Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Bob Sichinga has called to opposing sides in the ruling PF to put aside their differences ahead of the presidential by election.
Mr Sichinga said approaching the by election in a fragmented state would be catastrophic for the PF.
He said late President Sata insisted on party and national unity and peace which he said should be promoted.
Mr Sichinga said the situation in the PF is worrying and should be dealt with immediately.
“The President insisted on peace and unity in the party, and I would seek that even as we go through the process of finding a replacement for him, we will maintain peace and unity and definitely at all costs avoid violence,” Mr Sichinga said in an interview.
He added, “As a party we should not tolerate that. We will have to act in a manner that is sober. We thank the Churches, the civic organisations and the entire nation for having given us this absolutely peaceful, beautiful and glorious send off for the President and I think we need to build on it by ensuring that the prayers of these people are not unheeded.”
Mr Sichinga said “We as the leaders of our party, we have to honour what the people of Zambia want. My appeal is that there is no violence of any kind, whether inter party or intra party.”
And PF National Youth Chairman Chishimba Kambwili has insisted that only the party’s general conference can select a presidential candidate.
Mr Kambwili said the party will fight until it goes for a general conference adding that the youths will not allow the constitution of the party to be abrogated.
He was reacting to a statement from PF General Secretary Edgar Lungu that the party’s Central Committee will meet to decide the process of selecting a presidential candidate.
Mr Lungu had stated that the party should take into account the lack of time and resources in deciding which process to use to arrive at a popular candidate.
Mr Kambwili said the Central Committee has no powers to pick a presidential candidate adding that the party’s general membership should be allowed to have a say on the choice of a candidate.
“We have to follow the constitution strictly. The constitution says general conference and we have to go for the general conference, there should be no shortcuts,” Mr Lungu said.
He added, “If people want to abrogate constitution, we are not going to allow it. When Hon Edgar Lungu’s appointment was revoked as S.G, I personally took it upon myself and ensured that the correct thing was done. We called a meeting and he was reinstated and that it the way it should be done. Even on this one, we are going to fight until we go to the general conference. There are no two ways about it. The general conference has to decide who becomes President and not the central committee.”