A revolt against Patriotic Front (PF) Secretary General Edgar Lungu is brewing with opponents accusing him of embracing renegade members associated with former SG Wynter Kabimba, reports the Daily Nation Newspaper.
But Mr Lungu said as party secretary general it was not fair that people were accusing him of meeting people they considered belonging to other camps when he was not aware of any factions and he only met PF members.
The officials accused Mr. Lungu of betraying senior party officials by deciding to work with people such as Lusaka Province PF youth coordinator Kennedy Kamba who was not too long ago in Wynter Kabimba’s camp.
Senior PF officials were unhappy with President Sata’s selection of Mr. Lungu whom they have accused of associating with the Wynter Kabimba group and believe that the Kabimba group would still reposition itself to take over power.
The officials are now after Mr. Lungu whom they want out of the party for what they describe as failure to work with genuine PF members in preference to people who were in the forefront of dividing the party.
“The secretary general Mr. Lungu has adopted the Wynter Kabimba way of administering party affairs. He has surrounded himself with the same people who were in Kabimba’s camp. He has discarded people who fought Kabimba in order for the party to have the peace it is enjoying now,” the official said.
The official noted with sadness that Lungu who is also acting President and doubles as Defence and Justice Minister has now found people such as Kennedy Kamba helpful and they are now in his camp.
He said this was contrary to new secretary general’s mission to rebrand the party from its violent past by ejecting all who were a threat to peace in the party, he is still working with them.
“This is what party officials are annoyed with. Instead of disciplining Kamba and other well known cadres who created confusion and misery for the party, he has drawn them close to him.’’ they said
They also plan to hound out Lungu from the party if he attempted to take over the party presidency.
But Mr Lungu said he did not know any factions in the party and that he was meeting Patriotic Front members in the spirit of unifying the ruling party.
He said as the chief executive of the party it was his duty to bring the party together and not dividing it like others had done.
Mr Lungu said there was nothing wrong with him greeting Lusaka Province youth coordinator Kennedy Kamba who he met at Mongu Airport.
He also said no one was going to hound him out of the Patriotic Front unless President Michael Sata asked him to leave.
“I am comfortable with my position in the party and it is only the President who can ask me to leave the way he did with former SG Wynter Kabimba.
We are working to bring unity in the party and we should not be dividing the party, People should learn to say the truth and those saying there is a group planning to hound me out are lying,” he said.
The disgruntled officials who called for an urgent meeting to discuss the PF’s way forward after President Sata was evacuated a medical check-up on Sunday night, said they would not support Mr. Lungu to take over the leadership of the ruling party and Government.
“We shall not allow Edgar to take over the leadership of the PF in an event that things become worse and a new leadership is needed to take over.
If the President wants Edgar then he must be ready to fight us all because no one among us will support Edgar,” said an official who attended the secret meeting.