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Take it easy, Lungu tells PF MP hopefuls

President Edgar Chagwa Lungu (left) addresses party official at Petauke Boarding School in Petauke,Eastern Province on Monday,January 25. PICTURE BY SALIM HENRY/STATE HOUSE ©2016

JACK ZIMBA & DARLINGTON MWENDABAI, Petauke
PRESIDENT Lungu has advised Patriotic Front (PF) members intending to contest parliamentary seats on the ruling party ticket to take it easy and to allow incumbent MPs to work without interference until Parliament is dissolved in May.
Speaking when he addressed PF officials at Petauke Boarding School yesterday, Mr Lungu also warned against people using money to get to leadership positions.
“I am urging those who are aspiring to take it easy and to realise that you can’t buy your way to leadership. You can’t,” President Lungu said.
“If you want to help, go and help people in the communities. Do the right thing, and when the right time comes, people might give you the support. They might give you the support, not that they will,” he said.
The meeting was attended by PF deputy secretary-general Mumbi Phiri, Minister of Local Government and Housing Stephen Kampyongo, Eastern Province Minister Malozo Sichone and State House Deputy Minister Mulenga Sata.
Others are Minister of Youth, Sports and Child Development Vincent Mwale and Lumezi MP Isaac Banda.
Mr Lungu has also said people should not use his name to gain endorsements for adoption as parliamentary candidates in the general elections.
“The truth is that we at the top have no power to change things at the bottom. When people decide, they have decided,” he said, triggering applause among the party officials.
Mr Lungu called on party leaders to forge strong support bases in the wards, saying it is in the wards where real power lies with the people.
“The base of our politics is around the people. It is people-power which has driven the PF to form government,” he said.
And Mrs Phiri told members in Nyimba on Sunday that President Lungu has not endorsed anyone to stand as MP.
Mrs Phiri said some people are going round claiming that President Lungu has endorsed them.
“The President has not endorsed anybody. He has not given anybody a letter to say ‘you go and stand in that constituency’,” she said.
And Mr Lungu has reiterated the need for PF and the opposition MMD to work together ahead of the general elections in August.
The President also called for unity and discipline within the PF and for the youth to avoid violence.
“No one will vote for us if the PF is seen to be violent. That is the nature of the Zambian people, they want peace,” Mr Lungu said.
The President warned PF members who will engage in violence that he will not stand with them.
“It’s important that you as political leaders in charge of the party in Eastern Province work round the concept of ‘One Zambia, One Nation’,” President Lungu said.
“Our unity of purpose is centred round developing the well-being of the people of Zambia throughout the country,” he said.
Mr Lungu said this was the vision of the late President Michael Sata.
At Nyamphande Boarding School, where he addressed pupils, President Lungu asked a school choir to sing the first stanza of the national anthem, which is centred on peace and unity, to a hushed audience, before he could speak.
The President, who is on a road tour of Eastern Province, left Petauke for Sinda and Katete and proceeded to Chipata where he spent the night.

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