Former president Rupiah Banda has officially endorsed PF President Edgar Lungu as his preferred candidate for the 20th January presidential election.
Mr. Banda says his endorsement of Mr. Lungu follows his personal interaction him which has made him to understand his intentions.
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Speaking at a media briefing in Chipata
this afternoon Mr. Banda has observed that Mr. Lungu recognizes the problems which must be addressed and he is confident that he possesses the qualities of a leader that can be trusted with the responsibilities of the country’s highest office especially at such a sensitive time.
Mr. Banda notes that Mr. Lungu has also shown that he is a man that is capable of providing leadership to his party the ruling PF with dignity while at same time allowing other opposition political parties such the MMD to co-existence.
He says it on this basis that has made the decision after much deliberation to endorse Mr. Lungu as he has no desires of supporting a candidate that would seek to eliminate or weaken the MMD.
The former Head of State has disclosed that much as he counts many friends in the opposition UPND he has not endorsed its President Hakainde Hichilema because he does not agree with the approach the UPND has taken of poaching individual MMD Members of Parliament (MPs).
He says he is of the view that before asking for support from the MMD MPs the UPND should have negotiated openly with the former ruling party’s leadership.
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Mr. Banda states that he wants the MMD to remain intact in order for it to continue contributing to the governance of the country.
He says this is why he thinks that despite his endorsing Mr. Lungu MMD members must move on with the party’s program and build the former ruling party stronger at all levels.
In accepting the endorsement, the PF president has said he finds it a privilege that he has been endorsed by Mr. Banda.
Mr. Lungu says he is greatly humbled by Mr. Banda’s words especially the former President has had an opportunity to assess him even before multipartism was introduced in the country.
He also reiterated his commitment to ensuring that the country’s new constitution is expeditiously enacted as per the wish of the Zambian people.
Mr. Lungu has further promised to allow opposition political parties to operate freely once he is elected the country’s new President.
And ABZ president Frank Bwalya who opened the media briefing with a prayer has observed that endorsement of Mr. Lungu by the former Head of State is the beginning of new things to come for Zambia.
He has referred his presence and that of Mr. Lungu and Mr. Banda at the same media briefing to that of the three eastern wise men referred to in the Christian Holy Scripture the Bible.
Meanwhile the opposition UPND has maintained that it is not intimidated by the endorsement of Mr. Lungu by Mr. Banda.
The UPND says it is ready to meet the ruling PF on the ground notwithstanding Mr. Banda’s endorsement of the PF president.
UPND Lubwa Ward Youth Chairperson Chisankama Mudenda has told Qfm News in a working interview that by endorsing Mr. Lungu, the former Head of State has only allegedly demonstrated how tribal he is owing to the fact that both him and Mr. Lungu come from Chipata.