OVER-CONFIDENCE and failure by the party leadership to finance the grassroots may cost the Patriotic Front (PF) the August general elections, a founder member Mubanga Chileshe has warned.
He has called on the party leadership to undertake an urgent, vigorous and thorough review of all structures to ensure that the party was vibrant at all institutional structures.
“It is not too late but time is of the essence to ensure that members remain motivated in the face of the well-financed disinformation campaign by the opposition.” Mr Chileshe said.
“There must be clear structures for the campaign and the scretariat must have the names of all the people accountable at all levels who should also be empowered to undertake their mobilisation activities, which are often modest,” he said.
Mr Chileshe said it was totally unacceptable for the PF to have failed to mobilise members to support the nomination of their candidate at ward level in Lukasha, Northern Province, which the ruling party was boasting of being its stronghold.
Mr Chileshe said it was unfortunate that campaign money meant for countering negative propaganda by the opposition and for the organisation of the grassroots was allegedly being diverted by individuals who had been charged with the responsibility of managing such activities.
Mr Chileshe claimed that President Lungu ‘‘has literally been isolated’’ thereby creating anger among the grassroots who he said were now playing a donchi kubeba on the ruling party.
Mr Chileshe said there was a real possibility that the ruling party could be voted out of power because there was a lot of discontent among the grassroots as campaign resources were only concentrated in the hands of a few people in the President’s inner circle.
He added that the adoption of some of the ‘‘most unpopular’’ candidates by the PF central committee would equally contribute to the possible loss of the PF and President Edgar Lungu in the August general elections unless urgent measures were taken to assuage the situation.
‘‘Overconfidence will not help us and President Lungu should do something about it…it is not too late,” Mr Chileshe said.
Mr Chileshe said the failure by the PF to field candidates in two wards in Lukasha and Chilongozi constituencies was going to have a negative bearing on the election of President Lungu.
He said there was no doubt that President Lungu was a likeable leader but his re-election was largely going to depend on the calibre of candidates that had been adopted at all levels as well as ensuring that campaign resources trickled down to the grassroots.
He claimed that at the moment the PF did not have a campaign strategy apart from shouting slogans, stating that some of the slogans were in fact working against the ruling party and President Lungu.
He said while economic infrastructure such as roads, hospitals and schools were just as important, they were not a formula for winning an election and it was, therefore, critical for the ruling party to rebrand and repackage its campaign messages.