Government Chief Whip Richard Musukwa says the UPND’s decision to shun the State of the Nation address by President Edgar Lungu yesterday was ridiculous, childish and unacceptable.

In an interview, Musukwa said the UPND would become irrelevant if they reduced themselves to pettiness.

“If we can have that kind of reckless, childish and clearly partisan position in Parliament, it’s unacceptable for national leaders. And if they are going to reduce themselves to pettiness like that, they will become irrelevant. In fact they are irrelevant already,” Musukwa said.

He said the National Assembly did not need UPND MPs to function.

“I want to assure you that I have a forum to transact business without UPND in parliament, we don’t need them. They can continue doing the drama and theatre. Am sure by now they know that their decision is not coming from themselves expressing their free rights, it is coming from their president who through their secretary general issued a memo that they should miss parliament,” Musukwa said.

“They are just massaging the ego of one man called Hakainde Hichilema who lost elections. The next set of elections in Zambia is being held in 2021, the 2016 elections are over and Zambians are waiting for development, that’s what Edgar Chagwa Lungu and PF are discharging on behalf of Zambians. These are the same people who have been going round telling people that Hakainde Hichilema will be sworn in as president, president for which country? Zambia has a president who has already been sworn in, in the name of Edgar Chagwa Lungu.”

Musukwa also praised UPND Chilanga MP Keith Mukata who defied his party by attending the Parliamentary proceeding.

“You know that Keith Mukata is one of Zambia’s distinguished lawyers and am very confident that as a distinguished lawyer, Keith Mukata must have known that the decision of those UPND MPs is illegal because the Speaker of the National Assembly pursuant to the behavior they did last time at the inauguration by the President, made a ruling that their action was illegal and unacceptable and they apologized,” he said.

Musukwa alleged that UPND members of parliament were deliberately breaking the law for their political expedience.

“It is unfortunate that Zambians have seen that these are irresponsible and immature people who want to take Zambians for granted. Elections are not won by doing illegal things…We are aware ourselves as PF and government that UPND has hatched a political scheme after failing to win competitive elections, they want to portray to the Zambian people that they can make the country ungovernable, not at all, they will not succeed because Zambians are too intelligent to be cheated by people who have lost an election. And as parliament we will not allow that kind of behavior,” said Musukwa.