C/belt PF ‘fires’ 17 Roan officials who campaigned for independent mayoral candidate in last polls

C/belt PF ‘fires’ 17 Roan officials who campaigned for independent mayoral candidate in last polls

By Thulani Phiri

THE Patriotic Front on the Copperbelt has replaced 17 officials from Roan Constituency who allegedly campaigned for an independent mayoral candidate.

But the replaced officials, who have taken the action as an expulsion from the ruling party, say the action marks the end of PF on the Copperbelt.

PF secretary general Davies Mwila in December last year suspended over 30 PF officials in Luanshya for campaigning for Chishimba Kambwili’s friend, Famous Kabwe, who stood as an independent mayoral candidate against PF’s Nathan Chanda, who emerged winner.

In July in the run up to the August 11 elections, Kambwili vowed never to campaign for Chanda despite President Edgar Lungu adopting him.

And during Mwila’s recent visit to the Copperbelt, the issue of some PF supporters came up following the commencement of the purging process of those that supported independent candidates.

In a statement issued yesterday, new Roan Constituency chairman Mutale Bukula and constituency secretary Yotham Chongo announced that all vacant positions had now been filled.

“On behalf of the Roan Constituency executive committee, we wish to inform the general public that the vacant positions at constituency level, which were created as a result of demoting some officials who supported the mayoral independent candidate have been filled and we are now a complete committee of 24 officials,” the statement read. “In the same vain, my appeal to PF party members in Roan Constituency is that we guard against any divisive tendencies but work towards sincere support and respect for all our elected party officials, including area MP, Honourable Dr Chishimba Kambwili, who is also a member of the Central Committee. In addition, I want to declare that the committee is very much willing to work with the area member of parliament in order to continue fostering development in our constituency.”

Those suspended for campaigning for Kabwe in Luanshya Constituency included vice-chairperson Christopher Mutale, women’s chairperson Barbara Mulawisha, women’s vice-treasurer Margaret Nalungwe, women’s information and publicity secretary Idah Mulenga, youth chairman Frank Chiona, youth information and publicity secretary Boniface Sichone and youth vice-secretary Austin Kalawo.

From Roan Constituency, those suspended included acting chairman Joseph Kapelwa, his vice Terry Chama, secretary Charles Mwansa, women’s chairperson Agness Mkundi, youth chairperson Kelvin Chanda and others.

But the replaced officials said the PF was dead on the Copperbelt.

“President Lungu and Mr Mwila are now causing the PF to completely die. Our expulsion has now caused more tension and deepening divisions in the party. We are true ‘greens’ and founder members of the PF that would not allow newcomers to take away our positions,” Chiona said on behalf of the others.

“So we are wondering how we are now expelled. How do you expect the party to grow like this? The party is more divided. We are members of PF who have sacrificed for this party. Newcomers have benefited more than us, and that is the problem.”

Last week, officials from Roan Constituency called for elections to fill vacant positions instead of handpicking individuals.