LAMECK Mangani has accused some PF party officials of maligning and blackmailing him.

Mangani has been suspended together with five others from Eastern Province for 'sowing seeds of division'.
But Mangani said PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba had been misled over the suspension.

"My strong feeling is that our secretary general has been misinformed by people with intentions to blackmail and destroy me. The day there was confusion, I was in Lusaka and none of those that are suspended attended that meeting.

I have absolutely nothing to do with that issue of organising gangs," said Mangani.
Mangani said while in Lusaka, he received a phone call from Chipata district chairman, a Mr Musimuko, requesting for transport to go home.
He said this was after the district met to discuss President Michael Sata's visit to that province.

"It's in that meeting where Mr Musimuko was forced to accept and recognise them (parallel structure) against party guidelines, failure to which he should step down. They also wanted him to adopt Hannif Badat as the PF candidate for Chipata Central Constituency but he refused, saying the case was still in the High Court.

He refused and some people who seemed to have been paid locked doors and harassed him before youths from Kapata bus station came to rescue him. He called me later, asking for transport and I assisted. That's the only role I played," he explained.

Mangani said the only crime he committed was providing transport for a party official who was harassed.

Kabimba suspended six Eastern Province executive committee members for insubordination.

He suspended the officials after receiving a report from the Chipata district committee that they had been collaborating with Mangani in sowing seeds of division in the party.

"The report also alleges that on November 17, 2012 Mr Lameck Mangani with your full knowledge sent a gang of youths to disrupt a meeting of the Patriotic Front district committee in Chipata. In the process, the district secretary, Mr Frank Mutale Bweupe was severely beaten and consequently placed in police custody," read the letter in part.

"In view of the above, I have decided to suspend you from the party with immediate effect in accordance with the provisions of the party constitution. During this period of your suspension, you shall not take part or participate in any activities or programmes of the party or meet with any party member."

But Chipata Central Constituency secretary William Phiri, who has also been suspended, said the suspension was null and void because the decision was made without the approval of the central committee.

"If Wynter is looking for people to worship him then we are not the right ones. He is busy trying to clear his way for presidency by making sure that he unfairly removes all up-right people and fill the vacancies with his puppets on all structures. He can suspend us all but he should know that he is digging his own grave. He should not take this party as though it was formed in a bedroom between him and his wife," said Phiri in an interview.

Those suspended are Lucas Phiri (provincial chairman), Joseph Mutale (provincial secretary), Andrew Lubusha, (provincial youth chairman), Joseph Kolosa, provincial vice-secretary, William Phiri (constituency secretary) and Daniel Phiri (constituency treasurer).

And Lucas Phiri says he is going to contest his suspension because he is innocent.

In an interview from Chipata on Monday, Lucas Phiri said his suspension had come as a shock because it was done in an unusual manner.
He said he was never asked by Kabimba to exculpate himself on allegations leveled him.

He said it was going to be better for the party to use government wings to investigate the confusions that had rocked the party.

"You know the way the suspension letter has been written is full of allegations where they would have asked me to write an exculpatory letter within seven days. Moreover, we have written as a provincial committee to the secretariat that there are parallel structures in Chipata Central and there are parallel structures in Chipata district where the vice-chairman is working with Badat.

Mr Msimuko is neutral but he is being sidelined," Lucas Phiri said.
Lucas Phiri said the confusion that had rocked the PF in Chipata was not caused by him or Mangani.

Lucas Phiri said it was just fair for the secretariat to exonerate him from the problems because he was not part and parcel.
He said the confusion started after the Chipata Central parliamentary seat was nullified by the High Court after Mangani petitioned the election of Mtolo Phiri who subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court.

"There are some people within PF who have been funded to fan problems in PF. I as a provincial chairman, I am very innocent even the people that have been suspended together with me are very innocent. I have received this suspension with mixed feelings, I have not accepted it and will contest it because there was no way I could be blamed for things I didn't do," Phiri said.
He said being a provincial chairperson he had seen how sweet it was to be in government and that he could not destabilise the party in any way.

"I have felt the sweetness of being in the ruling party, how can I be so stupid and so silly to start destabilising my own party? If they failed to buy me in Rupiah's government, how stupid, how silly could I be now (to destabilise my party)? I am enjoying and my CV has gone high, so how can I destabilise my own party?" asked Phiri.