HOME Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo says President Edgar Lungu is an irreplaceable leader worth voting back into power.
And Kampyongo says the rule of law does not look at the status of an individual who breaks the law.
Speaking when he featured on Radio Phoenix’s Night Live programme, Wednesday, Kampyongo said President Lungu was an irreplaceable candidate who was making other presidential contenders jittery.
Asked whether the party was being democratic by allowing President Lungu to go unopposed when some members of the party mocked the UPND for fielding Hakainde Hichilema, Kampyongo said the two could not be compared.
“We can’t compare the two unfortunately. Someone came from Parliament to go and compete with a president who also had members of parliament, we were sitting and heard choppers flying around after President Sata died, we have an irreplaceable candidate worth selling. That is why the competitors are jittery because the prayer was not to have him in the field. But the people of Zambia are going to give him another mandate. Those who were misleading the people that the President is not going to be on the ballot paper because of the two terms, that matter has been rested by the Constitutional Court. We shall meet those [lawyers] in the same ground, the same courts,” Kampyongo said.
“The President has filed his nomination to renew his mandate as President of the PF so we are very grateful to the membership that ensured that this procession went on smoothly. And it should also be put to rest those who are doubting that ‘who is going to be our presidential candidate in the general elections of August?’ Those who were doubting and thinking…because we have been hearing these innuendoes and all sorts of people misleading, learned counsel. The die has been cast.”
He said from the top leadership of the party, they had endorsed President Lungu because they believed in the same leadership and did not see any need to substitute him.
“No one has been stopped from filing in should they wish to contest against him but as PF starting from the top leadership which is the Central committee in the previous meetings that we have had, we have endorsed him because we believe in the same leadership. You only think of making a substitution when the player is not performing and therefore we did not see any need to substitute this time around. And those who are aspiring to think they can lead the party, they will have to wait. This happens everywhere in democracy. There (UPND), it is different because they have had a leader who has been losing and they don’t see anything wrong. When you are comparing, make comparisons, there is a player who scores goals and this player who has never scored goals. So you can question the player who doesn’t score goals, why he is not being substituted. That is different. Here is a President who has been losing five times, surely can’t people think there could be someone to do better? Ours, under one month we identified this player Edgar Chagwa Lungu and we went into elections like underdogs and he pulled it for us to replace President Sata,” Kampyongo said.
He urged opposition members of parliament to work closely with line ministries to spearhead development in their constituencies.
“If you are an MP and you are told that you shouldn’t interact with the Ministry of Home Affairs, how else are you going to make sure that you have got a police post in the area where it is needed? Even if you have to use CDF, how do you collaborate with the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure that where you applied CDF, the Ministry of home affairs would be able to deploy so that your people are served, they are policed effectively? If you are not going to interact with the Ministry, I don’t know where else you would expect. The least we can do is come to Parliament and answer their questions ‘when are you going to build a police post?’ [And we say] when the resources are available. But you need to engage beyond that. There is that need to engage closely so that we are able to move together and take development. Sometimes people get tired when you say ‘when we form government’,” Kampyongo said.
“We are coming from the opposition so we know it both ways. You can’t expect to insult me today or to lambast me in the day then you want to come and ask me for development in the night. How? We must be collaborating partners. Politicking must have limits. I will give you a classic example, the honourable member of Parliament for Mazabuka (Gary Nkombo) even as he was crying in parliament, he would make sure that he engages the Ministry of Infrastructure that ‘look, the road between Kafue and Mazabuka is becoming deplorable’ and the Minister of Infrastructure obviously with the way they have scheduled the works, even if they had not planned for that, because of that close engagement, if you go to that road today, it is now proper for our motorists to move. So there are those who are clever. They will talk but make sure they engage in effective discussions with line ministries.”
Regarding the conviction of Sesheke UPND member of parliament Romeo Kang’ombe, Kampyongo said he was constrained to say much on the matter before it was pronounced on.
He however, said the rule of law did not look at the status of an individual who breaks the law.
“I am constrained to say much about the matter before the courts of law because I don’t know how far it has gone, until it is pronounced on. But what I can say is that the rule of law does not look at the status of an individual who breaks the law. I would have loved to give a comparison but when the sentence is passed on the other matter, then you can come and ask how we can do an analysis of the two situations. But you must have seen that action was taken on the gentleman (Emanuel J Banda) who was alleged to have misconducted himself at the police station and right now, I don’t think he has the status he had in terms of position in the party. The party in sending a message acted on that matter. So I will be able to give analysis of the two situations when the other matter is exhausted in the courts of law,” Kampyongo said.
Meanwhile, Kampyongo said it was fallacy to think the country would have everything going smoothly.
“It’s fallacy to think the country will have everything going smoothly, hundred percent. That is why we work every day. Even if you have employment you don’t say ‘now I have worked enough let me rest’ you continue working to improve the lives of your family. It is the same with government. And turbulence will always be there. Be it the big economies, America. These turbulences we are going through are normal. It depends on the solutions that you craft to get out of them,” said Kampyongo.