LEADER of the Opposition in Parliament Brian Mundubile has accused the UPND of attempting to destroy the country’s democracy by obliterating the opposition.
Speaking to journalists, Friday, Mundubile expressed concern that the opposition was left out in the selection of Speaker and First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.
“First of all, I want to say what has happened today is unfortunate. What we have seen is that the UPND government has broken the long time settled practice of choosing presiding officers. What the practice has been in the past has been the spirit of inclusiveness where political parties both the ruling and the opposition are given a chance to elect one of the presiding officers so that there is inclusivity. What we have seen now is that the Speaker is coming from the UPND, the First Deputy Speaker is also coming from the UPND, the Second Deputy Speaker is also coming from the UPND,” Mundubile said.
“So it is really unfortunate that the UPND government is bent on destroying democracy that we fought for. We have seen them go all out to petition all the seats from the PF and now we have seen that happening in Parliament.”
He said President Hakainde Hichilema had been inconsistent on his statement of inclusivity.
“For us as Patriotic Front and PNUP, we want to put on record that the Zambians should be alert, the UPND are on a path of trying to destroy the democracy that we created. What we expected was that the selection of presiding officers should have been inclusive. So that we should have a balanced Parliament, a House that is able to speak to issues. So, they are in some indecent haste to ensure that there is no opposing voice, that is unfortunate. This is too early in the day for them to act in that manner. So we thought we can put that on record. It is a very unfortunate day for our democracy,” he said.
“The first step is that we have to speak to the Zambian people because if you monitor the statements coming from the UPND, there has been a lot of inconsistencies. The first statement he made was that there is going to be inclusiveness, so what we have seen is total failure right from the first day including today. So we will do our part to ensure that the Zambian people know the kind of leadership we have now in the UPND.”
Mundubile accused President Hichilema of trying to “obliterate” the opposition.
“The first challenge is just what I have pointed out where we have a House that is not inclusive. Firstly, there has been a smooth transfer of power where President Edgar Lungu, a real statesman, he ensured that even when he had every reason to petition the past elections, he allowed it, he looked at the bigger picture, peace for Zambia. We expected to have a Parliament that is decent. Us in the opposition we offered and undertook to provide credible checks and balances,” said Mundubile.
“We are worried that the composition of the presiding officers leaves much to be desired. There seems to be this appetite by the President Hakainde Hichilema to want to obliterate the opposition, to bring about one-party state. We want to make one undertaking, we will not allow that. We will fight to the hilt so that the democracy that we fought for prevails. The new slogan now is one Zambia, one region.”