MATERO PF member of parliament Miles Sampa says he could no longer pretend that things are okay in the country and decided to resign from government so that he can share the suffering with the people in his constituency.
And Sampa (right) says Chishimba Kambwili should not speak on his behalf because he is not his spokesperson.
Meanwhile, PF secretary general Davies Chama says the ruling party should respect Sampa, who recently resigned from government as commerce deputy minister.
Speaking when he addressed his PF supporters who went to offer him solidarity at his house yesterday, Sampa said it was not true that he resigned because his presidential ambitions were being frustrated, as claimed by Kambwili recently.
“He (Kambwili) is not my spokesperson. He should speak for himself. The reasons that I gave for my resignation are very clear. I want to spend time with the people of Matero who elected me. It is not a position (of deputy minister) that makes you give a service to the people. That is what I want to do the next few months. I am helping the President,” Sampa told the placard-carrying and slogan-chanting supporters.
“I am humbled by your support. I don’t know what I have done for some PF officials to call for my resignation. I explained why I resigned from government, but I have seen that whatever I say is getting distorted. I did not think that as a member of parliament, I should bury myself in the sand and pretend that everything is fine. The people’s major complaint is poverty. I told them when you see me, don’t deny me nshima. I will eat whatever you are eating. I was born in poverty, I know it.”
He said he has no intentions of resigning from the ruling party.
“I am not resigning. I was born in PF and I will die in PF. It is the only home that I know. There will be no by-election. I have my fathers and mothers in PF,” said Sampa in reaction to a statement by the PF Lusaka district executive committee that they found his resignation from government and his recent media statements absurd and myopic.
“Hon Sampa has been deputy finance and deputy commerce minister for four years and for him to realise now that life of a deputy minister is too luxurious is very unfortunate,” said Stafford Kayame, the district chairman. “The Honourable in his resignation letter stated that he would like to concentrate on party mobilisation but what he is doing is contrary. However, as Lusaka district, we will not sit idle and watch the party being torn apart by a senior member. We only know one President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu.”
However, Chama has urged PF members to respect the former deputy minister.
He told 5FM radio that Sampa’s resignation was his democratic right.
“That is the position of the party. We have had precedent. When late Michael Sata was president, may his soul rest in peace, Honourable Davies Mwila (home affairs minister) resigned as deputy minister of defence [then] and no one called for his resignation from the party,” Chama said.
“Hon Sampa has resigned maybe because he wants to concentrate on his personal businesses. He has pledged that he will continue to be a member of the party and to be MP. So the position of the party is, we must respect his democratic right to belong or not to belong until a time when he indicates otherwise.”
And in an interview, Chama said PF would not go to a general conference to nominate a 2016 presidential candidate because Edgar Lungu has a constitutional mandate to lead the ruling party into next year’s tripartite elections.
He was reacting to Rachael Chileshe, a staunch PF supporter, who recently said she was disgusted by how the Head of State was treating senior members of the ruling party who sacrificed their rights to put him in office, and called for a convention where a 2016 presidential candidate would be nominated.
Chileshe said President Lungu had shown lack of gratitude for Sampa, who sacrificed a lot to make him President.
But Chama described Chileshe’s call for an elective convention as unconstitutional.
“We are a party that respects our constitution. And we respected our constitution last year; we interpreted it and went for a general conference. Remember, there was a very heated debate whether the central committee should choose a president or the general conference and finally we agreed that we go for a general conference. So if people have realised that probably they should not have called for a general conference in the first place, they have realised that they made a mistake, they should have not called for a general conference, they should have let the central committee elect the president at that time, then the reason for a general conference (now) would have been very valid because then the mandate would have expired,” said Chama.