LATE President Sata’s relatives have said former First Lady Christine Kaseba is free to contest in the forth-coming presidential elections.
And Lusaka Mayor Mulenga Sata says Dr Kaseba has a democratic right to contest the Patriotic Front (PF) presidential position, reports TEDDY KUYELA.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Emma Mwila Chibesakunda, who is the late President’s cousin, said yesterday that it is Dr Kaseba’s democratic right to contest the republican presidency.
Reacting to media reports that it was too early for a widow to aspire for the presidency, Ms Chibesakunda said Dr Kaseba has been prompted to join the race because she does not want to see the party that she worked so hard to build with her late husband go into oblivion.
“The decision to cleanse the first lady was not prompted by her decision to contest the presidency. I was one of the close family members who attended the process, which included the isambo lya mfwa.
The family decided to clear her immediately unlike the olden days when the process took years, but situations have changed,” she said.
Ms Chibesakunda said it was decided that the process was carried out expeditiously because most of the family members had travelled from far-away places.
She explained that when they were arranging the isambo lya mfwa, she (Ms Chibesakunda) requested that President Sata’s clothes be packed in suitcases but that the elders of the family refused suggesting that the clothes be packed in plastics as they have to be easily exposed during isambo lya mfwa.
Ms Chibesakunda said it was unfortunate that Dr Kaseba’s decision to contest the presidency has caused a lot of debate because she was prompted to do so to save the PF.
“She was torn to see the party, which she struggled to build with her husband, being torn to pieces. If people feel she’s making a mistake, you will be there to judge her. She wants to save the party and serve the people, whom her husband loved very much.
It is regrettable that a member of this family got this picture and took it to the media because it is taboo in our tradition. We are not supposed to do this. It is not Dr Kaseba who is being exposed, it is the family,” she said.
“As we are seeing things, we wouldn’t be surprised to see that the PF party doesn’t finish its three-year term because of what is happening. How can 10 family members stand for presidency?” Ms Chibesakunda asked.
When asked why the family did not decide on one candidate to stand, Ms Chibesakunda said each person has a democratic right and that it is up to an individual to withdraw their candidature and not the family.
And Mr Sata said although it is difficult for him to comment on Dr Kaseba’s decision to file her nomination papers for the PF presidency a week after the burial of her late husband, he feels that every party member has a democratic right to participate or contest party positions.
Mr Sata said this in Lusaka yesterday when he featured on the UNZA Radio programme dubbed The Lusaka Star.
“I have no problem with the candidates who have filed their nomination papers to contest the PF presidency.
“I have cordial relations with all the presidential contenders and if I am not adopted, I will support the one who will garner votes,” he said.
Mr Sata further said he is the best candidate for the position of PF president because he started humbly as a councillor, deputy mayor and now mayor of Lusaka as well as PF Lusaka district chairperson.
He called on PF party members to work hard and start recruiting new members in readiness for the forth-coming presidential election slated for January 20, 2015.
Mr Sata also dispelled speculation that President Sata died of poisoning.
“My father was not poisoned but he had an ailment, which he struggled with for some time,” he said.
“The late President was unwell and his health was failing him for some time. Speculations of what led to his demise should not be taken seriously,” Mr Sata said.
He said Zambians should put to rest speculations of what led to the death of President Sata because he did not die at a tender age.
Zambia Daily mail