Hichilema distances himself from PF drama
PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema has parried away accusations that he is the architect of the confusion that has engulfed the former ruling Patriotic Front (PF).
A delayed replacement of leadership had the party confusion simmering but drama reached Holywood levels when Miles Sampa was elected party president at a controversially-convened extraordinary general conference before former president Edgar Lungu also announced his return to active politics saying he was PF president.
After being out-maneuvered by their colleagues, the Lungu group has accused President Hichilema of supporting the Sampa led group of the PF.
But President Hichilema denied the accusations during his end of year presser at the Mulungushi International Conference Center yesterday.
“I’m not a PF member, I have never been a PF. How can I go and cause problems in PF? I am an outsider,” President Hichilema asserted, emphasizing his lack of involvement in PF’s internal dynamics.
He recalled the tumultuous events within PF during the selection of a successor to President Sata in 2014 stating the wrangles were not new to the PF
“There were fights, there were pangas in Kabwe, parallel elections for ECL (Edgar Lungu) and Miles Sampa. We were in opposition; how is it that we influenced that?” he questioned.
“Don’t bring the smell to me, take it to the owners,” He emphasized as he said it wasn’t in the UPND’s culture to select leaders in such a manner.
The Head of State acknowledged the difficulty of running an opposition party and the need for opposition party leaders to have big hearts.
He shared how his vice presidents were snatched away from his party by the rulling PF then but never pointed a finger at PF.
“I never demonized my colleagues. I wished them well. I never pointed at PF. Why are they pointing at me?” President Hichilema questioned.
Expressing a hands-off approach to other parties’ internal affairs, President Hichilema remarked, “We have no business in choosing who runs PF or who runs the Socialist Party or who runs Citizens First. How they organize it, their culture is their business, not ours.”
However, President Hichilema urged the PF to handle internal conflicts within legal boundaries.
“If PF is fighting for succession, they should do it within the law. When they start beating each other at their secretariat, the police will move.”
“That must not be misunderstood as the President of UPND and Republican President interfering. No! It’s law and order,” he clarified.
By Moses Makwaya