Following former First Lady Dr Christine Kaseba’s decision to file nomination papers today to run for the Patriotic Front presidency, the family of the late President Michael Sata finds itself in turmoil.
In an unprecedented development, there are now at least three relatives of Sata gunning for the much desired place on the ballot – his wife, his son, and his nephew. Technically speaking, Commerce Minister Bob Sichinga, who is also running for the PF presidency, is also related to the late president through his son Chimwemwe’s marriage to Kaseba’s daughter Chilufya.
According to an impeccable source, who is close to Dr Kaseba, the development has divided family members and her relatives.
Sata’s son, Lusaka Mayor Mulenga Sata, also joined the race for the PF presidency days after he said he was content with the positions he was currently holding.
Edgar Lungu, who was last appointed Acting President by Sata before being forced to hand over power to Vice President Guy Scott, is also enjoying strong backing from numerous members of the party, including some other family members.
The source close to Dr Kaseba says that their camp was under the impression that Lungu would back out from filing nomination papers in order to show respect toward the former First Lady, however at the last moment he threw his hat in the ring.
The source said Mr Lungu is now risking losing his job as PF party general secretary if he is not adopted by the general conference.
In her first move on the chess board, on Sunday, Dr Kaseba poured water on assertions that Defence minister Edgar Lungu was “anointed” by president Sata to take over from him shortly before he (Sata) was evacuated to the United Kingdom where he died.
Dr Kaseba said the family was hurt and disappointed with the infighting in the party and rumours that Mr Lungu was anointed as that suggested that her husband (Sata) knew that he was going to die.
The source said Kaseba has assured people close to her that funding for her presidential bid will not be an issue.
The country has witnessed acrimony in the ruling party following the death of President Sata.
Matero lawmaker Miles Sampa, Sata’s nephew who is believed to be backed by the cartel, was the first to file in nomination papers followed by Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba.
Former Diplomat Seleman Pangula, Kabwata lawmaker Given Lubinda are also among the those who have filed in nomination papers, as well as Commerce Minister Bob Sichinga.