Africa Zambia MPs threaten to quit over presidency row

Zambia MPs threaten to quit over presidency row

Secretary General Edger Lungu
Secretary General Edger Lungu

(AA) – Seventy lawmakers from the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party have asked the government to respect a decision by the party’s Central Committee to endorse PF Secretary General Edger Lungu as a sole candidate for the upcoming presidential by-election, threatening to otherwise resign.

“We, as MPs, petitioned the Central Committee to adopt Lungu as the sole candidate for the presidential election,” MP Lazarus Chungu Bwalya told reporters on Sunday.

“Upon considering our petition, the Central Committee last Thursday proceeded to adopt Lungu as the PF presidential candidate,” he recalled.

Acting President Guy Scot had criticized the Central Committee’s endorsement of Lungu.

He insisted that only the general conference – not the Central Committee – had the power to select a candidate.

Scot has called for a cabinet meeting on Monday to discuss the matter.

“In our opinion, this is a betrayal,” said MP Bwalya.

“We, therefore, appeal to the Cabinet to abide by the Central Committee’s decision whereas the collective will of the people as expressed through ourselves, the democratically elected representatives of the people, was upheld,” he added.

According to Bwalya, among the MPs who had endorsed Lungu as the ruling party’s sole candidate in the forthcoming presidential by- election are 11 Cabinet ministers who will be attending Monday’s meeting.

“This means that if any decision will be made to the contrary, it will be a sign of betrayal and if that will happen, we have resolved as MPs to withdraw our membership in the house as lawmakers,” he threatened.

“We will not be part to Scot’s numerous illegal and unconstitutional acts whereby he attempts to rule,” added MP Bwalya.

Zambia has been thrown into political turmoil since last month’s death of president Michael Sata in a London hospital.

Lungu, who is also the incumbent justice and defense minister, told the High Court on Friday that he had been forced to cede presidential power to Scot following Sata’s death.

He urged the court to order that executive power, which had been delegated to him by Sata before travelling to London, be restored to him.

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