THE Patriotic Front (PF) will not allow anyone to coerce or blackmail President Edgar Lungu to nominate a running mate that he would not be comfortable with, Frank Bwalya has said.
And Fr Bwalya has warned party official lobbying traditional leaders and other interest groups to support their candidature as running mate to stop because President Lungu would be allowed to freely choose his running mate.
Fr Bwalya, who is PF information and publicity chairperson, said he was warranted to categorically state that President Lungu would be allowed to freely choose his running mate following the recent manoeuvres by some senior members positioning themselves, motivated by notorious ambition of taking over the Head of State on the PF party ticket.
“Our party acknowledges the dynamics of a running mate who becomes Vice President when his or her party wins the presidential election,” Fr Bwalya said.
Fr Bwalya said PF was conscious of the danger the presidential running mate arrangement could pose in the case where a person with notorious presidential ambition was adopted as running mate.
He said the party would allow President Lungu to freely choose his running mate and that would be a person he would be comfortable to work with.
“Those who are guilty of this behaviour should know that they are wasting their time and that they are effectively eliminating themselves from being considered,” Fr Bwalya said.
He said the party would strongly oppose the nomination of a running mate among those who had exhibiting insatiable appetite for presidency under the pretext of desiring to be vice president.
Fr Bwalya said such people would be a real danger to President Lungu.
“We are aware that one of our members of parliament has even gone further to indicate that he would leave PF and form his own party if President Lungu will not pick him as his running mate. Our message to this ambitious person is that his conduct has already disqualified him,” Fr Bwalya said.
He has since urged all respected traditional leaders not to allow themselves to be used by selfish people whose real aim was the presidency.
“On the contrary our traditional leaders and other stakeholders have a duty to help the president freely choose a person who will not be a danger to his life,” he said.
Fr Bwalya said after winning the forthcoming 2016 general election the PF want President Lungu to govern Zambia and lead it to prosperity without any fear of being harmed by those around him.