The number of Members of Parliament (MPs) petitioning the Patriotic Front’s (PF) central committee to adopt party secretary general Edgar Lungu as the presidential candidate for the forthcoming by-elections has increased.
Lupososhi Member of Parliament Bwalya Chungu said the number of MPs supporting Mr. Lungu has risen from 63 to 70.
Mr. Chungu said MPs have a sacred obligation to ensure that the wishes, vision and legacy of the late President Michael Sata were upheld and promoted.
He stated that as elected representatives of the people, MPs have a moral and constitutional obligation to enforce the will of the people, which is adopting Mr. Lungu as PF presidential candidate.
Mr. Chungu said this at a press briefing held at Blue Nile Lodge in Lusaka today where names and signatures of MPs were released.
Opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) MP for Itezhi Tezhi constituency, Greyford Monde, also signed the petition while his Sinjembela counterpart, Poniso Njeulu did not write his name or sign the paper despite him being present at the press briefing.
Mr. Monde is serving in government as Deputy Minister of Agriculture while Mr. Njeulu is Deputy Minister of Information.
Two Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) MPs, who are serving as deputy ministers is the current government, also signed the petition.
These are Forrie Tembo and Keith Mukata.
The press briefing was attended by 14 MPs among them Mfuwe MP Mwimba Malama, Pambashe MP Ronald Chitotela, Mongu Central MP Nathaniel Mubukwanu and Mpulungu MP Freedom Sikazwe.
And Mr. Chungu has appealed to the PF central committee to abide by its earlier decision of adopting Mr. Lungu, who also doubles as Minister of Justice and of Defence, in their meeting scheduled for tomorrow at State House.
He called on the central committee to uphold the wishes of the people and end what he called the ‘self-succession crisis’ by adopting a leader whom the nation has supported.
Mr. Chungu said the central committee’s decision to adopt Mr. Lungu was supported by the collective will of people which was expressed through the MPs whom he said were the democratically elected representatives.
Recently, Acting President Guy Scott said the PF would not bow to intimidation and threats concerning the mode which the party would use to adopt a presidential candidate for the by-election.
Dr. Scott insisted that the PF would use a general convention to adopt its presidential candidate as opposed to the central committee adoptions saying this was unconstitutional.