With Republican President Michael Sata allegedly on bed rest and his health unpredictable in the run for a second term in 2016, the battle to inherit him in the ruling Patriotic Front is becoming even clear.
Presently, defence minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba and his justice counterpart Wynter Kabimba have shown express interest to take over and are beginning to build their strongholds within and outside the ruling party.
Kabimba, who is also PF general secretary, has embarked on a countrywide tour to popularise his name in the guise of re-organising the party while Mwamba, popularly known as GBM, has gone flat out with an endorsement strategy of the allegedly unwell Sata. Kabimba was recently in Livingstone and will feature on various public fora as part of the campaign.
PF sources have disclosed that while Kabimba’s strategy is to market himself during the tours, GBM wants to canvass support by being sympathetic to President Sata such that when the incumbent fails to go ahead on medical grounds, the bulky businessman will become the automatic choice.
And Kabimba’s camp has already picked GBM’s strategy and are upset that he is organising lower organ officials to endorse President Sata for 2016.
Lusaka Province Patriotic Front chairman Geoffrey Chuumbwe, who is one of Kabimba’s trusted foot soldiers, has openly shot down GBM’s talk about launching President Sata’s 2016 elections bid for the presidency.
Mwamba is a well known aspirant to the top job and last weekend paraded ward officials in Kasama where he said the Kasama Constituency had endorsed President for the 2016 presidential elections.
The Kasama Central lawmaker was in the company of party chairperson for transport Willy Nsanda.
Chuumbwe, whose group supporting the unpopular Kabimba includes Slyvia Masebo, told a party gathering in Shibuyunji area that it was strange that GBM had found it fit to talk about 2016 candidates when the PF had not even done two years of their five year term.
“Why are people talking about endorsements for 2016? Ati ine nifuna nikankale president (Me I want to be president), olo nikukamba ati tikachite endorse (even if it is saying we should endsorse). So bamene bakamba ati endorse, endorse baleta musokonezo (so those who are saying endorse, endorse are bringing confusion),” said Chuumbwe.
“We should wait until the president serves his term and and aspire for the next one, maybe if we want him to go for a third term we will then talk about endorsement.”
Mwamba is in Kasama Constituency where he has been mobilizing party officials and ironically talking about the PF presidency. President Sata, according to well placed State House sources, is currently in hospital in Asia and most PF officials are aware his health is an impediment to 2016 aspirations.