ADD president Charles Milupi says Justice Minister Given Lubinda is mistaken to think that the Political Parties Bill will control how much funds go into campaigns because the ruling party will always get money from government deals.
And Milupi has asked Lubinda to give NGOs, Civil Society Organisations and the church ample time to thoroughly debate the Political Parties Bill before it is presented to Parliament so that more views can be heard on the matter.
The Alliance for Development and Democracy president was reacting to Lubinda’s interview on Hot FM’s Hot Seat programme on which he said under the current Constitution, government would give more campaign funds to political parties with more members of parliament.
The justice minister said political parties needed to be controlled on the amount of money to use during campaigns, adding that they will have to account for every bit of it.
But Milupi said although the intention was good, it would be difficult for the ruling party to account.
“If you are going to build political parties it must be everybody including those who are in Parliament and those who are not. If they think that by funding political parties, they will control how much money they use in campaigns, he’s totally mistaken. Because of the theft that takes place in government, we find that political parties spend a lot more than any amount that can be given out through the national budget,” Milupi observed.
“Look at the said PF, in 2011 when they stood for elections they hardly had any chitenge material, and the quality was very poor including their t-shirts. ADD had a better chitenge and t-shirts when i stood as president but since they went into government, you will find that in rural areas almost everyone is wearing PF vintenges. The supply of these materials comes from people who opt to do things with government costing vast amount of money that can never be taken out of government through the support funds for political parties.”
He said the PF would not afford to rely on government funds for campaigns because it would be disadvantaged.
“He is now saying because parties will be funded, no political parties will be required to raise money from anywhere else. If that’s what he is saying, the party which will be more affected is the PF itself because they are raising a lot more through contractors, those looking for business and through all the corruption being seen. If Mr Lubinda says they are now going to control that, a party like ourselves will not suffer because we don’t raise that much money. We wait for our members to raise for campaign materials and so on,” Milupi said.
“If they are going to control the money the parties spend, how are they going to do it and how will they control the party in government which is PF when they are the ones spending a lot of money?”
And Milupi asked Lubinda to allow thorough debate on the issue.
“Mr Lubinda must allow the full process of consultation to take place and let the views expressed by the church, NGOs, Civil Society and political parties to meet before the final bill is presented to Parliament and let parliamentarians debate it thoroughly so that a law is made that will improve democracy in Zambia instead of pushing it through the back door so that they control opposition parties,” said Milupi.
“I don’t know whether he has rejected the views from the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue. Because that view came from ZCID which is representing all parties.”