PF opposes reintroduction of deputy ministers, coalition govt

PF secretary general Davies Mwila says his party will not support the National Dialogue Forum (NDF)’s recommendation to reintroduce deputy ministers because government is implementing austerity measures to reduce on expenditure.

And Mwila says the withdrawal of party deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri’s nomination as member of parliament by President Edgar Lungu has not taken anything away from her because she is still on a salary at the secretariat.

Speaking when he addressed journalists at the party secretariat in Kitwe, Monday, Mwila said his party was not in support of some NDF resolutions.

Mwila, however, said the party supported the NDF resolution for councillors to elect mayors and Council Chairpersons from amongst themselves.

“The proposals to amend Articles 112 and include a new Article 117A so as to create the office of deputy minister is not supported by the party. All those who have been meditating that we create again the office of deputy ministers, as a party we are saying no! And they should not take us back. Government has put in place austerity measures to reduce on cost and the party is saying, we cannot contradict ourselves. So the PF government is still committed to a lean government. [However], the proposal to amend Article 116 by the inclusion of a new sub article 4 to entitle ministers to continue holding office until a new government is elected is supported. This will enable the executive government to continue performing its functions without any lacuna or disruptions,” Mwila said.

And Mwila said the party had proposed that the period in which civil servants wishing to join politics should resign must be reduced from two years to six months.

“The proposal to repeal Articles 69, 70, 71 and 72 are supported and by variation, the Central Committee proposes that the period in which a civil servant is required to cease being a civil servant before seeking election to political office be reduced from two years to six months. We deliberated on this matter and we questioned, what is the reason? We should not be dictatorial or barring people who want to be in political office. So we are saying civil servants must resign six months before joining elections,” he said.

Mwila said the party supported the NDF’s resolution on mayoral elections.

“The party is alive to the fact that councils are collectively run by councilors who are responsible to the people in performance of their functions. We also cognisant of the critical role a mayor and council chairperson must play in discharging the collective leadership of councils through councilors. The Party therefore supports the election of mayors and Council Chairpersons from among councilors as they will not only be answerable to people in a ward but also to body of councillors and MPs in the entire district who run the council as whole,” Mwila said.

Mwila also said the PF was also in support of the proposal to amend Article 127 by the inclusion of the Chief Justice as a member of the Constitutional Court.

Mwila hoped that the misconceptions about PF’s position on the NDF resolutions had been cleared.

“We wish to call out and shame those politically inclined and hired civil society voices and armchair critics parading themselves as activists and opinion leaders without any mandate from anyone whatsoever and who are earning a living from misrepresenting PF’s position with regard to the NDF resolutions to give the Zambian people a break. Enough of your lies, falsehoods and fake news. We hope that your misrepresentations of the Patriotic Front regarding NDF resolutions comes ends after this [statement],” Mwila said.

“We look forward to appearing before the Parliamentary Committee and we shall ensure that our appearance is live on radio, television and online in order to avoid distortions and falsehoods regarding our stance as a party. The principle is that PF will at all times remain on the side of the people as we have demonstrated on several occasions even in the case of KCM!”

Meanwhile, Mwila emphasised that Phiri had not lost anything by being dropped as PF’s nominated member of parliament.

“Honourable Mumbi Phiri was nominated to go to Parliament by President Edgar Lungu to go and help the government Chief Whip in terms of managing Parliamentary business. Now that the President decided to appoint honourable Dr Bwalya Ng’andu as Minister of Finance, the President thought it prudent to revoke that nomination. The deputy SG will now go back to secretariat, since it’s a full time job and she’s on salary, she will not lose anything,” said Mwila.

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