PF members of parliament have rejected a private members motion which sought to push government to take measures in ensuring equal opportunities for all in the civil service.

The motion was tabled before the house for debate by Men’s parliamentarian Network chairperson Cornelius Mweetwa and was seconded by Kasempa UPND member of parliament Brenda Tambatamba.

Debating against the motion, Home Affairs Minister seized the opportunity and warned civil servants in a habit of siphoning public, saying government would not hesitate to chuck them out of employment.

“The Honourable member for Mazabuka talked about issues of retiring people on national interest, I want to place it on record that we are not going to entertain indiscipline for the sake of preserving equity. How can we deal with people who have been year in year out cited by the Auditor General’s report siphoning public resources? Government says ‘we’ve had enough of you’ it’s time to go so that we can get people that can come and work for their fellow citizens in preserving the national resources. For the first time we are saying ‘we are not just going to talk to people who don’t want to listen,” Kampyongo said.

“Its antagonistic, Mr Speaker, because most of the times we are the ones answering for people who are very well known because when those monies are lost, they don’t say ‘it’s civil servant A or B’ but they will say ‘Ministry of Education where did this money go?’ and when we find the culprit what should we do with them? because of equity should we preserve them? or because they come from a certain region they shouldn’t be punished? The answer is no.”

Kampyongo also explained that it was thieving and political civil servants who were being retired in national interest.

“These are the ones, Mr Speaker, who are being moved out of the public service out of national interest. And the other one is being partisan. It’s very clear, if you are a civil servant [and] you have been told [that] loyalty to the authority does not mean being partisan. I personally wouldn’t want to recruit anyone [because] we know where we recruit people to be party members and certainly not the civil service. And so if you want to mislead the civil servants by saying ‘when we form government, you are going to be this, we are going to make you inspector general of police’ and someone buys into that and gets intoxicated and stops performing professionally and starts performing his functions on partisan lines, we are not going to entertain that. And so we have got no apologies to make for those that are being chucked out of the public service on account of indiscipline and on account of siphoning public resources and on account of disloyalty to the powers that be,” he said.

He added that the mover of the motion should have first judged his party before judging government.

“If this afternoon my dear colleague, the mover of the motion came and was proposing that out of the few female MPs on your left Mr Speaker could be elevated to become either leader of opposition or vice or even share the two positions that are available, I would have been saying ‘yes you are coming with practical solutions [and] not with lamentations. So it’s not about preaching to others that which you don’t believe in. And that’s the challenge we have with this particular motion Mr Speaker because here, certainly when you look at the composition, yes we could do better but we are there. So to come here and try to preach to us who are already converted is a little bit mischievous,” said Kampyongo.

And Bwana Mkubwa PF member of parliament Dr Jonas Chanda said the motion was “brought in dead” as it did not reflect what was happening in government.

“I wish to express my utmost disappointment on thin motion brought by the UPND for two reasons (i) because the mover and the seconder are both from the UPND and yet we are being told ‘no it’s non’ partisan. You are already being partisan. It’s already dead on arrival. It’s B.I.D, Brought In Indeed. Let us face ourselves in the mirror and as we have continued with this motion, I have looked at the motion on Article 173 (j) opportunities for appointments, training and advancement in public service are made to all employees without discrimination. That is the motion we have here. It almost came out as a women’s rights issues, somewhere along the way it has come like a full ethnic issue but the best way to understand it is it’s well packaged like sugar coated,” argued Dr Chanda.

“Why are you knocking on an open door? Look at our front bench in PF, President Lungu who has been dragged into this debate is the first president in the history of this country to appoint a female vice president. How many countries in Africa have a female vice president? There is almost none. Look at some of the most powerful positions that we have in the government today; chief government spokesperson is an accomplished female, look at the chief justice, she is a female, look at the minister of finance, she is a female, look at our minister of labour, a seasoned unionist. So when we come to talk about these motions let’s be sincere. Let us not sugar coat politics and present things to us. So I would urge this house to reject this motion out rightly because in PF we don’t have discrimination at all,” said Dr Chanda said.

Meanwhile Mazabuka central UPND member of parliament Garry Nkombo said the motion needed support because a lot of people had lost employment on partisan basis.

“We have seen in this country where people who are deserving to be trained that [this article of gender rights for women in decision making positions] is not being applied to the way it should be. Sir there is a too that the PF government have been using since they came to power to further the advancement of moving backward against this motion, that being the retirement of civil servants. It has been used as a tool systematically to exclude people from training, it has been used to exclude people from advancement, people who have delved and sweated from their careers just to be clicked off at the height of their careers,” Nkombo said.

And Nkombo said the meeting between President Edgar Lungu and UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was a relief to this nation.

“I am so happy that this last week Mr Speaker, probably has reached us at a melting point because politically we have been boiling in this country. I am a very delighted and happy member of parliament that Mr Hakainde Hichilema and President Edgar Lungu did meet to discuss issues of common interest for this country. It is my faith and hope that whatever they discussed is going to start cascading down to the bottom of those who make decisions on lives of others, in terms of training, in terms of appointments [and] in terms of advancement of people in their respective professional lives. I am quite certain that the temperature is cooling down as a result of that meeting of the two leaders. And maybe I [should take this] opportunity to thank President Lungu and president Hakainde, president of the UPND and whoever marshalled or shepherded them to that meeting, is to say that this meeting was long overdue because it will serve its purpose to address this issue of discrimination,” said Nkombo.