Democratic Party president Harry Kalaba says he will not challenge the Patriotic Front’s decision to expel him from the party.
And Kalaba says his party will not participate in the Bahati by-election but focus on mobilizing for the 2021 general elections.
The former foreign affairs minister who resigned from government, citing rampant corruption, further revealed that several ruling party members of parliament had been supporting his 2021 presidential bid.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lusaka, Tuesday, Kalaba said he had officially taken up the position of Democratic Party president.
“The people of Bahati, I thank you for the confidence you placed in me by electing me as your member of parliament. You sent me to Parliament and I spoke on your behalf. You and I have a bond temporarily broken but still together in the fight for the betterment of Bahati and the whole of Zambia. I do not wish to challenge the decision by the PF in courts of Law. I will spare the courts the drama of adjournments and injunctions,” Kalaba said.
“On several occasion I have said there are only five months before the gratuities come and the easiest way for me would have been to put up an injunction, wait for the money and then resign. That is not me because money has never influenced the decisions that I make in life, among my 10 priorities, money is not among them. Morality and decency rank high. So their K2 million or K1 million can remain because the suffering of many Zambians outweighs the benefits that I would get as an individual. I was elected member of parliament for a period of 5 years and we are remaining with slightly 24 months before the next elections. A responsible leadership would have avoided the Bahati by-election as elections are an added cost to the already struggling economy. Unfortunately, the leadership does not care about prudent utilization of the peoples’ resources,
And Kalaba said his party would not participate in the Bahati by-election but focus on mobilizing for the 2021 general elections.”
“I will not participate in the Bahati by-election. Instead, I will focus on mobilizing support for my presidential candidature for 2021 under the Democratic Party (DP). I will also be taking up the party president position of the DP, so we can build a stronger party of value driven by leaders who will inspire confidence and provide hope for a better Zambia and posterity. I look forward to your support and to working together to rewrite history and to build the Zambia you and I want. Speaking now in my new shoes as Party President, I am saying the DP will not participate in the Bahati by-elections, instead the party will continue mobilizing itself and getting ready for the 2021 general elections,” he said.
Kalaba said the PF expelled him because he spoke against the corruption that was going on in government.
“Early last year, I resigned from government in which I served as foreign affairs minister. I had made my point clear that I was resigning my position on the premise of high levels of corruption in government and thanked his excellence, President Edgar Lungu for his magnanimity of allowing me to serve in his cabinet as foreign minister. It is clear that my resignation from Cabinet amidst high level corruption by the government’s top leadership, is the reason for my expulsion from the PF. I have not, and have never committed any crime; the only crime was to speak against corruption, and to side with the people, who the absolute owners of the resources are being plundered,” Kalaba said.
“Today, the bells are tolling for my departure from the PF. The PF has proven to be a party of intolerance, a party of self-enrichment, and a party which abets grand corruption and theft by those in positions of trust and responsibility. I choose to be on the side of people; the very people who had sent me to Parliament. The same people who motivated me to join politics so I can be their servant and help to better their livelihoods, and to speak on their behalf in Parliament and in Cabinet.”
Meanwhile, Kalaba said some PF MPs were encouraging him to continue campaigning for the presidency.
“In a revolution, there is a wee wind and whoever is caught up in the wee wind will choose either to work with us or to e overtaken by the wee wind. Of course I have got a lot of friends in the PF who have encouraged me to be strong and to soldier on on this trajectory. But I want to tell you that I am not courting anyone of the members of Parliament for PF to join me, because they themselves will join me at an appropriate time, they will come,” said Kalaba.