Sata's son quits race for Zambian presidency

Son of late Zambian president Michael Sata, Mulenga has withdrawn his candidature for presidency of the Patriotic Front. (Reuters)

Son of late Zambian president Michael Sata, Mulenga has withdrawn his candidature for presidency of the Patriotic Front. (Reuters)

The son of late Zambian president Michael Sata, Mulenga (50), has withdrawn his candidature for presidency of the Patriotic Front (PF) saying he wants to dispel the notion that the family is at war with itself. 

“Having carefully reflected on this matter for several days, I have come [to] the rational conclusion that one or some of us have to take the logical and selfless step backwards in the best interests of the party. A polarised and divided party does not augur well for our future,” Mulenga said. 

Mulenga is one of four of Sata’s relatives who filled in nomination papers to stand as presidential candidates for the PF. His withdrawal leaves Miles Sampa (nephew of Sata), Christine Kaseba (widow of Sata) and Robert Sichinga (Sata’s in-law) still in the race. 

Mulenga who is the Lusaka mayor, says there have been hurtful comments made by party members and others intimating that the Sata family is greedy and wants to perpetuate a legacy, which could be likened to an “imperial monarchy”.

“On the contrary, the Sata’s entered the presidential race out of a genuine desire to serve the party and the country.”

Mulenga added that in political terms he is still a young man and can stand for the presidency in the future. 

Thick political skin
While not endorsing any of the remaining candidates, Mulenga who once boasted he had a thick political skin,  said the forthcoming conference should elect a leader that would carry on his father’s legacy and vision for the PF and Zambia. 

“We shall need mature and level heads to prevail. This will be the best way of honouring and respecting my father’s legacy and everything that he stood for.” 

Mulenga, who started his political career as a councillor, had earlier this month announced his intention to take over from his late father saying that, as his son, he wanted to carry out his father’s vision. 

On Saturday, the PF will hold a conference to choose its presidential candidate for the January 20 poll. Excluding Mulenga, the party has nine candidates who have designs on the presidency. The party has been split over who will replace Sata. 

Sata, who died on October 29 after a long illness had no clear preferred successor. Also vying for the position is Defence Minister Edgar Lungu whose popularity within the party is growing.

 

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