FORMER PF member Masuzyo Mwenda says there is no future for the ruling party in Eastern Province because of leadership wrangles that are fueled by the top party leadership.
But Eastern Province PF secretary Joseph Kolosa says there are no wrangles in the ruling party in the province.
In an interview, Mwenda, who served as provincial information and publicity secretary, said there were a lot of divisions in the ruling party.
“This war which is in PF where people are fighting for provincial chairmanship, us as founder members of the PF in the province, we sat down and analysed the whole issue. You know the only elected provincial chairperson for PF here in the province was Lucas Phiri, who was unceremoniously removed, then they brought in Mike Tembo, then they brought Lameck Mangani and during all this time I was a publicity secretary. So I saw that these changes are not helping us and that there is no future in this party,” he said.
Mwenda said he decided to defect to UPND where he is provincial vice youth chairperson because he realised that the wrangles which were in PF were not helping matters.
“You know there are people in PF now who did not suffer for this party but they are the ones who are eating what we suffered for, they are the ones who are benefitting from our sweat now they are being haunted by our sweat. That’s what happens when you want to reap where you did not sow. These wrangles will continue and this is the reason some of us left and joined UPND. There are no wrangles in UPND from the time I joined in 2015, the provincial chairperson has always been Paul Thole,” he said.
Mwenda said the fights in PF would continue.
“The confusion in PF in the province started when the first elected provincial chairperson Lucas Phiri was suspended. Phiri was elected provincial chairperson in 2011 when we won, a year later he was suspended and his suspension came from nowhere. From there they replaced him with Mike Tembo, again he was also suspended and his suspension came from nowhere. Then they brought in Lameck Mangani, again his suspension came from nowhere,” he explained.
Mwenda said he served in the provincial committee under four chairpersons whose suspensions came from nowhere and without committing any wrong.
He also said for the party to do well, the provincial chairperson should always come from the provincial headquarters like Chipata.
Mwenda said if a provincial chairperson does not come from Chipata then that particular party could not do well.
“Other parties fail because they normally have provincial chairpersons in other districts. Now in PF there is a heavy fight between some guys in Petauke and Chipata. Now if they remove Lubusha today as provincial chairperson, that will be the end of PF in Chipata and most of the districts in the province if they are going to say we are not going to support Elias Daka alias Eliboma then there will be a heavy problem for the party in Petauke. Petauke district is a bedroom for President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. If they remove Eliboma and Emmanuel Jay Banda then Petauke will be a walkover for the opposition, they will score and score a lot of seats like what they did in Lusinde ward recently,” he said.
Mwenda said if Lucas Phiri was not suspended, the PF in the province would have been stable.
But Kolosa said there were no divisions in the ruling party.
“The PF is very stable in the province under the leadership of Lubusha. You know these divisions that he (Mwenda) is talking about are just perceived. There is political stability in PF under Lubusha,” he said.
On Mwenda’s assertions that if Eliboma and Jay Jay Banda were left out in the provincial committee, the opposition could easily penetrate Petauke, Kolosa said the party lost Lusinde ward in Petauke recently.
“If they claim that if Eliboma and Jay Jay are not in the provincial committee then Petauke will be affected, why did we lose in Lusinde ward? It means they don’t have the influence. Then a political party is not about an individual it’s a collective agreement,” he said.
On several changes at provincial chairmanship level, Kolosa said the problems that led to changes were not created by the province but by some over-ambitious people.