EMMANUEL Mwamba, Brian Hapunda and other aides yesterday irritated Edgar Lungu when they jostled in a display of excessive courtesy at the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) meeting with presidential candidates at Mulungushi International Conference Centre.
And ECZ has extended the presidential nominating days by two days to accommodate the number of aspiring candidates, which has exceeded 10.
Lungu went to Mulungushi International Conference Centre to join other presidential aspirants for a meeting with ECZ officials.
All the aspiring candidates and ECZ officials first assembled in one of the rooms before the meeting commenced.
When Lungu, who was one of the last people to come out from the holding room was about to join the rest of the aspiring candidates in the conference room, Mwamba struggled to open the other door to make the way wide enough for Lungu to pass.
Mwamba, Hapunda and other handlers who have been helping Lungu with publicity were at the venue to welcome him.
When Lungu emerged from the holding room, Mwamba’s team jostled to open the door for him and in the process caused a protocol gaffe.
As Lungu was walking to the conference room, he complained about the unnecessary security and the uncoordinated protocol officers that ushered him out of the holding room.
Lungu, who looked irritated, confused and lost, briefly stopped as gender minister Inonge Wina also tried to clear for him the way to the venue of the meeting.
“Ififine, ifyakweba ati uyu ni protocol officer, noyu ni protocol officer! It’s so confusing and embarrassing,” Lungu said as his aide, Mwamba, busied himself with clearing the way for him.
Lungu walked to the conference room while shaking his head and looking annoyed.
Earlier, as Lungu waited for Mwamba to open the door, Wina came out talking to herself that she was not the president.
“I am not the president for you people to pay so much attention to me,” said Wina, who seemed not to know where to direct Lungu.
But it was former president Rupiah Banda who was the happiest man of the day.
Banda did not need handlers or guides to express his full mood for the day as he freely mingled and exchanged pleasantries with key stakeholders and the media.
The former president drew attention by asking some people how they were doing and smiled all the way till he took his seat.
Before Banda could join the other aspiring candidates in the holding room, he greeted ECZ chairperson justice Irene Mambilima, ECZ director Priscilla Isaacs and some journalists.
UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was not present at the meeting as he was reportedly on a tour of duty in Chama, Eastern Province, according to party deputy spokesperson Edwin Lifwekelo.
Earlier, MMD president Nevers Mumba had also turned up for the meeting but left shortly after being informed that the injunction he was granted stopping his party from interfering with operations had been discharged.
And justice Mambilima reiterated that there would be no extension to the nomination time-table on account of any political party not being ready.
Justice Mambilima said aspiring candidates were expected to advise the Commission on the time they wished to lodge their nomination papers.
She said so far, 10 political parties had confirmed their participation.
She said the Commission was yet to agree with the PF on the time and date that their candidate would file nomination papers.
Justice Mambilima called on all political parties to conduct themselves in a responsible and peaceful manner during and after the elections.
Aspiring candidates that were present were Lungu, Banda, NAREP’s Elias Chipimo, National Revolution Party’s Cosmo Mumba, United People’s Jubilee Party president Danny Pule, and Poor People’s Party president Alex Muliokela.
Others are Fourth Revolution Party president Eric Chanda, Forum for Democratic Alternative president Ludwig Sondashi, Green Party president Peter Sinkamba, and Heritage Party’s Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda. – See more at: http://postzambia.com/news.php?id=4520#sthash.ItJH4Pwf.dpuf