Kabwe central PF member of parliament Tutwa Ngulube says calls for early Presidential elections on grounds that President Edgar Lungu has failed to govern the country are misplaced because the Zambian Constitution does not support that.
And Ngulube has accused opposition UPND members of parliament of abusing their Parliamentary immunity and privileges to champion xenophobia and to demean the Republican President.
In an interview, Ngulube said it was unfair to blame the hard working Head of State for environmental degradation, which was causing most of Zambia’s challenges at the moment.
“The Zambian Constitution does not support an early election. If you look at elections, the Zambian Constitution has a fixed five-year calendar. In a monarchy or a system which has a Prime Minister, you have a situation where the Prime Minister and the President do not do the same job. There you have a President who is the ceremonial figurehead and then you have a Prime Minister who forms government. So if the Prime Minister fails, the President tells the Prime Minister to dissolve government and call for early elections. So the calls for early elections in Zambia are very misplaced and mischievous. Those calls are just mischievous, malicious and embarrassing also,” Ngulube said.
“Then I think those calling for early elections in Zambia are mistaken as well because we were given five years by the people Zambia as PF, and the five years is not yet over. We have to wait until the five years for us to say whether the PF has failed or not. Then you see, most of these problems that the PF is encountering are matters to do with climate change, which every other country is facing. There are matters to do with environmental degradation and all those things are beyond any government’s control. So we can’t say there’s been any failure on the part of the PF. If you are passing in Lusaka today, you will see numerous road projects which have actually helped our people. The wheels of commerce are now turning faster because now if you are going to Kamwala, you have more than 10 routes. If you are going to Kabwe, you want to leave the Lusaka and there’s congestion, you’ve got more than enough directions to take. All those are as a result of the hardworking President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. If there was nothing happening and the economy was hard, people would have said ‘yes the PF has failed’. But for now, I think people must be factual, let us give credit where it’s due. PF has done more than MMD did in 20 years in its few years of being in government.”
Meanwhile, commenting on First deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Namugala’s guidance for members of parliament from PF and UPND to stop using the floor of the House to settle political scores, Ngulube said it was actually UPND which had the tendency of using Parliament to champion xenophobia and insult the President.
“I have also observed a tendency even to create xenophobic comments on the floor of the house, like me they called me a foreigner several times of the floor of the House. They have called me a Rwandan, Nyamule, a rebel, just everything… they insulted me. But I think that trend is unnecessary. However, I think the guidance from the [first] deputy Speaker is well noted because it’s important that we detach this House from politics. We need to remove politics from the debates in the House so that we can only concetrate on national matters that affect both UPND and PF. And I think if you have seen, it’s only the UPND that have a tendency of trying to use the immunity and privileges of the House to insult even the Head of State. But in other countries, members of parliament are part of government, so how can demean the Head of State when we are the third arm of government? Whatever we do at Parliament [like] passing the budgets on behalf of the entire government, we are part of government. So I think there is need for people to desist from that kind of attitude,” said Ngulube.