Former Defence minister Geoffrey Mwamba has now emerged as the favourite to win the PF presidency.
Sensing danger, PF Secretary General Edgar Lungu is scheming to stop the convention so that he can be handpicked by the Central committee as president.
On the other hand, there are plans to block former Secretary General Wynter Kabimba from contesting on charges that he is not ‘in good standing’ with the party.
Meanwhile, Lungu is plotting to use an old PF register and ignore the updated one just to manipulate the outcome if he fails to stop the convention.
Lungu has been informed that as long as the PF goes to the convention (conference), he will certainly lose to Kabimba, GBM or even Mulenga Sata.
Lungu’s problem is basically that he has no money to campaign either at the convention or for the republican presidency. He is depending on people like Alexander Chikwanda, GBM and others for sponsorship but he has been surprised to learn that they are also campaigning for the same position while telling him to relax.
On using the old register, sources say Lungu does not even know most of the people in the new register and did not have it until a few days ago.
“Ba Edgar is seriously handicapped. He does not have any information in the party as he thought that being SG is just sitting in Lusaka. Now he has to reach delegates as far as Kaputa in the north and Sinazongwe in the south, so he wants to stop the convention because he has no money or time,’ said a source close to Lungu.
According to sources, Lungu will argue that the party does not have money for the convention and that members will come out divided from the convention.
But sources believe that even if the power to chose the candidate was left to the central Committee, there is not guarantee that he will win.
“Even in the central committee, there are now about 26 members since president Sata died and there are other vacancies. But you know that Guy Scott will chair that NEC meeting and there are members of the cartel there so even there he will lose,’ explained a source.
Another source explained that attempts to stop the convention will even delay the PF more as aggrieved members may decide to challenge the decision of NEC in court since the PF constitution clearly stipulates that members must elect the president at a general conference.
On GBM being favourite to win the PF presidency, a good number of delegates talked to say they are looking at long-term plans for the party.
Some of the common reasons given by delegates talked to are that, GBM is already known country wide as people associate his name to the mealie meal he produces under his brand GBM and that he is a well known businessman.
Members also said that unlike Lungu, GBM could sustain the party in the event that the PF loses the presidential bye-election as he has resources. Members said that if Lungu or any other person was to be elected, the party risks going into extinction if it loses the presidential election.
Members said people like Lungu are just looking at the presidential by-election and have no plans or means to sustain the party even upto ‘2016 if we lose this one’.
‘We have been in the opposition before and we know how expensive it is but luckily we had ba sata who was good at mobilising resources even if he did not have his own money. Even UPND would have ‘died’ a long time ago if they chose a broke fellow but luckily they brought in rich HH,’ one elderly delegate said.
Other delegates said Lungu’s character is now known to the nation and they did not want to experiment.
One delegate from Ndola questioned Lungu’s integrity saying Lungu has been fired from main big organisations for misconduct and ‘criminality’.
“Ba Edgar awe. We are told he was fired from Barclays Bank where he was working as in-house lawyer after stealing money. We also hear he was fired from ZCCM for something to do with money. And we read in the media that his law firm was closed for stealing clients money so how can we vote for him unless he addresses these issues convincingly.’
One delegate from Chipata said Lungu is a very weak person and can easily be used by others.
‘We need a strong president not those who just go about pretending to look sick so that we can feel sorry for them. This time we need a health, honest person for president.’
When asked for second choice, most delegates talked to mentioned Mulenga Sata.
The other headache facing the other teams in PF is that they are not really sure what Kabimba and Scott are planning. Will they feature, Kabimba, Maureen Mwanawasa, Dr Christine Kaseba, Wilbur Simuusa or Guy Scott himself?