NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) president Chishimba Kambwili says his remarks on being ready to be Hakainde Hichilema’s running mate were taken out of context because what he actually said was “he who wants to lead must be ready to be led”.
And Kambwili says he has engaged his lawyers on the possibly of taking action against Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini following the Constitutional Court ruling which declared that he breached the constitution.
Meanwhile, Kambwili has asked Zambians to start speaking out about injustice being perpetrated by those in government, saying doing so gives hope to the opposition to continue fighting.
Speaking when featured on the Monday edition of Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy, Kambwili said he was ready to be led just as much as he was ready to lead.
“There are certain things where you are quoted out of context. What I said on that programme (a radio interview) was that at the moment, NDC and UPND are in an alliance. In this alliance, we agreed on 10 principles that we wanted to fight on the front as a united front. But should the people of Zambia say that ‘we want UPND and NDC to form a pact’ or should the members of the two political parties say ‘the way to go is to form a pact’ and a system is put in place where to decide who leads this pact, if I am chosen to deputise my brother Hakainde Hichilema, who am I to refuse? Similarly, if I am chosen to lead this alliance and HH deputises me, who is he to refuse? That’s what I said. [What I said simply is] ‘he who wants to lead must be prepared to be led’ in short. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me deputising HH if the Zambian people so wish,” Kambwili said
“Who am I to refuse? Ultimately, the ones who are going to vote are the people of Zambia, it’s not us. You can’t say I am going to stand on my own when the people of Zambia are asking you to partner. How can you even win? Niba noko bakalavota (is it your mother that will be voting)? If it’s your mother, yes she can vote for you whether you are a one-man party or not. But if it’s not your mother alone who is going to vote, you must listen to the voice of the people.”
Meanwhile, Kambwili said he had engaged his lawyers on possible action against the Speaker.
“I was not surprised because I knew that the Speaker had breached the Constitution, and what annoyed me very much over the Speaker’s decision was that the Speaker is a former judge. He was a judge of high standing, with a very good reputation. But he went and made an open mistake without recourse to the law. You remember when he declared my seat, I had a press briefing and I said ‘what he has done is illegal’. But then the problem that we have in this country is that we will end up with one judgment where the Constitutional Court says ‘yes we agree with the fact that the Speaker overshot his boundaries, he breached the Constitution but we cannot make his decision null and void because if we do, then Kambwili will have to back to Parliament and we are going to have two members of parliament and the number of members of parliament is regulated. So we are going to create a Constitutional crisis’. But is that my problem? Or is that the problem of the people of Zambia that a Constitutional crisis will be created?” he asked.
“What is wrong is wrong, we must believe in calling a spade a spade and not a pick for the sake of impressions. The Constitutional Court did very well in this judgment but they only spoiled the judgment when they said ‘we cannot grant the remedies because we are going to create a Constitutional crisis’. In the meantime, I have been affected by the wrong decision of the Speaker. From here onwards, we are sitting with my team of lawyers to find the way forward. But certainly, an action will be taken. You can’t say ‘you are wrong here you are driving a vehicle without a license’. Then again you say ‘anyway it’s okay because you are taking a patient to the hospital’, come on! Can we be consistent?”
Meanwhile, Kambwili called on Zambians to start speaking out against the wrongs in government if they wanted real change to come.
“This whole issue is left to the people of Zambia to decide the way forward because elections are held for the people of Zambia so that a group of people can be elected to go and superintend over their national affairs. So it’s up to them to want to remain docile or to take action and in taking action, there are many ways, they can wait for the elections of speak out and say ‘if you are not going to level the playing field, we are not going to vote as Zambians, the Zambians have got the right. If the people boycott the elections, people will be moved to make sure that the right thing is done. But what happens in Zambia is that people are quiet, they want to wait for Chishimba Kambwili, HH, Edith Nawakwi, Nevers Mumba to speak for themselves. We must move as a team. Look at what happened in Malawi; when the election was stolen in Malawi, the people went on the streets and demonstrated. If it were in Zambia people could have just gone quiet but our friends in Malawi said ‘no’ and because the people rose in Malawi, they forced the courts to do the right thing and nullified those elections,” he said.
When asked what NDC’s position on whether or not President Lungu was eligible to contest elections next year, Kambwili said his party believed that any person who had twice been elected and sworn in did not qualify to run for a third term of office.
“NDC’s position is as provision of the Constitution. We must act within the Constitution. The Constitution says ‘anybody who has been elected twice and sworn in twice cannot stand for elections the third time’. The question we should ask is: has President Edgar Lungu been elected twice in this country? Has President Edgar Lungu been sworn in twice in this country? If the answer is no, he qualifies to stand in 2021 but if the answer is yes, then he does not qualify. So my own understanding and the position of NDC is that anybody who has been elected twice and sworn in twice does not qualify to stand. The final authority are the courts, I don’t want to usurp the powers of the court. That is why once President Edgar Lungu files his nomination, those who will feel that he doesn’t qualify must go to court and let the courts pronounce on that matter. I am not a court and I don’t want to make a mistake that my elder brother Patrick Matibini made by usurping the powers of the court,” said Kambwili.