Vice-President Inonge Wina says the issue of leaders clinging onto power is not only a phenomena of a presiding President because the trend also exists even amongst opposition political parties.
And Wina says the PF and President Lungu himself will decide if he wants to recontest the presidency at the next general elections.
Responding to a question from Choma Central member of parliament Cornelius Mweetwa following the political crisis in Zimbabwe, Wina said the ruling party had seen opposition leaders hold on to power for a very long time without allowing intra-party democracy to take root.
In his question, Mweetwa also queried the Vice-President to state exactly what the PF’s position was with regards to its 2021 Presidential candidate since President Lungu and the ruling party Secretary General were issuing contradictory statements.
“Your honour the Vice-President, clinging onto power beyond reasonableness or beyond legitimate tenure of office is a common source of political instability in Africa as we are now witnessing a bizarre unfolding of a political situation in Zimbabwe. Sometime last week, president Lungu told the nation that he is going only up to 2021 and quickly the secretary general of the PF rushed to the media to nullify the statement that the Head of State and his own party President had made, leaving ordinary citizens to wonder who to believe now… whether President Lungu or his secretary general of PF,” Mweetwa observed.
“This is bringing some level of uncertainty in the minds of the citizens. In view of the aforesaid, your honour the Vice-President what is the correct position that the citizens of this country should take about the desire of President Lungu to contest or not recontest the elections in 2021 and not the legality which is being challenged in Court,” submitted Mweetwa.
And in her response, the Vice-President said it would be up to President Lungu and the party to decide whether or not he was going to contest the elections.
“Madam Speaker, clinging to power is not a phenomena of a presiding President because we have seen even in political parties that leaders have held on to power for a very long time without allowing intra-party democracy to take root in those parties. The Secretary General of the PF has every right to inform the nation as to the party’s preferred candidate at any given time. So this is what happens. In any case, President Lungu never declared that he would never stand [in 2021], he said that his term of office, the current term of office ends in 2021 and then it will be decided by the party and himself whether he wants to stand or not. So if there are leaders who are aspiring to take that position in here hear me,” Wina said.
And the Vice-President also challenged members of parliament to desist from the scramble for positions in government and concentrate on their Parliamentary duties.
“Madam Speaker, this country faces a lot of developmental challenges that leaders should worry about but this insistence on the Presidency by our leaders leaves me to wonder whether we actually want to develop this country or we just want to be in State House, so I would like to urge my fellow members of parliament and other members out there that please, let us focus on the challenges that our country faces. So that we come out of this situation as a country and not just to be scrambling for positions almost on daily basis, I thank you Madam Speaker,” said Wina.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina told the House that farmers who had not yet been paid their money by FRA would be given all that was due to them by Monday next week.
“The concerns of the honourable member for Mwembeshi constituency are the concerns of government as well because we know that our farmers depend on these farming activities to enhance their livelihoods. Because of that, government has taken note and has instructed the Minister of Finance to release funds to FRA to pay farmers. The Minister has promised that by Monday next week money will reach FRA coffers and the farmers will be paid. Thank you,” said Vice-President Wina in response to Mwembeshi Independent member of Parliament Machila Chamba who wanted to know when farmers, especially in his constituency were going to be paid.