Zambia Reports (Lusaka)

Zambia: Kabimba's Popularity Disputed On the Copperbelt

A member of the banned Patriotic Front (PF) Copperbelt Province Committee has charged that party Secretary General Wynter Kabimba is overestimating the popularity of the ruling party through his careless statements and dissolving provincial leadership structures.

Speaking in an interview but on condition of anonymity, the PF provincial leader said Kabimba must realise that the political fortunes for the ruling party had dwindled.

"The problem in our party now is that everyone is scared of speaking out for fear of being harassed even when one is telling the truth. This is what s gong to take us down, but as we go forward, people will start coming and you reporters can even quote us on the record," he said.

He said the PF was not as popular as it was at the time of going into government because the party had diverted from its campaign slogans.

"Our party secretary general seems to be overzealous. He is still excited about being in government and enjoying so much power. Mr Kabimba must realize that he is not popular in this party because he has never won an election in his life. That position was just given to him by President Sata. He has failed to win an election even in his own home town of Shibuyunji. Mr Kabimba must stop misleading people because we know so much about him and this path he has taken is a path of self destruction," he said.

The PF official said Kabimba was over estimating his popularity simply because he belonged to the ruling party and was Minister of Justice who was close to President Sata.

He said Kabimba was riding on the popularity of the party and President Sata and that he had taken to harsh and unnecessary decisions.

Last week, Kabimba dissolved the provincial leadership committees for Copperbelt and Eastern regions saying the committees had become relaxed for failing to win the recently held parliamentary by-elections in Chipata Central and Kafulafuta constituencies. Kabimba has threatened to dissolve the PF provincial committee for Southern province saying the party leaders were not hard working.

But the suspended Copperbelt party leader said Kabimba was wrong to continue thinking that the ruling was still popular.

He said that the PF loss in Kafulafuta was a litmus test for the ruling party's popularity on the Copperbelt were it was its stronghold. He said once the frustrations being exerted on the provincial leadership continued, the PF would lose popularity even in the urban constituencies of the region.

"The fact that we lost the by-elections in Chipata Central and Kafulafuta where our fortunes were very high to win should not warrant our suspension. We lost simply because the parties that won the elections were popular. This is a critical indication that we are not as popular as we were at the time of going into government. This is what our secretary general must address and not these suspensions," he said.

He said that people were being de-motivated from party mobilization at grassroots level because it had become apparent that the top leadership was divided and did not understand the current dynamics of the politics in Zambia.

The PF official said there were non performing Members of Parliament on the Copperbelt who had become so unpopular because they had gone into activities for personal aggradisement.

"These are the issues that need to be addressed by the party because our popularity largely depends on the performance of Members of Parliament," he said.

Efforts to get a comment from Kabimba were not successful as he was reported to be in a meeting.

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