Former Zambian Deputy Commerce Minister Miles Sampa, who lost a bitter battle with Edgar Lungu for leadership of the ruling Patriotic Front in 2014, has quit the party.
“My decision came about as a result of the intolerance, hate, vengeance and violent conduct toward party members; including those who supported me at the Kabwe convention in 2014,” Sampa said in a statement posted to his Facebook account, referring to the disputed meeting where Lungu became Patriotic Front leader. Lungu went on to win January 2015 elections. “My efforts to unite the party have proved futile last 12 months.”
The decision by Sampa, who quit his ministerial position in October, may cause friction in the Patriotic Front ahead of general elections set for Aug. 11. His battle with Lungu over the party’s leadership following President Michael Sata’s death in 2014 split the party and reduced its support in last year’s polls. Lungu narrowly defeated opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema by fewer than 28,000 votes in the election.
Two calls to Sampa’s mobile phone didn’t connect. A party spokesman said his resignation wouldn’t have a major impact.
“It will not be a big issue,” Patriotic Front Spokesman Frank Bwalya said in comments broadcast on Lusaka-based Hot FM radio. “PF will not be shaken. PF is bigger than Miles Sampa and it will continue.”