Patriotic Front (PF) Disciplinary Committee Chairperson Brian Mundubile says nothing will cause the party to crumble and President Edgar Lungu will take the day in 2021.
And Mundubile says constitutional lawyer John Sangwa’s should clearly state if he is a politician or a lawyer so that people know how to debate with him.
On Tuesday, Sangwa said going by the slim margin by which President Lungu won the 2016 election, his chances of victory in 2021 were nil.
Reacting to this, and Sangwa’s other remarks against Bill 10 in an interview, Mundubile wondered whether the State Counsel was a politician.
“If John Sangwa is a politician, let him tell us. If he is arguing as a lawyer, let him also be very clear so that we know how to debate with him because clearly, in one place, he wants to be a politician and in another place, he wants to be a lawyer. He wants to be everything. You can’t say ‘President Lungu’s chances of winning are nil because the past election results were narrow.’ For instance, if you look at UPND strongholds, the voter turnout in their stronghold was above 50 per cent, the voter turnout in our stronghold was 34 per cent. So, on account of the voter turnout alone, imagine that we improved our voter turnout by 10 per cent,” Mundubile said.
He said there is nothing that had happened to cause PF strongholds to crumble.
“Quite frankly, there is nothing that happened that will cause the PF stronghold to crumble. The strength of a political party is measured through by-elections. So do an analysis. There have been by-elections in Western Province, North Western Province and Northern Province. Yes, they claimed one ward from us but how many wards have we gotten in North Western Province, in Western Province and parliamentary seats over the past few years? So, for Sangwa, let him analyze all these things and understand how they go. It is not just about sitting on the table and then begin to throw numbers and ideas. That’s desktop analysis. This is real. Politics is real,” Mundubile said.
Mundubile said he was optimistic that President Lungu would carry the day in 2021.
“We are very sure that President Lungu is going to take the day. He will win the elections. What UPND hasn’t done is they have failed to marshal the manifesto. President [Michael] Sata before he took over power from MMD, he put a very strong manifesto that he sold to the people and the people realized that he was an alternative government. The people of Zambia now know when UPND comes up with what they call their manifesto for instance, people can read through. We had a budget that was presented to parliament and UPND had an alternative budget which we tore apart. And people can see that these are people who have been calling themselves economic managers but they can’t support their claims,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mundubile said Bill 10 was still in its original form.
“We need to educate a lot of people on the parliamentary processes. Sometimes we feel sad when people are contributing on matters that they don’t understand about. When a Bill is presented, Mr Speaker refers it to a standing committee or a select committee. All Bills that come are referred to a committee. And the reason why they are referred to committees is that parliament should invite people who are likely to be impacted by this law if enacted to speak to this law. And the committee now comes up with a report and recommendations to be debated on the floor of the House together with the Bill. So, yes the Bill is as it was presented. The Bill doesn’t change. It only changes on the floor of the House. Bill 10 as it was presented on 2nd August will come like that on the floor of the House,” Mundubile explained.
“But in this case, it (Bill 10) will not be debated in isolation. It will be debated in consultation or taking into account the report of the committee. So the MPs themselves will make a decision on the floor of the House depending on the persuasions that have happened with the people to accept the recommendation from the committee. Now, people who haven’t been to parliament are making these very serious comments about parliamentary procedure without wanting to study it. Nobody said Bill 10 has changed. You can’t change it outside the floor of the House.”
Mundubile also said people could boo MPs at forums but they should bear in mind that parliamentarians are the ones with the power to change the law.
“It’s only parliament that is mandated to change the law. What many people think, [just because] they are Constitutional lawyers, they have no power to change the law. So people want a process where because they sat together as CSOs or NGOs, they say ‘let’s change.’ That’s not their job. That’s the job of parliamentarians. It doesn’t matter what people say outside parliament or on radios or TVs [but] it’s what the MPs will decide on that day on the floor of the House. They are the only ones with the power. All these experts have no power. Forget about all those debates [which] people are organizing to try and boo an MP, you can boo him at Intercontinental but he is the one with the power on the floor of the House. He will go and change the law on the Floor of the House,” said Mundubile.
“Don’t allow people to just speak as they wish. If he is saying that through this constitution, the president wants to claim back the power, which clause is he referring to? We have a lot of people that call themselves Constitutional lawyers [and] they think they posess the domain of wisdom but we all can read and write. We are all lawyers and went to the same law school. And especially for him (Sangwa), when he was given a chance to debate, he spoke as an economist. He didn’t speak as a lawyer on that platform. Zambians should not be fooled. John Sangwa went to court and he lost a case because the court couldn’t sustain the argument. They realized that these are people who were just dreaming and casting aspersions from things which they didn’t even understand.”
And Mundubile said the PF had dominated campaigns on Chilubi Island because the area was the party’s stronghold, expressing confidence of scooping the seat.
“Campaigns are progressing very well. We are clearly dominating the campaigns. Our friends are not even visible on the ground because of course it’s a PF stronghold and the support is immense. We are not taking anything for granted but we are very confident that we will carry the day,” said Mundubile.