members were still hurting and leaders should focus more on going to the grassroots and explain what went wrong than rushing for a convention, just because they wanted positions.
“Let’s not be petty and casual in the way we handle issues of the party especially the holding of the PF convention. In the first place, no one is against the holding of the PF convention but the timing is wrong. Let the wounds heal and the structures reorganided,” he said.
Mr Phiri said the rebranding process should be all about change of mindset and the conduct especially of party leaders and cadres.
He insisted that it was premature for the party to hold a convention while there were gaps in the structures, with some of leaders having left their positions after the 2021 general election defeat.
Mr Phiri said, “when you have leaders who are just interested in positions, then just know there are elements of selfishness. Leadership is not about positions, it’s about work, character and integrity.”
He also wondered why some party officials were in the hurry to get rid of president Edgar Lungu who hinted that he would soon resign to pave way for a new party president.
“PF shouldn’t be pushing Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu away in a hurry, he said it himself that at an opportune time, he will resign to pave way for a new party president, but why should someone try to chase him away in a hush and haste manner?
Suppose the general membership still want Edgar Chagwa Lungu to hold on to the party Presidency until 2025, what will happen to those seeking the party presidency? he asked.
Mr Phiri said the convention would never solve the many problems the PF was facing now, adding that, “In my view, the convention will either break us apart or rebuild us.”
“One things for sure is that HH has raised the bar higher and Zambians seems to be taken with what he is doing and they are buying into his policies. Equally, PF needs a leader who will raise the bar of checks and balances higher not rhetorical politics. We seek for a leader with integrity and maturity,” Mr Phiri said.