KABWATA PF member of parliament Given Lubinda says he has not applied to re-contest his seat in the upcoming August 12 general election, but will now focus on vigorously campaigning for President Edgar Lungu’s re-election.
Meanwhile, Lubinda has insisted that being in the opposition is unbearable.
Speaking during a media briefing in Lusaka, Wednesday, Lubinda said despite receiving several invitations from not only Kabwata constituency, his decision not to return to Parliament was made in 2019.
The veteran parliamentarian, who is also Justice Minister, said the 20 years of having served as an MP was an achievement.
“In 2016, when I applied for readoption to contest the Kabwata constituency seat, I discussed with close associates and senior members of the party, I discussed with family, I discussed with friends, and I indicated that I was seriously contemplating making that the last time I will be making myself available for election. During the period after 2016, I continued searching my soul. This became extremely intense over the last one year and grew almost unbearable upto the secretary general of the Patriotic Front, Honourable Davies Mwila, announced that the time to apply had come. I have received numerous phone calls from people from Kabwata. Some as late as yesterday (Tuesday), but also I have received numerous petitions from different people from various constituencies as far-flung as Livingstone; Senanga; Nalolo; Mongu; Kafue; Keembe, I have received numerous invitations to go and contest as member of parliament in these various constituencies,” Lubinda said.
“However, I made a decision in 2019 that 20 years of parliamentary business in a country such as Zambia is quite an achievement. There were some circulations yesterday that I had pulled out of the adoption process, one does not pull out of a system that I have not joined. So, please, those who have made it their business to dislike me, please, on this one don’t malign my name because the decision I made, I made it in 2019 and I made that decision after wide consultations with my seniors, and I have stood by that decision. Today, therefore, I have just come to confirm that I have not applied for adoption as a candidate, not for Kabwata and not for any constituency.”
He, however, said he would still contest his position as a member of the central committee of the party at the upcoming party convention.
Meanwhile, Lubinda insisted that being in the opposition was unbearable.
“But again for the sake of avoiding any speculation, if I have ever been a weak member of the PF today I want to say, I redouble my commitment for the PF because I know some people will juxtapose what I say that please inform the Zambian people that my zeal to serve the Patriotic Front today has been rekindled. I feel extremely energized to go out there and build the Patriotic Front. I enjoy a very good and cordial relationship with the leadership of the party. For members of my party, I am launching my campaign very early, I am recontesting my position on the central committee on the Patriotic Front. I am availing myself to campaign countrywide because like I said in Kasama I see no real viable option to Edgar Chagwa Lungu,” he said.
“By not being a parliamentarian should actually give me more impetus and more time to go out there and make sure that the remaining few people who may still be doubting are turned to believe the vision of the Patriotic Front, in the vision of Edgar Chagwa Lungu. I did indicate in Kasama and I want to reiterate for the sake of my friend Batuke Imenda (UPND secretary general), who some of you are aware, if there is someone from the (News) Diggers! I am sure you are aware of what he said about my statement. I want to reiterate it so that he hears it clearly: for those of my friends, who are aspiring to become MPs on the PF ticket, hear it from an experienced man, 10 years in the opposition was very unbearable, is no easy task.”
He said he had served Kabwata constituency diligently.
“Some of you may recall I entered public service as a parliamentarian two decades ago, 2001 is when I entered parliamentary politics. I have been extremely humbled by the love that has been shown to me by the people of Kabwata. That love they have shown through the resounding electoral successes I have recorded in Kabwata constituency. Four elections in a row…I, again, thank God. Kabwata constituency is a high cosmopolitan constituency. People in Kabwata do not vote on the basis of tribe. I shall forever be indebted to them for nurturing my political career. I have served Kabwata constituency with dillengency, I have put in the best of my ability to serve the people of Kabwata. I have spoken for the people of Kabwata on numerous issues, while in opposition it was not easy to deliver for the people of Kabwata. I did the best I could. I am very honoured with the developments that have taken place in Kabwata over the last 20 years. When I recast my memory back to the year 2001, I see potholed roads, even major roads like Chilumbulu, roads like Burma were potoholed, mini-markets in Kabwata were dungeons! There was only one little clinic, Chilenje Clinic and another Kamwala Clinic. Today, as I speak with you, Kabwata boasts at least three modern markets,” said Lubinda.
“Over the last 20 years, Kabwata has seen the introduction of more schools than any other schools in the country. I have really been honoured to be part of that development where almost all the roads in Kabwata constituency today are tarred. There are more tarred roads in Kabwata than any other constituency in Zambia and that has happened in the last 20 years. Make no mistake, that development started in 2001. Even while in opposition, we saw developments flourishing in Kabwata constituency. Today, I am proud to look back and see what used to be a clinic is now a level-one hospital. I am humbled to have been there when Kabwata constituency moved from number 71 on the human development indices, the position it held in 2000s, to becoming number one as recorded in 2014. Seven years later, Kabwata still maintains that position as the most developed constituency in the country. During this period, I have also attracted people who have just come to dislike me and mostly for reasons I may not understand. To them, all I can do is to wish them God’s blessing.”