Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front party split into two squabbling factions, each nominating its own candidate for next month’s presidential election and dismissing its rival’s choice as invalid.
Miles Sampa, deputy commerce minister, won a vote late yesterday at a party meeting overseen by acting President Guy Scott, who has filled the role since the death of Michael Sata in October. The previous day, Defense and Justice Minister Edgar Lungu was named party president at another Patriotic Front gathering.
Sampa won more than 900 of the 2,010 votes, according to the party’s returning officer, Germano Kaulung’ombe, who read out the results at the meeting in Kabwe, northeast of the capital Lusaka. Kaulung’ombe refrained from announcing a winner and said that can’t happen until after tomorrow, because a court order earlier yesterday barred the PF from declaring any other presidential candidate except Lungu.
“I shall not declare any of the presidential candidates until after tomorrow,” Kaulung’ombe said.
The meeting that elected Lungu was illegal, Scott said in an interview on Nov. 30 in Kabwe.
Lungu yesterday accused Scott of attempting to impose the leader of his choice and invited him to leave “if he is tired of the PF.” Lungu said he has fired Bridget Atanga, appointed as the party’s secretary general by Scott, and her deputy Anthony Kasolo.
To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Hill in Lusaka at [email protected]
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at [email protected] Ben Holland