Vice-President Inonge Wina says the UPND has managed to catch a “small fish” from a big lake by winning the Ilambo Ward by-election in Lupososhi District of Northern Province.
And Vice-President Wina says Zambians will continue suffering from the adverse effects of a volatile exchange rate as long as the country remained import-dependent.
Speaking in Parliament, Friday, during the Vice-President’s Question Time, Vice-President Wina said the UPND had finally managed to “fish out a small fish” from a big lake.
She however, mocked the UPND, saying the party must lick its wounds of defeat from other districts where by-elections were held.
UPND’s Kelvin Mwansa scooped the Ilambo Ward by-election last Thursday with 809 votes beating his PF rival, Justine Chola, who polled 636.
“Madam Speaker, I can see the excitement on the part of my colleagues on your left side because, for the first time, they have fished a ‘small fish in a big lake!’ Madam Speaker, UPND should not believe that because of that small slippage on the part of PF, they have, therefore, entered the territory of PF. I think we seem to have short memories, Madam Speaker, because, in the past, PF has penetrated the strongholds of UPND. In North-Western Province, PF scooped five council seats compared to one in Northern Province. In Western Province, which is purported to be a stronghold for UPND, PF scooped four council seats in that area, even Chilanga, and Kafue for that matter, but because PF is such a mature party, there was no celebration of that type that we see in the UPND,” Vice-President Wina argued.
She insisted that the UPND’s excitement of winning a local government seat in Lupososhi would be short-lived as the ruling PF would ensure that such an upset was never repeated elsewhere.
“It’s an excitement that may be short-lived because PF will make sure that what has happened in Lupososhi is not repeated elsewhere. We will wait for the results from Luapula and Milenge District and see how PF will perform in those areas. But I can assure the honourable House that the other side of the House should prepare to lick the wounds of the defeat that will take place in that District,” she said.
And responding to Bwana Mkubwa PF member of parliament Dr Jonas Chanda, who observed that there were always reports of violence whenever there was a by-election in UPND strongholds, Vice-President Wina said it was clear as to who was perpetuating violence.
“We have seen that since the campaigns started in Milenge, there has never been any incident of violence. But as I explained last time, we saw a lot of violence in Kaoma, in Sesheke; we saw a lot of violence in areas where UPND is a strong party. So, I wonder, then, who is harbouring violence in their hearts? But this Milenge by-election where there was no trace of violence should be a litmus test for all of us on how to conduct peaceful elections. It’s important for our party activists engaged in campaigns to refrain from violent acts. And I believe PF has set the pace and, please, let’s continue that way because violence will not benefit anyone,” she replied.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina regretted the kwacha’s continued depreciation against major convertible currencies.
Responding to Manyinga UPND member of parliament Robert Lihefu on what hope she could give to Zambians about the kwacha’s continued depreciation, Vice-President Wina said that as long as Zambia remained an import-dependent economy, citizens would remain vulnerable to volatile exchange rate fluctuations.
The kwacha hit the K15 per dollar psychological barrier, Friday, for the second time since the currency was rebased.
“Madam Speaker, it’s regrettable that our currency is losing power to the other convertible currencies. However, the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) has been giving some updates on the status of the currency and what government, through the BoZ, is doing to ensure that we stabilise the kwacha. However, Madam Speaker, this country is importing more than it is exporting, and as a result, we use the dollar to buy goods and commodities from other countries. Until such a time as we can manufacture and be able to export our goods to other countries, we will continue to suffer the adverse (effects) of the fluctuating currency. But the BoZ is looking into the matter to see what can be done to arrest the fluctuations of the kwacha,” she replied.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina appealed to members of parliament to help correct the “falsehood” that had been disseminated about the controversial Bill No. 10, which had since been postponed for Second Reading to next February.
“There has been a lot of malicious speculation regarding this Bill, misinterpretations, and misinformation. And all this has arisen out of lack of understanding. Please, let us read; the report is out and after reading that report, let’s come back to the House to debate the Bill intelligently. Some of the information that was being disseminated to the general public is mainly malicious! A lot of falsehoods being explained to the people and I believe that the honorable members of parliament will understand that Bill 10 is extremely important for the development of this country and for the well-being of our people and not to misinterpret it as we did with the enhancement of the Bill of Rights,” said Vice-President Wina.