President Edgar Lungu’s campaign strategist Rachael Chileshe says she is disgusted by how the Head of State is treating senior members of the PF who sacrificed their rights to put him in office and has proposed a convention where the ruling party will nominate a 2016 presidential candidate.
Chileshe, a Lusaka resident who vigorously campaigned for the PF in the run-up to the January presidential election, said it was an insult for President Lungu to say he only promotes hard workers into Cabinet, adding that former commerce deputy minister Miles Sampa, who recently resigned from government, was democratically nominated as PF candidate in Kabwe while the Head of State was imposed on the people through a parallel convention.
“His message (in Kitwe) that he would only promote members of parliament to full Cabinet ministers if they work hard is an insult to the long serving members of the PF. In fact, he (Sampa) is not the only one who is resigning; we have more because we have had enough of this,” she said. “Filyafine namupishishe Lungu mubantu, efyo nalamuponya nakabili. In fact, the majority of our members want us to go to the convention in 2016 before the elections. The mandate of the Patriotic Front central committee members has expired. So going to the 2016 elections without a convention to elect a president, will be infringing on our rights as members.”
Chileshe described President Lungu as an ungrateful man.
“Ba Edgar Lungu can’t start insulting Miles Sampa. When we were in Kabwe, Miles actually had more people than himself, except the election we had was by raising of hands which is not supposed to be the case. He (Miles) was fully organised. I was puzzled to hear the President say, ‘Those who haven’t worked hard should not expect a promotion from him’. Miles scored 34,000 votes for Lungu in Matero, but the President got 27,000 votes in Chawama. If Miles Sampa refused to bend, was he going to have that 34,000 votes? Has he forgotten that he only beat HH by 34,000 votes? That is the 34,000 votes which Miles Sampa produced from Matero, so he cannot start insulting him like that,” she said.
“We tried and fought hard to convince Miles to support President Lungu. I remember that I even slapped him one time to say, ‘Miles, do it for the sake of late Michael [Sata]’ and Miles put money in the campaign, even in Chawama, for Lungu to be President.”
Chileshe said PF members were angry that President Lungu has allowed Rupiah Banda to dictate terms to him and decide who should be appointed minister.
“Rupiah is dictating to him what to do, that is why you see that Bowman Lusambo is getting more money from the President than people who started the party because Rupiah has given him instructions. Today, Dora Siliya who was insulting the President is a central committee member within a few months of her appointment. It does not make sense,” she said.
“I apologise to Guy Scott. He told us, ‘You people don’t know what you are doing’. I wish I had listened. Now it is coming to reality, and I am saying sorry to all those people I intimidated during that time. Lungu has even forgotten people like Mark Mushili who has lost his businesses and houses over the party. We were walking midnight to canvass for votes. I am not asking for anything but I am just disappointed. I was not expecting this. I have tried to advise him but he has given instructions to security at State House not to allow me through his political advisor Kaizer Zulu. He (Lungu) has decided to bury himself.”
Chileshe said the ministers whom President Lungu was appointing were not adding value to the party.
“Michael Kaingu tore the speech of late president Sata. Does ba Lungu expect us to praise him? We won the election without Dora Siliya; what will she add to the party now? Today, we are just hearing insults even from our deputy SG. That is not the vision of the party. How are new members going to stand if the grassroots is shaken?” wondered Chileshe.
“So now we are challenging President Lungu to call for a general conference immediately. We are having problems because the mandate for the members of the central committee has expired. We need to go to a general conference so that we can have new members of the central committee, than bringing Dora Siliya who has only been in the party for three months. Their mandate has expired; it is over five years now so all of them are there illegally. We don’t have time to waste now, the President must call for a general conference so that we have new members. The one we had this year was extraordinary for purposes of having the January election. President Lungu needs a fresh mandate and so do all the members of the central committee.”