ST Ignatius Catholic parish priest Father Charles Chilinda says he feels disappointed that aggrieved Patriotic Front (PF) presidential hopeful Miles Sampa allegedly failed to turn up to sign an agreement after reconciliation talks arbitrated by Catholic Bishops.
Fr Chilinda explained in an interview that he is taken aback by Mr Sampa’s decision not to allegedly show up to conclude reconciliation talks that lasted for six hours.
“We could not conclude the talks minus the presence of Mr Sampa, maybe the mistake we made was to break for lunch at 12:00 hours because we had been with him from 08:00 hours,” Fr Chilinda said.
Fr Chilinda said Mr Sampa did not return after the lunch break.
“We hope we can make contact with him again so that we can make progress,” Fr Chilinda said.
He said the areas of agreement were many and the other presidential contenders who included Roan member of Parliament Chishimba Kambwili, Kasama MP Geoffrey Mwamba, Nchanga MP Wylbur Simuusa and their Kabwata counterpart Given Lubinda were present.
On Thursday night, five of the presidential hopefuls met at Lusaka’s Pamodzi Hotel to kick-start reconciliation talks arbitrated by Catholic Bishops.
Those present at the meeting, which lasted for nearly five hours were Mr Mwamba, Mr Lubinda and Mr Simuusa, who is also Minister of Agriculture. Others were Mr Sampa, who is also Matero MP, and Mr Kambwili, who is also Minister of Youth and Sport.
PF president Edgar Lungu, acting President Guy Scott and President Sata’s widow, Christine Kaseba, did not attend.
Mr Sampa was in attendance for only a few minutes and left.
There was heavy presence of police at Pamodzi Hotel.
Others present were members of the central committee, who included Samuel Mukupa, Willie Nsanda and PF secretary-general Davies Chama.
Also present were Catholic Bishops Alick Banda, Clement Mulenga and St Ignatius Parish priest Father Charles Chilinda.
When Mr Kambwili arrived, he went where Mr Nsanda was and asked to be pardoned for disparaging remarks he made about Mr Nsanda at an earlier meeting.
In response, Mr Nsanda said he holds no grudge against Mr Kambwili. They hugged and joked about politics and teased each other.
After the deliberations, Mr Lubinda briefed journalists that the meeting had resolved that they unite and would make further efforts to get everyone on board.
“We have made commendable progress. We want to be part of the solution. We shall work together to foster reconciliation and togetherness in the party,” Mr Lubinda said.
And Mr Kambwili has urged all party members to attend the PF rally in Kitwe today, which will kickstart Mr Lungu’s campaign for the presidency.