Mulobezi independent member of parliament Alfred Mandumbwa has asked Patriotic Front members to stop blackmailing the UPND into withdrawing the impeachment motion against President Edgar Lungu on grounds that it would fail.

And Mandumbwa says he will also vote along with the opposition United Party for National Development in the motion to impeach President Lungu if the grounds for doing so are reasonably valid.

Speaking to News Diggers! in an interview, Mandumbwa said while the PF had the advantage of numbers in parliament, it was not their jurisdiction to determine the relevance of matters that are taken to parliament but that it was up to the Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini to decide.

“The UPND have raised a number of allegations in their impeachment motion, suggesting gross misconduct and abuse of authority by the President of this country, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu. I have not seen that document myself yet but I want to believe that once it’s brought to Parliament, we as members of parliament will have an opportunity to digest the motion and then decide whether to vote against it or to vote with the UPND. But speaking for myself as Mandumbwa, I will surely vote with the UPND if the arguments they are bringing in their motion are valid. I am a representative of the people, I was sent to parliament by the people of Mulobezi and it is only wise that I make decisions that best suit their needs. The allegations being made by the UPND in their motion are very sensitive and they deserve to be heard by Parliament, so that motion should come and we will debate it,” Mandumbwa said.

Mandumbwa said, the relevance of UPND’s impeachment motion could only determined by Speaker of the House

“No no, that is the Speaker’s jurisdiction. If the UPND have reason to believe that the President was in breach of the Constitution in his actions as highlighted and argued in their impeachment motion, then they have the right to be heard. Parliamentarians are the custodians of the law, we make laws and it is our responsibility to debate and argue about matters that border on the security if the country’s resources and generally, on the laws of this country as a whole,” he said.

“So if the reasons argued by the UPND to impeach the President are valid, then we will vote for them, I personally will vote for them. But if it has no valid reasons, then it will be thrown out from parliament. So the PF and indeed anybody else who is saying that this motion should not go to Parliament for whatever reasons must just wait for the motion to come to Parliament and then when it is their then they can give their reasons also for not siding with the UPND or for voting against it. It is expected of them (PF) to say that the motion would not pass, probably because of their numbers in Parliament but that does not in any way mean that the motion shouldn’t come to Parliament at all,” Mandumbwa said.

Meanwhile, the independent lawmaker said he was left disappointed with President Lungu’s speech to Parliament on the update he gave regarding the application of national values and principles, saying it lacked the critical matters that people expected him to address.

“ Last year, the President came to parliament where he spoke to the nation about the importance of national unity, peace and sovereignty in our nation. In his address, the President explained the important role that each and every individual must play in safeguarding our national values and principles. But to my dismay this year, he never gave us an update on what government had done to ensure that citizens were abiding to the principles set out to safeguard our national values,” said Mandumbwa.

“He never explained the failures and achievements made in that respect or even to give us reasons why the application of national values and principles has failed if at all it has failed. So for me, that speech did not address the most important questions that I and perhaps everybody expected to be addressed. And this raises a lot of questions for me, because this is a government that seems to be promising more and yet doing very little to live up to its promises,” said Mandumbwa