WE believe that President Edgar Lungu on the ballot paper means winning for the Patriotic Front in 2021 without any doubt, says PF deputy media director Antonio Mwanza.
Meanwhile, Mwanza feels President Lungu drew a legacy for himself when Saturday he commissioned the construction of a PF secretariat in Woodlands in Lusaka.
Mwanza was speaking on Let the people talk programme on Phoenix Radio yesterday.
Mwanza reiterated that the decision of the PF so far, from its sections to the central committee, is that President Lungu be the general conference candidate.
He hailed the President for his magnanimity and tolerance of his one-time fiercest critic like him (Mwanza.)
Mwanza, as opposition FDD spokesperson and deputy national secretary, was a critical voice against the Lungu presidency until he resigned and joined the ruling party in January 2018.
He has since become a dependable tower or strength in the PF.
Mwanza further recalled that President Lungu took over from Michael Sata as the Head of State: “at a very difficult time in 2015.”
“There was acrimony; we saw the party falling apart. It was literally divided into two sets and people went and others came back. It was very difficult! But President Edgar Lungu has provided leadership throughout this process,” Mwanza said.
“He has united everybody and he has embraced all of us, including some of us who were his fiercest critics. Those who were members of the Patriotic Front that had gone away and became so critical of President Edgar Lungu, he has embraced them. He has shown tolerance for divergent views, he has shown tolerance for criticism.”
He added that the President had also shown that he was the right person to continue providing leadership to Zambia, “owing to his economic, political and social record, in as far as the development is concerned.”
“So, we believe that President Edgar Lungu on the ballot paper means winning for the Patriotic Front in 2021 without any doubt – 50 per cent plus one,” Mwanza stressed.
On the ground-breaking ceremony of a state-of-the-art PF secretariat, Mwanza indicated that the move was a milestone.
“That is a legacy that His Excellency the President has drawn for himself. We are so happy that cooperating partners, our members, our sympathisers have continued to support the party,” he said.
“We are also happy that in 2019 out of the by-elections that we had, the Patriotic Front scooped about 90 per cent of those by-elections, including winning in areas where we never even had a councillor. We are so happy with the progress that has been made.”
On the impending PF general conference, Mwanza explained that the party started with elections of leaders at the sections, branches, wards, constituencies, districts and provinces.
“Ultimately, we are going to have the general conference in June or July to elect new members of the central committee and also elect the president of the party in readiness of the 2021 general elections,” he said.
“For those members of the party that are under suspension, if their suspensions are lifted by the time we go to the general conference and they are eligible to contest, they will contest.”
Mwanza, in terms of the delegates or the electoral college to the ruling party general conference, highlighted that such was already stipulated in the constitution of the party on: “who qualifies to go to the general conference and who qualifies to contest as a member of the central committee or as a president.”
“The decision of the party, so far, from the sections right up to the central committee, is that His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu must continue to be our candidate for 2021 and our president for 2020 general conference,” said Mwanza.