DISTINGUISHED ladies and gentlemen, as you are all aware, the Patriotic Front central committee resolved in February 2021 to proceed with the convocation of its national council and general conference.
You will note that the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it practically impossible for events to be held in the traditional manner, where we can all meet physically in one place to deliberate over the affairs of our party. It is for this reason that the central committee resolved to conduct the national council meeting and general conference in a manner that is sensitive to the times we are living in.
Thus, we have consulted the experts in the Ministry of Health who have accordingly permitted the party to proceed with satellite gatherings of not more than 100 persons per centre. I am pleased to announce that these two meetings will be held in a virtual format with delegates participating in the national council and general conference respectively through the use of modern technology in groups of 50 persons in the 20 centres throughout Zambia’s 10 provinces.
As the Patriotic Front, we have put in place systems that will ensure full participation of members in these very important meetings in line with the provisions of article 14 of our party constitution. Furthermore, in accordance with the provisions of article 64 and Regulation 88 of the party constitution, we have appointed an independent electoral commission consisting of various professionals and experts tasked with the responsibility of superintending over the whole process. This will ensure that there are high levels of transparency and fairness in the conduct of party elections and other related business.
As a consequence, the independent electoral commission shall have the sole responsibility of accrediting delegates to the national council and general conference and superintending over the party electoral process. The secretariat and other party functionaries shall have the responsibility of registering delegates at the respective party offices in the districts hosting satellite centres and ensuring that all the logistics for the delegates are in place in readiness for the national council and general conference.
Our members are, therefore, encouraged to work cordially with the independent team of election officers and respect their mandate as they execute this noble assignment. The party will also ensure that the mandate of the independent electoral commission is executed in a democratic manner, free from threats of violence, dictatorial tendencies and/or practices.
Considering that party unity is essential as we head into the 2021 general elections, and in the interests of broad participation by all members in party affairs, I hereby declare a moratorium on all disciplinary cases that have arisen from February 28, 2021 to date. In this regard, I direct that all members who were in good standing with the party as at February 28, 2021 be deemed as eligible delegates and should be allowed to participate in the national council and general conference. The party does not believe that the spirit of exclusion premised on internal wrangles must be encouraged as we prepare to propel the party to victory in the 2021 general elections.
Based on the foregoing, I wish to take this opportunity to thank the various party organs under the able leadership of His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu for the continued growth of the party as we continue to achieve more milestones.
The author is Patriotic Front national chairperson.