MONZE Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwimbu says his party did not bar opposition PF from nominating a candidate for the Speaker, First Deputy Speaker and Second Deputy Speaker positions.

Commenting on Leader of the opposition in Parliament Brian Mundubile’s remarks that UPND was trying to kill the opposition, Mwiimbu said PF failed to nominate any candidates.

“I want to state that as far as we are concerned as UPND, we did not bar anyone from contesting the position of Speaker, First Deputy Speaker, Second Deputy Speaker. The provisions of the Constitution are very clear, any political party that is represented in Parliament has the right to nominate any candidate who is eligible to contest the position of Speaker, First Deputy Speaker, and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament. As UPND, we did identify the First Deputy Speaker, in the name of Attractor Chisangano, the Speaker in the name of Nelly Mutti. Those were our candidates as UPND,” Mwiimbu said.

“We also supported the candidature of an independent candidate Steve Moyo of Luageni Constituency. We did not bar or stop the PF from submitting any nominations from those positions. There has never been consultation between ourselves and PF pertaining to their candidature. For we knew that it was their own right to nominate any person to stand for those positions.”

He said PF should blame themselves for failure to exercise their rights.

“In the past, the PF in 2016 resolved to stop any candidate of the UPND from ascending to any position in Parliament. In 2016, the PF chose Dr Patrick Matibini as their candidate and nominated Catherine Namugala as one of their candidates for first deputy speaker and the second deputy speaker was nominated by the PF in the name of Mwimba Malama. We did not cry foul ourselves, because we had the right to nominate. So, in the same vein they should not cry foul. If they failed to exercise their rights, they should blame themselves,” she said.

And Mwiimbu said it was shocking that PF were describing the election petitions which were filed by UPND losing candidates as a process of trying to kill democracy.

He said losing candidates had the right to petition an election if they felt aggrieved.

“We are being democratic; the constitution and the Electoral process act is very specific pertaining to any candidate who participated in the elections. If they are aggrieved, the candidates have the right to petition the results. The petitions are not by UPND, they are by our candidates who participated in the elections. If our candidates deem it fit to petition and they have the evidence, they have the right in accordance with the constitution and the Electoral Process Act to petition,” said Mwiimbu.

“You do recall that even in 2016 the PF themselves, they petitioned most of our candidates who had won the elections. Fortunately, the courts of law did not rule in their favour. So we are surprised and shocked that they are saying that this time around we are trying to defeat the cause of democracy by petitioning the results of the elections. That is the normal and legal way of addressing grievances in an election, it is by petitioning.”