People’s Party president Mike Mulongoti says UPND members of parliament had the right to boycott the State of the Nation address by President Edgar Lungu yesterday.

And Mulongoti says if President Lungu cut down on his international trips, the country would be able to afford a Referendum to pass the Bill of Rights.

Featuring on Pan African Radio yesterday, Mulongoti recalled that it was actually the PF which made boycotts fashionable.

“They [PF] have no morality to condemn anybody because the time we were in power, we could also plead with them to attend functions such as this but they used to shun them,” Mulongoti recalled.

“We could tell them that these are national functions we are part of Zambia all together and so let’s be together, but they boycotted, so today they should not be saying that. They shouldn’t be complaining that the UPND didn’t come. I only feel hurt because those MPs are the ones who represent us, they will carry our voices for sure when they go to parliament. But PF cannot do that, they have no right to stand on that subject because they were the biggest culprit who sowed the seed that made people think it is fashionable to boycott. Secondly, the Constitution allows you to assemble and not to assemble and also if you choose to withdraw in a dignified manner without disrupting the functions, we can’t condemn you for that. But if you are loud, you are violent or whatever, that we will condemn.”

He said the PF was getting a taste of its own medicine.

“All we saw from the cameras that were showing Parliament, were empty seats so we realised that what was good for the goose that time, it’s also good for the gander and so the goose taught the gander how to do it,” Mulongoti said.

He said his only complaint was that some citizens were not represented in the House.

“So me yes, I have a complaint because I want those people to represent me as my MPs but PF cannot complain because they are ones who set that example many years ago. We pleaded with them many times but they refused to participate so they have no moral standard and they can’t talk about it. They should allow those of us who believe that we are one Zambia, we must move together to complain when we see that, but we will only condemn when it’s necessary because they have a constitutional right to stay away or to stay in. And when they walk away peacefully, I have said they have got the right to walk away peacefully as long as they do not disturb the business of the House,” Mulongoti said.

And Mulongoti said President Lungu’s statement that the country could not hold another Referendum due to lack of funds was unjustifiable as he could easily raise those funds by cutting down on trips.

“Because we held those two big elections Lungu is talking about, has he stopped traveling? No he hasn’t, he is going to New York, Washington to go and watch people dancing all over the show, has he stopped traveling? If you were to access how much he spent so far from the time we held elections, we would have held the Referendum. They are just not serious about it and the reason is simple, when you lack capacity to deliver that’s what happens,” he said.

“All these excuses about money are just lies. If they insist, why can’t they publish the amount of money they have spent from that we held elections up to now on their traveling and on all other expenses? No! Me I take it as a classic joke, it was a classic joke that he was cracking with the MPs because Edgar Lungu told the nation that he had corrupt ministers but he hasn’t fired them he is still eating and drinking with them, taking them to Israel to go and see where the Lord was crucified. He has simply been giving lip service and that kind of conduct is not good. Mr Lungu’s office received a report from ACC and elsewhere concerning corruption, seriously can he go to parliament and start politicking about it and do nothing about it? Why talk about it when you have no intentions to do anything about it?”