LUSAKA, Zambia’s governing party has opted to hold a general conference as a mode of picking its presidential candidate for next January’s presidential election after days of wrangling, the Zambia Daily Mail reported on Friday.
Acting President Guy Scott said the general conference will be held next Friday in central Zambia’s Kabwe town where 5,000 delegates are expected to attend.
Zambia will hold a presidential election on January 20 following the death of President Michael Sata on Oct. 28 at London’ s King Edward VII Hospital where he had gone for medical check-ups.
According to the country’s constitution, a presidential election should be held within 90 days.
However, the governing Patriotic Front (PF) has been embroiled in wrangles over the mode of selecting its candidate for the presidential election, with some saying the party’s highest organ, the National Executive Committee (NEC), should choose the candidate while others wanted the holding of the general conference.
So far, 10 aspiring candidates, among them, Sata’s widow, Christine and his son Mulenga, have successfully filed in their nomination papers.
But Scott, who is not eligible to stand due to a parentage clause in the constitution, said the party was currently examining the qualifications of the aspiring candidates for adoption to contest for the presidential election.
According to Scott, not all candidates who filed their nominations qualify for the presidency because the constitution bars some of them.
Others who have filed their nominations include defense minister Edgar Lungu, commerce, trade and industry Robert Sichinga and his deputy Miles Sampa. Others are agriculture minister Wilbur Simuusa, former minister of defense Geoffrey Mwamba, former foreign affairs minister Given Lubinda and the country’s former high commissioner to Nigeria Selema Phangula Banda.