PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has urged Patriotic Front (PF) members to embrace and accept new members from opposition political parties to grow the ruling party.
Mr Lungu said PF members should embrace and accept new members from United Party for National Development (UPND), Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) and other political parties if the ruling party was to grow.
He said PF was not for one group of people for it was for all Zambians who were interested in joining the party.
Mr Lungu was speaking in Livingstone yesterday at Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport upon his arrival to officiate at a Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) gala dinner at Zambezi Sun Hotel last night.
The President, who arrived at the airport around 16:20 hours aboard a presidential jet, was accompanied by State House Deputy Minister Mulenga among other officials from State House.
He was received by Justice Minister Ngosa Simbyakula, Health Minister Joseph Kasonde, Attorney General Likando Kalalula, LAZ president George Chisanga, Southern Province Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu, Senior Chief Mukuni of Kazungula District in Southern Province, senior government officials, provincial defence chiefs and PF members among others.
“You must embrace them and welcome new members to prepare the ruling party for 2016 general elections. A party can only grow if it embraces new comers.
“If you reject the theory of embracing new members, then get out. Without new members or without more numbers in the party, then our party is not going anywhere,” he said.
Mr Lungu said there was need for members to continue being united and they should be proud and avoid being shamed as a Zambians.
He also urged party officials to accept the results of the PF internal elections in their territories.
“If you lose, accept the will and decision of the people. As for me, I lost elections in Chawama in 1996 as a Member of Parliament (MP). In 200, I lost Chiwama but I never gave up. In 2006, I was sidelined and I was only elected as PF MP in 2011 PF.
Afterwards, late President Michael Sata promoted me from being a deputy minister to Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Defence, Minister of Justice and I am now the Republican President of Zambia,” he said.
Mr Lungu urged PF members to remain being peaceful and love one another instead of sabotaging or blackmailing the ruling party.
“Within my 90 days of being in office as President, I ensured that the projects which had stalled after President Sata’s death are now up and running,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Mubukwanu said he was happy that the President had gone back to Southern Province after opening the Collum Coal Mine in Sinazongwe District.
“Since your last visit you made to Southern Province 10 days ago, the province is peaceful and Government projects are running on well.
“The province is solidly behind your leadership. In terms of tourism, this is a peak period and we expect many tourists to visit Livingstone,” Mr Mubukwanu said.