FORMER UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma says the comments he used to make against the ruling party when he was in the opposition were not his personal views but that of UPND.
And Kakoma has expressed gratitude over his appointment as member of the Patriotic Front Central Committee despite joining the party less than a month ago.
Meanwhile, Transport and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya says he does not feel bad about being left out of the new PF Central Committee.
In a brief interview, Kakoma said he now held the views of President Edgar Lungu and the Patriotic Front.
“What I was saying when I was in the opposition, [I] was representing the views of the UPND. They were not my personal views. So if the UPND took a stand against what we are going to say, as a [party] spokesperson, that was my duty to say it. As at now, I hold the views of my new party, the PF, and I now hold the views of my new President, President Edgar Lungu,” Kakoma said.
He also expressed gratitude over his recent appointment as a member of the PF Central Committee.
Kakoma further promised to work hard and mobilise supporters to vote for the PF and President Lungu in the general elections.
“I would like to give my appreciation to the PF- in particular President Edgar Lungu, for the trust and confidence that he has shown in me. To choose me to be part of the Central Committee is a rare privilege especially that I am a new member of the party. I am very grateful. I can only promise to work very hard and mobilise people and my supporters to vote for the PF and President Edgar Lungu in the general elections,” he said.
In a separate interview, Kafwaya said he did not feel bad about being left out of the new PF Central Committee.
He added that Kakoma had been in politics longer than him and that perhaps his experience at the level of the Central Committee could give more benefit to the party.
“There are many people who joined PF earlier than me [and] there are many people who have been members of parliament for a longer period, who are not ministers like me. How do they feel? The truth is that Mr Kakoma has been in politics far longer than I have been, so perhaps his experience at the level of the Central Committee can give more benefit to the party than I would give. Clearly, we have to appreciate his value. In 2016, when I was contesting to be a member of parliament in Lunte, we were 12 and I was given the opportunity to run. The other 11 were not. 170 applicants, and you only have 54. You expect that a group of people will not have the opportunity. I have no bad feelings at all. It would be irrational for anyone to feel bad. It will be senseless because that is exaggerating your capacity or your contribution. So we need to work together and learn from those that are more experienced than we are,” said Kafwaya.
Former Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe is also among those who were left out of the Committee, but when contacted on the matter, she said “no comment.”
Kakoma defected to the ruling party two weeks ago and he is among the 54 members that have been selected by the Head of State to be part of the Central Committee.
The veteran opposition politician joined a political party he repeatedly denounced for having ‘low calibre ministers’, while once famously saying, “Zambians will be joyous when President Lungu leaves office due to the misery and abject poverty he subjected citizens to”.