Friday, March 08, 2013

Suspended PF officials accuse Sakeni of causing confusion

Suspended PF officials accuse Sakeni of causing confusion
By Staff Reporters
Fri 08 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT

TWO of the suspended Luapula PF officials have accused party provincial chairman Kennedy Sakeni of causing confusion in the party because of his presidential ambitions.

But Sakeni described the accusations as sheer madness from indisciplined people. In separate interviews, Mansa district PF vice-chairman James Nyenjele and secretary Obino Chipanta said Sakeni, who is also Mansa Central member of parliament, had been working with his Bahati counterpart Harry Kalaba to destabilise the party by appointing people who would support the former's presidential ambitions in 2016.

"They want to make plans for the 2016 election, they want from among the group someone to come and contest the presidency. In fact, it's not only these two; there are even others. That's why Mr Sakeni has gone to that extent of bringing MMD people in the party; all that he needs is his popularity. We know very well that Mr Sakeni is positioning himself for the presidency in 2016 and he is using Kalaba and others to frustrate genuine members of the party," Chipanta said in an interview on Tuesday.

Asked if he had accepted the suspension, Chipanta vehemently responded in the negative.

"Accept? No, I can't. Why should I accept? And in fact those were just appointed, with me I was elected by the people. Those who gave me this mandate are the people who can remove me from this position," he said.

Asked if he and his colleagues had sought the intervention of party secretary general Wynter Kabimba, Chipanta responded: "We have written him, this is where we are waiting to hear from. We have written him, we have explained; even to State House, we have done everything. We don't just want to do something which can bring confusion here in Mansa. We are waiting first of all for the secretary general, including State House.

In fact, we should invite them to come as soon as possible before things go worse. In fact, they shouldn't just sit idle because these small things they sometimes turn into bigger things."
Chipanta said his team had lived up to the guidelines given by Kabimba when he visited them last November.

He said it was disappointing that Sakeni and his team had decided to overlook Kabimba's guidance and move in a different direction. On holding meetings, Chipanta said it was normal for party officials to hold legal meetings, and they had been doing that.

And Nyenjele said Sakeni had acted outside the party constitution. Nnyejele said their suspension came because they opposed the appointment of Bernard Musonda as Mansa district chairperson,a whom they said was ineligible for that position.

"We shall not allow anybody to be operating outside our constitution. As far as we are concerned, we are not suspended and we will not accept Bernard Musonda's appointment even if it comes from Mr Sakeni because the PF constitution says the appointment of a district chairperson should be done by the party president," said Nyenjele.

But Sakeni denied having any presidential ambitions and vowed to instil discipline in the party.

"I don't think I have the qualities to become president of this country. I weigh myself and I know that I'm nowhere near the presidency. Every person knows what they're capable of being in life, and I know that I am not presidential material," said Sakeni.

"Those chaps are just being malicious and they are trying to divert attention from the main issue of indiscipline. They were trying to put a rift between me and the secretary general, whom I work with very well, but they've failed. So, that story is fake. Let them find something else to say."
And Kalaba denied ever working against anyone in the provincial party leadership.

"But if Honourable Sakeni is working with the structure of the party, my duty as member of parliament is to work with the structure of the party. So, it's only correct that I work with the structure of the party because, for me, the PF is an organised party and as an organised party we have to work within the circumference of the organisation," said Kalaba.

Recently, the provincial executive suspended 13 officials from the party for, among other things, pushing for the removal of Sakeni.
PF provincial secretary James Kabwita, who confirmed the suspensions in an interview, named the suspended officials as Nyenjele, Chipanta and his vice Tascious Chaikatisha.

Others are district information and publicity secretary Joseph Songolo, Mansa Central Constituency chairperson Stephen Chenda, together with his secretary Elijah Sinfukwe, and Mansa Central Constituency youth chairperson Victor Kapasa.

Albina Chiyambi, Chaala Lwimpa, Danny Mulenga, Shamende Mpundu, Alice Chipulu and Katebe Wilson from Bahati and Mansa Central constituencies, respectively, have also been suspended.

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