PATRIOTIC Front (PF) deputy chief whip Tutwa Ngulube says claims by that UPND that they have evidence to the effect that some ministers attempted to bribe some of their members to vote for Bill 10 are all lies.
But UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa has dared the PF to go to court if they think the opposition has no evidence, saying the only reason his party has not reported the said ministers to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yet is because MPs are busy sensitizing their constituents on Coronavirus at the moment.
In an interview, Ngulube said UPND’s assertions were just an afterthought.
“The UPND were lying. If indeed they were bribed, why didn’t they mention that same day they were bribed or the following day? So this just tells that it was an afterthought because they only started bringing those allegations afterwards. We all know that the UPND never supported the Constitutional making process and the UPND themselves who claimed that PF tried to bribe people, we challenge them to mention the names of the MPs who were being approached and also to make that evidence public. We cannot continue working on lies all the time; every time they (UPND) wake up, they want to lie to the people of Zambia. The people of Zambia are sick and tired of such games,” Ngulube said.
“The UPND are just feeling the pressure that the Bill almost went through. Had it not been for the coronavirus, Bill number 10 would have been law today as we are speaking. And if UPND think they had the numbers to shoot down the Bill then why were they panicking? Why did Jack Mwiimbu stand on a point of order? Why did Gary Nkombo stand on a point of order? If it’s true we had no numbers and we were just trying to bribe people, why did they do everything possible to block the process? For us as PF, we are not scared of anybody because we know that the people of Zambia have gathered sufficient knowledge about the Bill and are supporting it.”
Ngulube said PF had no reason to believe what the UPND had accused them of because the opposition lawmakers were liars whose politics had always thrived on deceit.
“UPND have been lying throughout the process and today who can even believe them? If they had evidence why didn’t they report to ACC? Because they know where the Anti-Corruption Commission is. The where the Zambia Police Service is and they know which people wanted to bribe them, why didn’t they mention them? And which MPs of theirs could we even bribe? We already know that most of the UPND MPs have already formed their opinions to vote for the Bill. So how do you bribe someone who has already agreed to work with you?” Ngulube asked.
Ngulube bragged that Bill 10 had gotten a lot of support from the time it was presented on the floor of the House.
“The moment we started debating the Bill, we had 111 MPs seated. So even when UPND walked out, we already had the numbers to pass the Bill. If we wanted to pass that Bill in a hurry, we would have passed it while the UPND were outside. But decided to say the people of Zambia would think there is something sinister. So we decided to allow those who wanted to debate to go ahead so that people could understand. There should be sufficient grounds, we want people to understand why we Bill 10 had to be passed even 20 years from now because we are passing the Constitution. If it was these other simple things we could have even passed it without a debate. But we want the people of Zambia to wake up in future and understand the reasoning behind such a law,” said Ngulube.
“So even the time UPND were saying that we were short of one MP to pass the Bill they were lying because we already had the numbers. Some more MPs have actually come out and said they want to support the Bill because now they are under pressure. The people in their constituencies and Chiefdoms are asking them to explain why they boycotted such a good law.”
But in a separate interview, Mweetwa said the only thing stopping his party from reporting PF to ACC was the coronavirus pandemic.
“At the moment we are just concerned with issues of coronavirus. We will resume with issues of corruption once I get back to Lusaka. For now we are putting all our efforts on sensitizing our people on coronavirus. But if PF thinks we are lying, that is not a problem. I have challenged them that they should go to court if what we said is not true. I have challenged them to say if what I said amounts to defamation then they should go to court. Me I can never just wake up and say these people were doing things that they were in fact not doing… so people who are not involved should not begin to doubt because they who are involved are just quiet. So we will resume this when I return to Lusaka,” said Mweetwa.