Confusion has engulfed the ruling PF in Eastern province ahead of the looming bye-election in Chipata Central with party secretary General Wynter Kabimba suspending the provincial Chairman Lucas Phiri together with five other provincial officials.
Mr. Kabimba says Mr. Phiri has been suspended for collaborating with former Works and Supply Minister, Lameck Mangani, to distabilise the party in the region.
Mr. Kabimba accused Mr. Mangani and Mr. Phiri sending a gang of youths to disrupt a meeting of the PF District committee and to insult the party leadership.
But sources have told the Watchdog that Mr. Mangani, working with Mr. Phiri has fallen out of favour with the ruling party who have done a ‘donchi Kubeba’ on him by preferring to adopt a Zambian of Asian origin Hanif Badat to contest the anticipated bye-election.
Sources said Mr. Badat is a Chipata businessman who runs transport and owns some shops in Chipata.
Recently, the Watchdog revealed that contacts in the Judiciary said Chipata Member of Parliament (MP) Reuben Phiri lost his election appeal in the Supreme Court. See story here.
This means that there will be a parliamentary by-election in Chipata Central within the next three months.
Late last year, losing Patriotic Front candidate Lameck Mangani had petitioned the election of Mr Phiri on grounds that the MMD member abrogated electoral laws and wanted the High Court to nullify his election.
Mangani succeeded in the High Court after Judge Evans Hamaundu said Mr Phiri’s donation of K1 million to Katopola congregation of the Reformed Church in Zambia was an illegal act.