Almost all the members of district executive committee of the Patriotic Front in Serenje have resigned from the party, citing alleged dictatorial tendencies by the party’s presidentwho they said imposed a parliamentary candidate for the Chitambo constituency by-elections to be held next month.
The party officials accused Mr. Sata of having imposed the adoption of a candidate of his choice, Mutale Chanda, to contest the Chitambo constituency by-elections slated for August 13th, 2009.
Former party District Chairperson, Martin Chikate who was flanked by former District Secretary Charles Mwelwa, said 18 out of 20 district officials have quit the party and have thrown their support behind the FDD candidate, Evans Chola, saying very few people know Mr. Chanda.
Mr. Chikate said the officials felt ignored and sidelined even after they advised the party to pick either Mr. Philip Kosamu, a businessman who was first choice, or Mr. Evans Chola who was the second choice because the two were more popular than Mutale Chanda.
He said Mr. Chanda, a Lusaka businessman, would be fifficult to campaign for, because he is not known in the constituency and would not win the elctions.
“The Patriotic Front would have won these elections if only its top brass offic ials including Mr. Michael Sata had listened to us and picked one of the two local candidates. We feel discarded and frustrated and because of this, we have decided to just leave the party. We have decided to hit back on Mr. Sata over the Chitambo elections adoption, by resigning,” they said.
They said the alleged action by Mr. Sata clearly showed that the Patriotic Front is his personal party and he could do anything without accepting advice from anyone, because he is dictatorial.
They said they had not yet decided to join another political party but would throw their weight behind Mr. Chola who they said had a bigger chance of winning the elections.
“We will support Mr. Chola because we have already done a lot on the ground campaigning for him. We have no doubt that he will teach the Patriotic Front candidate a big and memorable lesson”, Said Mr. Chikate.
The other candidates whose nomination papers were valid included UNIP candidate Timothy Kapolo, a farmer of Chipundu area, MMD candidate, Dr. Solomon Musonda a medical officer and Evans Chola, also a businessman, for FDD.