UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says it is shocking to see a lot of anger coming from the PF over the impeachment motion when it is aimed at addressing constitutional breaches by the President.
And ADD leader Charles Milupi says it is also in the PF’s interest to impeach President Edgar Lungu as it will demonstrate to Zambians that they obey the laws of Zambia.
Meanwhile, MMD president Nevers Mumba says instead of attacking the impeachment motion in the media, PF MPs must stand on the floor of the House and convince Zambians that President Lungu did not abrogate the Constitution.
The opposition leaders were speaking when they featured on Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy, Monday.
“What the impeachment is trying to do is to bring to the floor these constitutional breaches, this breakdown in the rule of law, and that they should not continue. No one in that office should abrogate the constitutional obligations and get away with it. No one of us in the opposition should abrogate the constitution and other laws and cause anarchy to the peace of citizens and get away with it. It’s not about PF, I don’t know where the anger is coming from, it’s about all of us,” Hichilema said.
He said it was wrong to accuse the impeachment motion of jeopardizing dialogue.
“The complaints PF are making that the impeachment will jeopardize the dialogue process cannot be anywhere near the truth. We have taken a civilized route to demonstrate the ills that brought us to where we are, we want to normalize the country through a legal process. If they are saying they have clean hands going into the dialogue and they have clean hands, is that true? No. We want to exercise our freedom of movement, we are not allowed. Davies Mwila is going round the country without following the Public Order Act, we in the UPND and my colleagues want to go to Chipata and we have to struggle to get our rights actualized, we have to plead,” Hichilema said.
And ADD president Charles Milupi said the impeachment motion was not about regime change.
“Let me say from the outset, this is not about regime change. Some people can say ‘they can’t wait for 2021, they want to go to State House through the back door’. This is not about regime change. No one is saying PF, as a result of impeachment must get out of office. Our Constitution is very specific, whatever happens, if in Parliament they are able to achieve a two thirds majority and the motion goes through, the Speaker is supposed to write to the Chief Justice within 48 hours who then is supposed to constitute a panel of judges, three of them who would look at the matters raised in the debate and it is only if they find Mr Lungu guilty that the whole process comes to an end. This is being done on behalf of the nation to restore the country back to legality,” said Milupi.
“It is also in the interest of the PF to ensure that they demonstrate to the people that they obey the laws of this country. PF is not one person, it is them as a party that’s why we are saying please disregard the numbers and focus on the issues being brought.”
Meanwhile, Mumba said instead of attacking the impeachment motion in the media, PF MPs must stand on the floor of the House and convince Zambians that President Edgar Lungu did not abrogate the Constitution.
“If it is cleared and over, he will feel a better person. At least he will breathe because it has gone through the process. But if you stifle it, you start to criticize it even before it begins, I think that we are creating a scenario in our country that is going to take away from what Zambia is. Zambia is a great nation on the continent and we must keep it great and it can only be great if we respect the law that we have created for ourselves. Now we are testing the instrument that Parliament is part of democracy and we hope that our colleagues from the PF can join us,” said Mumba.
“What we expect from the Patriotic Front members of parliament is to stand on the floor of that House and say ‘listen, this charge is wrong because the constitution means A,B,C,D and they attack ‘article by article’ and use the wisdom, the knowledge and understanding of law to debate it. We want them to convince us and say the reason why President Lungu did not hand over power is because the Speaker was not ready or because the Speaker said no or the Chief Justice said ‘no, I am too busy to swear in another president’. They have got to say it on the floor of the House. Even if it was my father who has done what Mr Lungu has done, I can say ‘father, please answer’ because this is the Constitution…if they answer, this thing is going beautifully because that is what democracy is all about.”
And Mulongoti urged parliamentarians to avoid being partisan when making critical decisions.
“They did not swear and take oath to defend the constitution of PF but to protest the Constitution of Zambia. And oposition is a creation of the Constitution, presidency, member of parliament, ministers, are a creation of the Constitution because the Constitution is supreme. At no point should a person who took oath to protect and defend the Constitution say ‘I would rather stand by my political party’ at that point, they must make a decision to vote with their feet, meaning they must walkout. That oath is a serious oath and that is why when they debate, they should not debate on their self preservation, or the preservation of their leader, that is not the issue. The issue at play is this, the one who took this law in place are the same MPs, they are the ones who voted in the House. Now what they should do is to obey the laws that they put there. So make a decision, if you want to be partisan and disobey the law, you can impeach yourselves as well,” Mulongoti said.
He also observed that the impeachment process presented opportunities for PF members as well.
“If this process was successful and Inonge Wina thinks she can’t carry the burden alone up to 2021, she is free to call an early election. These are opportunities available to the PF as well, not only to us as opposition leaders but to the PF as well for renewal. The stress is so deep, the anger is there so for me, I don’t want to be an apologist over this issue. The PF can ask themselves whether it will be right for them to continue up to 2021 with the impending problems that we can foresee but my plea is that they defend the Constitution,” said Mulongoti.