PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says politics in Zambia are nomadic in nature and politicians are expected to move from one party to another whenever they feel that they are going through a tough time.
And President Lungu says public servants should not be afraid of being given a corruption tag when implementing government programmes, as long as they know that they are doing the right thing.
Speaking when he opened the PF national general conference, President Lungu said politicians don’t have parties they call home.
“The politics of this country have already shown that the nature of politics in Zambia is what one can call nomadic nature. Nomads have no place they call their own, they can leave anywhere depending on the situation. If they find the going gets tough, they move to the next party. So, don’t hate each other because of politics. The nomadic nature of Zambia’s politics allows us to migrate from one political party to another, the next day you become a leader or Vice-President. That is the nature of Zambia’s politics. Why should it bother you too much? I am saying this again, because some of you are saying ‘we found the PF in 2001, with Mr (Micheal) Sata, the others were not there’,Yes they were not there but they are here now. The fact that you are the last born, the fact that you are the youngest in the family doesn’t make you less part of the legacy of the family. You cannot say ‘he is not my brother, he is not entitled because he was born 10 years after me’, he is still your brother. He is still entitled to benefit from the estate of your father, he is carrying the family name,” President Lungu said.
“So, I want to tell you that those who came to join us yesterday, the day before yesterday, in 2016 and in 2011, they are just as much part of our membership as you who started it. Mr Sata himself was in MMD, he came out from MMD and formed PF, he went to fish in MMD and got PF to grow. When you live MMD and you come and join PF 10 years down the line, are you less entitled to membership? The answer is no! It doesn’t work like that. So, play your part and be recognised for what you can achieve and contribute. I want to emphasise this, footballers move from one club to the other, when they feature for that club and they are seen as ‘ohh Messi is playing for this club now’, the supporters don’t say ‘he has just come, why are you featuring him?’. They just accept him. So, those of you who think we started the party together in 2001, [we] are entitled to favours and privileges, you are wasting your time. Just pull up your socks. Even in churches when you are converted, you become a christian, you don’t say ‘ you are a street criminal, you are a prostitute, you are a wizard’, no, they accept you as one of their own. So, what is wrong with this political party when you want to say ‘it is my party, I started it therefore, President Lungu is being disloyal by bringing new members. I am sure if Mr Sata was around, he would have been very happy with my recruitment effort.”
And President Lungu said civil servants should not fear corruption allegations when performing duties.
“My administration, through the national utility company, Zesco, is in the process of completing a flagship Kafue Gorge Lower hydropower project located 10 kilometres downstream of the current kafue gorge upper power station at a cost of $2.3 billion. I must say that this project is sentimental to me, because when I came in as President, I found that they had been lagging for 13 years. Initially it was supposed to be $1.5 billibn but over 13 years it grew to $2.3 billion. What has been happening with this project, [is that] people were being accused of corruption at every angle, at every point. They couldn’t move. So, what happened, I put my neck on the board and I said ‘axe me if you want’, we went ahead and signed it. If we had procrastinated, I am sure this was going to $5 billion in the long run,” President Lungu said.
“Well as the fight against corruption is real, sometimes it is intended to make you fail to work and make you look over your shoulder every time you want to make a decision. It has an effect of paralysis in decision making. Some civil servants can’t make a decision because of allegations of corruption. Some ministers can’t make decisions because of allegations of corruption. While corruption should be fought, we should be resolved, we should be resolute, if we believe in a project, let us do it. As long as we know that worthy parameters have been taken into account and everything is above board.”
And President Lungu said he was tired of talking about the continued development in the infrastructure sector.
“Fellow members of the PF, I am tired of talking about what we have done, I am tired of saying this, and I am not boasting, that what we have done to Zambia in terms of infrastructure development is unparalleled. I was just talking about jobs a few minutes ago, but what I know is that infrastructure development is not just building roads and bridges, it is actually about jobs, jobs, jobs. Our critics talk about “eating roads”, yes you can, if that new road takes you to your destination quickly, saves you time, saves you fuel or transport fares, and protects your vehicle. This is what we have done. we have transformed Zambia with road construction and buildings, and we have created thousands of jobs for our youth in construction.”
Meanwhile, President Lungu ruled out a possibility of an election rerun, saying the PF had done enough work to go through in the first round.
“The 2016 Presidential elections were held under the amended Republican Constitution. The Patriotic Front still won the elections, and I was given a five-year mandate as President of the Republic of Zambia. There are those political parties which think that they should stand and wait, hoping that we will fail to get 50 plus. Then they will work with us in the rerun. There will be no rerun, we are winning. It is not about rigging, the reason I say so is because we have worked and we continue working. We have fulfilled most of our promises to the Zambian people and they are very proud of us,” stressed President Lungu.