National Restoration Party president Elias Chipimo says the UPND has failed to prove what it would do differently if it was voted into office and could potentially be worse than PF.
And Chipimo says UPND should convincingly address allegations that the party offered to pay MPs $1 million to vote for the impeachment motion as a simple denial does not suffice.
Meanwhile, Chipimo says the dialogue process is an exercise in futility because the PF and UPND have no intentions of resolving their differences.
In an interview, Chipimo said whilst his party supported the impeachment motion, he was not convinced that the UPND was not as selfish as the PF.
“The Zambian people are tired of recycled ideas, recycled approaches and things that reinforce the very issue that are leading to marginalization in this country. We need selfless leadership in this country and we are not seeing it it the very people who have the responsibility of leading this nation now whether they are in power or not. Because you have those in power and those who are close to power because they have large numbers in Parliament. When we look at how they use that power, they use it really to promote personal agendas and programmes that will simply see them come to power. We are not seeing a clear strategy and clear plans and ideas about what will be done if PF is removed from power. In fact, if anything we are in danger of perhaps inheriting something potentially worse only because this has been the trend. We felt that getting rid of MMD and putting in PF would somehow bring about a better opportunity for ordinary Zambians. What has happened? The poverty numbers have remained extremely high and if anything, are a lot worse now than it was before,” Chipimo said.
“And the same thing will happen if you will simply persue removing the PF from power and don’t have a clear agenda or an alternative plan to put in place. And that is not fully explained to the people now, that is what we are trying to do as NAREP. We urge all political parties, let’s stop being selfish. Let’s not pursue politics as usual for the sake of personal gain. Let’s look now at the people and that’s why we have come up with this program we are calling ‘TiPanGeni’. Because that is a very clear agenda that can benefit every single Zambian. We are able to make a very clear and categorical statement that we will end the chronic poverty that you see. We will bring about jobs and prosperity for all Zambians. They will be nobody left behind. We will engage with the civil society, and the private sector, they traditional authority, women and youth groups in a way that will empower and not disempower as we have seen under the PF.”
He said, however, that his party supported the impeachment motion.
“But we certainly believe that there is every right and reason to support the pursuit of the impeachment motion and we believe that there would be wider consultations, solid grounds on which to bring about robust and unchallengeable means of taking the impeachment process forward. We fully agree that the process has been complied with and we expect that that impeachment procedure will now go forward. I know that some people have raise issue around matter in court and that the constitution does not stipulate that there is a right way for anybody to determine that a matter that is already in court cannot be brought out as ground for impeachment. There is a separate procedure that has to be followed in order to challenge that. It cannot without the intervention of court stop the motion from going forward,” he said.
And Chipimo challenged the UPND to convincingly address allegations that they were paying MPs to support the motion.
“These are serious allegation being made about whether PF back benchers are being coerced into supporting the impeachment motion with serious sums of money. These are very strong allegations. And there must be a very categorical response to this rather than just the denial because, we as NAREP support the idea of using all democratic means to bring to account the mismanagement of our economy and our nation and our national resources by the PF administration. The impeachment is the legitimate means through which accountability is brought into the public arena. However, we want to make sure that this is not being done in a way that will undermine the very democracy that the constitution was designed to protect. So, we hope that there is no truth in the allegations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chipimo said the dialogue process was an exercise in futility.
“I think it has been evident for along time now, that the current trajectory of the leadership that should have been serving Zambia have failed. And this isn’t something that happened over night it has been a gradual process that started from the time that there was an attempt as unity to ask the MMD (Movement for Multi-Party Democracy) when the was the largest opposition and they tried to unity with UPND, it was very clear from that that there was never ever going to be a meeting point between these two parties that could take our country forward. Now this is when they actually had a reason to work together. So, what more, when they are now directly opposing each other in order to gain political power?” asked Chipimo.
“If they couldn’t bring about unity amongst themselves when they most needed to so that they could both test power, we cannot expect that they can both be able to do so right now when they are both vying against each other for the very same power. This is a power struggle and it’s a power struggle which is based not on what’s best for the country, but its based almost entirely on the pursuit of power for the sake of power so that people can now feel that its their turn to take advantage of what authority can bring to them for their personal benefit. Sadly, this has become the reality which why we actually need a completely new face.”