PF deputy spokesperson Frank Bwalya says UPND president Hakainde Hichilema and journalist Dr Fred M’membe are not responsible for the internal wrangles in the ruling party.
And Bwalya says there are times when the PF has not been happy with positions taken by LAZ but they need it as it is a creation of the law.
On Sunday, Sunday Chanda, a former MMD cadre who defected to the PF after it formed government in 2011, made a myriad of accusations against Hichilema, Dr M’membe and LAZ, among others.
But Bwalya rubbished Chanda’s allegations and said Hichilema and M’membe must not be blamed for the challenges the PF was facing because the duo could not sponsor confusion in the PF.
“We want to make it very clear that as a party, we don’t hold that view. It’s not the official position of the party that Mr Hakainde Hichilema, the leader of UPND and Mr Fred M’membe, the media practitioner and lawyer in this country, are responsible for fuelling or that they are actively involved in a plot to destabilize the PF,” Bwalya said on Tuesday during Radio Phoenix’s ‘Let the People Talk’ programme. “That is not the view of the party. Talking about the official position, the official position is that there is no confusion in the Patriotic Front. We have challenges every now and then and we have capacity and we have demonstrated that capacity to deal with these challenges. The position of the party is that those two individuals have no capacity to influence what happens in PF, they have no capacity to sponsor confusion in PF and even if they had capacity to sponsor confusion in PF, they would not have achieved that in the sense that there is no confusion in PF that can be attributed to these individuals. There is no such thing in the party.”
He advised PF members to desist from the blame game, as that would not help the party excel.
“It is not our way of doing things to blame other people for our own challenges, it is not our approach. The mature approach that we have is that we deal with our own problems,” Bwalya said.
“We think that such an allegation ascribes undue influence, ascribes power and influence on people who don’t have it. Mr Hakainde Hichilema has authority, has influence in his own party. He may have influence in certain sections of our society but he doesn’t have the influence to direct or to influence happenings in the Patriotic Front. He may desire to see a divided PF but he has no capacity to divide the PF, Mr M’membe included. It is not our position as a party.”
He also questioned Chanda’s credibility to speak on behalf of the PF.
Chanda stunned journalists when he turned up as the main speaker at Sunday’s forum where secretary general Davies Mwila was to interact with the media as previously advertised.
“Concerning the title [for Sunday Chanda], I am not too sure about that. What we have in the PF is the publicity committee which is a sub-committee of the central committee. In this committee, we have done an internal arrangement where we have a media team and the vice chairperson for the information and publicity committee is madam Charity Banda, she is my deputy. In that case, that [allegation raised by Chanda] is not the position of the party,” Bwalya said.
“Democracy thrives when people are allowed to express themselves, express divergent views and on that kind of social platform, you can engage one another, refine your idea. Members of the PF are allowed to exercise their freedoms of expression, to comment on matters of public interest, matters in the party and so on, but few are allowed to articulate issues of the party. When those speak, such as I am speaking, they give out an official position of the party and this is why you may observe that they are very guarded in what they say because we want to make sure we are articulating the position of the party as it has been presented.”
And Bwalya said those advocating for the abolishment of the Law Association of Zambia and replacing it with another organisation of pro-PF lawyers did not have the support of the ruling party.
He said last weekend’s attacks on LAZ by Chanda were inconsistent with the ruling party.