Bahati member of parliament Harry Kalaba says the Patriotic Front (PF) government should stop riding on none issues in its politics and focus on improving the livelihood of citizens as promised during campaigns.
And Kalaba says PF will not succeed in blocking the registration of the Zambian Democrats (ZD) political party, saying it is the constitutional right of any Zambian citizen to belong to a apolitical party of their choice.
Commenting on Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo’s statement that members of the PF should seek permission from the party before featuring on live interviews, Kalaba said the minister’s statement was just a none issue because what he was suggesting is impossible.
“That is a none issue and we can’t continue pursuing none issues in this country. What he (Kampyongo) is talking about is a not possible and it’s just a none issue. Can we begin to talk about improving the living standards of our people. Can we talk about substantive issues. When will we talk about the bridging of the gap between the rich and the poor? The many children that are failing to go into school? Every year, we have 450 000 school leavers who are failing to find space in colleges, who are failing to find space in other higher learning institutions. Every year we have 30 thousand graduates from various high learning institutions who can’t find their way into employment. The selection of people to work in the police service is selective, the selection of people to work in government is selective. Those are the issues we should be talking about but to take myself to that level, no, this country needs to move out of that,” Kalaba said.
“I think that ba PF…you know our electoral cycle shows that elections are only happening in 2021, which is three years from now. But has the E-voucher done well? Can we start working on the E-voucher. Are we sure that the roads that are dilapidating everyday are receiving maximum attention? Are we sure that we are taking advantage of our geographical position as a country to work on health tourism? Are we sure that we are taking advantage of being neighbours with the DRC to ensure that we improve our agricultural yield? Are we investing in research and development as a people so that we can have our students from the universities go in various areas to extrapolate the potential that lies in every district. Those are the issues for me that should concern a party in government. But when you see a leadership or politicians because me I don’t regard them as leaders, they are politicians who are more interested in scheming on how they should win elections and not why they should win elections, then you have a problem at your hands.”
And Kalaba said government would no succeed in blocking the registration of the Zambian Democrats (ZD), saying it was a constitutional right for every Zambian citizen to belong to a political party of their choice.
“The Zambian Democrats is not my political party, somebody else is registering a political party and the insinuation is that the Zambia Democrats is going to have Kalaba join there. But look, I am a Zambian citizen [and] today if I want, I can join the Radical Revolutionary party, I can join NAREP, I can join the United for Better Zambia party because all these have been asking me to join them. So if Zambian democrats is not registered and I have got all these parties that are asking me to join them, it’s not a question of that party not being registered,” Kalaba explained.
“But I have been informed and I have read from the press that they are going to court and for me that is the only rightful way to proceed because nobody has the right to stop freedom of association, nobody in this country. These are the kind of politics that Zambians are tired of, these kind of politics that we have been practicing do not appeal to the people. It is this kind of politics that is scaring away our people from being very active participants. Let people do what they want to do. If you are popular as you claim, then go on the battle field and see who is really popular.”
Kalaba said the fear that the PF had for him proved that he was a political asset.
“People have been saying ‘Kalaba is not a factor’ but from the behaviour going around [amongst PF members], doesn’t that confirm that I am a very important piece in the political architecture of this country? So let them just watch the space and whether they like it or not, that party they want to block (Zambian Democrats) will be registered and the people of Zambia will join it if they want it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kalaba said it was too soon for the Economists Intelligence Unit (EIU) to suggest that opposition parties form an alliance in order to evict PF in 2021.
“2021 is far and that (EIU) report is basing its findings on what is currently happening. We have got three years before 2021 and in three years there is a lot that can happen so let’s wait and see how the political space unfolds in Zambia. You have not seen anything yet, there will be real politics in this country because Zambians want their country back and I will be on their side,” said Kalaba.