On Monday, during the Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) 63rd annual conference, Kitwe Mayor Christopher Kang’ombe reported to President Edgar Lungu that mayors and Council Chairpersons were being threatened by some members of parliament that their positions would be fixed using the ongoing National Dialogue Forum (NDF) deliberations.
Kang’ombe also instigated councillors to start de-campaigning members of parliament if they succeeded in amending the Constitution and weakened mayors’ positions.
But President Lungu, who was officiating at the LGAZ, which was being held alongside the 16th General Assembly of the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders Initiative for Community Action on AIDS, said he would not allow members of parliament to use the National Dialogue Forum to undermine the authority of mayors.
However, in an interview with News Diggers! Katuta castigated Kang’ombe for disregarding members of parliament, saying the Kitwe Mayor, who is also LGAZ president, had forgotten that it was the popularity of Copperbelt members of parliament that granted him the position he currently held.
“All the mayors and council chairpersons rode on the popularity of MPs. Members of parliament used their resources to help the Mayor to be known. Which Mayor can stand out and boast that ‘I campaigned,’ because every aspiring MP, when we were campaigning, had to introduce the mayors to the people to say: ‘please, vote for this one so that I can have somebody who can be my eyes and can work with me, that was all.’ So, no mayor should even make that mistake and this Kang’ombe is just making a joke of himself because…where did he campaign on his own like the way MPs did? MPs had a tough time campaigning, but which mayor can come out and boast to say: ‘I campaigned’?” Katuta asked.
She said PF would not consider Kang’ombe if he continued disregarding the members of the parliament in the party and the country as a whole.
“And for him to start saying that, ‘we as MPs are undermining their positions,’ I think it’s fair that they go back to the Chamber where they belong! This is the problem we are facing; the mayors do not even have respect for the District Commissioners because they feel they’ve got more authority than the DCs. And they feel they have more authority than MPs, that’s insubordination! If he thinks by running to the media then the MPs will be jittery then that’s just a joke of the day,” said Katuta.
So, my word to colleague members of parliament out there is that, they should not even lose sleep over such statements because the truth of the matter is that, we are the ones who were elected. If mayors want, let them go out and campaign own their own and see if they are that popular. You cannot bite the finger that feeds you! I cannot speak on behalf of other MPs from other political parties, but I know that in most of these political parties, the current MPs are the ones who (were adopted from) the leadership of the parties and are the ones who are supposed to adopt the very mayors. So, if he starts biting the finger that feeds him, he shouldn’t think that he will be adopted. This issue was before the NDF, why should someone take out that information and start taking this information to the press when there are no resolutions whether to adopt or not.”