Interim President of the Josephs Akafumba National Democratic Congress (NDC) faction George Sichula says he has never thought about reconciling with the Saboi Imboela led group.
The two NDC factions have been at loggerheads since former NDC leader Dr. Chishimba Kambwili decided to rejoin the Patriotic Front as Dr. Akafumba backed the UPND Alliance.
Mr. Sichula, a Chingola based clergyman, pledged to unite and grow the party when the NDC national governing council elected him interim President in the first week of March.
Featuring on a Radio Icengelo Programme on Tuesday, Mr. Sichula said the issue of reconciling with the Saboi Imboela group was beyond him as interim President.
Mr. Sichula said this issue can only be decided collectively by the NDC national governing council.
“Nice question, nice question. To start with, I don’t hate Saboi. She is my sister and I want to mention that I am a Christian and if you have seen the way I play my politics, I don’t do politics of slander, politics of insulting people, disrespecting people. I have never differed with Saboi. We talk, she is my sister and I happen to be the brother,” he said.
“But to answer your question, are we likely to reconcile with Saboi in the spirit of internal democracy? I would say that it is something I have never thought about. I think I will have to sit down with the rest of the party leaders so that we see if we can consider that. So I cannot answer that question alone. Just like we are talking about democracy, I cannot make a decision right now on radio to say today this is what will happen. Otherwise she is my sister and I happen to be a brother,” Mr. Sichula said.
On the same radio programme, Mr. Sichula announced the NDC’s plan to hold a national convention where all party positions will be contested for.
“NDC we are looking forward to holding our convention where we will be able to choose our leaders. The positions we have starting from me as President Sichula are interim roles. At interim position we don’t usually ask members to help us put people in positions. As leaders from the top we take a step to constitute provincial, district, constituency, wards and different structures. We do these because such leadership does not exist. Usually we hold a conference at which we choose the President after concluding the task of constituting different party structures. For NDC, according to our constitution, we are supposed to have 10,000 plus people to choose the President. So we have a duty to make sure the party grows,” Mr. Sichula said without specifying the date for the convention.
“Even as we call for a convention people must come to participate and I can safely say as NDC we are doing very well. We have structures, today you can ask me ba Justina (Journalist Justina Mukuka) to say do you have a provincial chairman in Southern Province, I would say yes everywhere in all the ten provinces. We have structures at district, constituency and all that. Those asking how many people elected me as President, yes the Central Committee members that elected me contains few people but time is coming when the entire party will participate in the election of the NDC party President and I want to assure you in advance that even after the convention Sichula will still be party President,” Mr. Sichula said.
On the same radio show, media consultant and veteran journalist Andrew Sakala called on political parties to practice internal democracy.
“The foundation of a democratic institution lies within its constitution, so the constitution should provide how to elect all party officials. In between the elections they should provide on how to replace leaders who may resign, which may die in other words take care of eventualities that results in loss of office,” said Mr. Sakala, the President of the Press Association of Zambia (PAZA).
“The constitution is the one that gives a democratic space that you want. The last caller alluded to what happened to one of the party conferences. Again the blame lies with the constitution because their constitution empowers their president to appoint, so he was acting within their party constitution but by practice you could see that it was un-democratic practice but it was within their party constitution,” Mr. Sakala added.