The drama concerning the leadership of Zambia's current ruling party and its selection of a presidential candidate took an unexpected turn on Tuesday night, as an emergency meeting by the party's Central Committee voted to remove Acting President Guy Scott as the party's Vice President.
The Central Committee voted on the resolution for Scott's removal during an emergency meeting held at Lusaka's Blue Nile Lodge.
Guy Scott, whose takeover of power following the death of President Michael Sata has been the subject of extensive controversy, had earlier today written a letter to Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda, which argued that the country's highest court must not allow nomination papers to be filed for candidate Edgar Lungu until the court challenge by competitor Miles Sampa had been exhausted before the courts.
In his letter to the Acting Chief Justice Chibesakunda, who is several years beyond the legal retirement age but had held on to her position due to direct blood relations to the late President Sata, Guy Scott argued "please note that any attempt to bring forward the nomination of any candidate before the end of legal processes should not be entertained."
In response, the Lungu camp also wrote a letter to the Acting Chief Justice, pointing out that under the constitution the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is a fully independent institution that cannot take instructions from the Supreme Court, and that Edgar Lungu was indeed the duly elected candidate.
"As Party President neither, the Central Committee nor myself were consulted by my Vice-President, Dr. Guy Scott before this letter could be written to yourself," Lungu's letter to Chibesakunda reads. "Therefore the letter written to yourself must be ignored in totality as it has no authority or blessing of the President, or the Central Committee and can best be described as an act of gross indiscipline."
Following the emergency Central Committee meeting following these events, Lungu signed another letter, this time directly to Guy Scott, notifying him of the resolution regarding his immediate removal as the party's Vice President, describing his action as "gross indiscipline" that has "threatened the Peace, Law and Order in the Party and the Nation."
"You are aware that I was elected PF President by the General Conference held on 30th November 2014 at the Mulumgushi Rock of Authority in Kabwe," Lungu states in his letter to Scott. "This Consent Judgment remains valid and binding on all members of the Patriotic Front and has not been discharged or set aside by any court of law. You are also aware that the High Court upheld this decision through a Consent Judgment issued on 3rd December 2014."
Lungu's letter to Scott concludes: "In pursuance of Article 19 (c) and 61(j) of the Party Constitution you are hereby informed that you have been removed from the position of the position of Vice-President with immediate effect and will henceforth remain an ordinary member of the party."