President Sata’s press aide George Chellah is being linked to the divisions that is causing a split in the PF leadership with two prominent ministers Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (defence) and Wynter Kabimba (justice) now in a public showdown.
There are four factions in the ruling Patriotic Front preparing to go for the top post in the PF but Mwamba, popularly known as GBM, and Kabimba are emerging as front-runners.
The PF leadership has been informed that President Sata’s ill-health would hamper him seeking a second mandate in 2016 and if he did, it will be as risky as the Levy Mwanawasa or Nigeria Umari Mussa Yar’Adua’s cases.
And so, there is serious shadow boxing with four factions already throwing their weight around to test their chances.
Given Lubinda, foreign affairs, and Chishimba Kambwili working with a well-known Zambian sports administrator make up the four factions in the PF scramble for the presidency.
Apparently, when Chellah, who is being used by PF chief propagandist Fred M’membe realised GBM was gaining ground within Cabinet, they schemed to have Kabimba – the party’s general secretary – in the group as remaining outside government was becoming disadvantageous.
“There was no reason to fire Sebastian Zulu but to create a place for Kabimba to be at the same level with his colleagues in government because some of his competitors were taking advantage of the situation,” the source said.
GBM, however, does not have the support of the PF kingmakers because he is financially independent and may not be an easy fellow to dictate like they have managed to do with President Sata.
“What is happening is that any private meeting between the President and GBM is being leaked to M’membe and Kabimba by Chellah,” the source said.
President Sata doesn’t know what to do now on who to clearly support in the rift but he is being forced to side most of the time with Kabimba whom the propanganda wing can easily control.
Sources in the PF say if the wrangles continue, Lubinda may emerge stronger as a dark-horse and take over the leadership but it depends how he plays his cards.
The fourth faction by Kambwili and a known sportsman is not very strong but is in most cases siding with GBM because they are people of the same interests.
“Lubinda is smart but he does not want to be associated with Kabimba’s group because that is the one showing as intellectuals while GBM is boasting about his financial muscle,” the source explained. “When Kabimba saw Lubinda’s aspirations while PF was in opposition, he impressed on Sata to remove him as party spokesperson.”
According to the source, Chellah has a more stronger relationship with Kabimba than GBM whom M’membe has also vowed to eliminate from the PF presidential race.
The allegation of corruption involving GBM have been known by State House, The Post and PF members since September 2011 but have never been an issue until the Lusaka businessman seemingly started gaining ground in his presidential aspirations.
“The agreement among PF leaders after winning PF elections was to share huge government contract; GBM, Kabimba and M’membe have all benefited from huge government contracts which have been single sourced,” the source said.
Now, according to PF members, it has become an issue since GBM is contesting for President and Kabimba, M’membe and Chellah don’t like.
In apparent reference to Chellah’s muzungu anikonde kind of operations, GBM has established the link between Sata’s Press Aide, The Post and Kabimba.
Chellah worked at The Post before being appointed to his current position on merited PF cadre.
Mwamba, who is also Kasama central MP, said it is sad that a Journalist is at the centre of bringing confusion in the party.
He has threaned to quit his government position if his public service life is affecting his business interests.
GBM has also told his close associates that he will expose the illegal dealings of Kabimba and M’membe in government business.