PATRIOTIC Front (PF) rival parties clashed in Livingstone on Monday afternoon in full view of party Secretary General Edgar Lungu who in turn condemned the violence and called for tolerance.
Some party officials were seen tossing and blocking their colleagues from welcoming Mr Lungu as he arrived at Livingstone Civic Centre to greet party supporters.
Those who were blocked resisted the pressure and pushed their way inside and this ultimately resulted in exchange of punches.One official, who was accused of being in former Secretary General Wynter Kabimba’s camp, was overheard questioning where her colleagues
were when the PF was struggling in the opposition.
Her remarks further incensed other officials who later descended on her and tossed her around inside the Civil Centre.
Those of who still want Mr Kabimba to remain as party Secretary General should change or sit at the bench to just watch because I am in charge now,” Mr Lungu said.
The police tried to separate the two rival parties but the officials continued tossing each other in the presence of Mr Lungu, PF Southern Province chairperson Daniel Munkombwe and PF Livingstone Member of Parliament Lawrence Evans among others.
Mr Evans could not hold his emotions and tears while pleading with party officials to promote love and unity.The tiff only ended when Mr Munkombwe started leading in singing the
national anthem while raising his fist and the two parties also joined in singing with raised fists and ultimately suspended their conflict.
And addressing the party supporters after calm retained, Mr Lungu said the example of behavior he witnessed was totally unacceptable within the ruling PF.Mr Lungu said PF was a peaceful and disciplined party and hence there was need for members to tolerate each other.
“What I have seen here in Livingstone is a semblance of anarchy. As newly appointed PF Secretary General, I will not allow this lawlessness.The reason why I will not allow anarchy is because President Michael Sata told me to grow the party so that we bounce back into power in 2016,” he said.
Mr Lungu announced that PF would soon hold a provincial conference in Choma for two days where various party matters would be tabled.He also condemned some PF officials who were questioning where their colleagues were when PF was struggling in the opposition saying both new and old members were welcome in the ruling party.
Mr Lungu said politics was about numbers and hence there was need to recruit more members to enable the ruling party grow.He also urged all PF members to accept the fact that he was currently the party Secretary General while President Sata was at the top of the
“Those of who still want Mr Kabimba to remain as party Secretary General should change or sit at the bench to just watch because I am in charge now,” Mr Lungu said.
He also said he recently met Mr Munkombwe and PF media director Brian Hapunda over the differences they had and reconciled the two.
Speaking at the same gathering, Mr Munkombwe said the party in Southern Province was peaceful and there were only few people who were promoting violence.Mr Munkombwe, who was physically disturbed with what transpired during the meeting, urged all party members to work together through established party structures instead of hijacking the party.