PF vice-president Given Lubinda says President Hakainde Hichilema’s delay to announce his Cabinet is an indication that he was not prepared for victory.
And Lubinda says if the PF had won the elections, Nelly Mutti would not have been Speaker of the National Assembly.
Speaking at a press briefing, Monday, Lubinda said the delay in appointing his cabinet was proof that President Hichilema was not ready to form government but to petition the election results.
“As Patriotic Front, we do recognize the fact that President Bally was not prepared to be elected President. He was very ready to petition the election results. He was not ready at all to form government. This can be seen from the time that he has taken to appoint his Cabinet. Never in the world have you heard the President being inaugurated and three weeks pass without him naming his Cabinet. Much as we recognise the fact that he has to do what he should have done, had he been expecting to be President, I am sure that he would have already composed his shadow Cabinet so that now it could have been all systems go,” Lubinda said.
“However, as he sits down to look at the possibilities, looking at the candidates who are available to be appointed as Cabinet Ministers, we want to advise him to take charge of the country. What we have seen in the recent past is extremely worrisome. We are being treated to incidents of UPND performing functions of the state. We are very concerned at seeing the many incidents where UPND cadres are leading the police to go and harass innocent citizens who they suspect have links to the Patriotic Front. Some of you may have seen the video that went viral where one UPND senior cadre was going round interrogating a citizen on the merchandise that was in his store. I would like to appeal to President Bally before he appoints his Cabinet, can he himself take responsibility to make sure that citizens are not harassed.”
When asked whether the party was satisfied with the election of Mutti as Speaker of the National Assembly, Lubinda said had the PF won, she wouldn’t have held that position.
He, however, congratulated her for having been elected as the first female Speaker of the National Assembly and further wished her the best.
“Had the Patriotic Front won elections, we could have had someone else as Speaker of the National Assembly. We wouldn’t have that Nelly Mutti, we would have had someone else. So, are we satisfied? There is nothing that we can do about it, that was the choice of the UPND. All we can do is to wish her the best. The role of the Speaker of the National Assembly is a very significant role. She is the leader of one of the three wings of government, that wing is the wing that oversees the operations of the Executive. It is not an easy task,” Lubinda said.
“We hope that the Parliamentarians will cooperate with her as she learns the roles because she will certainly be going to spend a lot of time understanding how Parliament operates, understanding how an effective Parliament oversees the performance of the Executive. So, it is not the question of being satisfied or not, all we can do is to congratulate her for having been elected as the first female Speaker of the National Assembly and we wish her the best.”
Meanwhile, Lubinda said he was not aware of any senior party member that had defected from the party.
“I have heard about defections mostly from the press but I have not yet heard of any senior member of the party that has defected. I heard about my friend Dr Hamukale, however, he did not say that he was defecting, what he said was that he was resigning from politics. He is retiring from politics because he wants to pursue another career. If you gave me names of senior members of the PF who had defected from the PF to other parties then I will comment, but I haven’t heard of any,” said Lubinda.
“As for the members of Parliament, I heard one member of parliament saying he is going to support the ruling party in delivering their promises. That should not be misunderstood to mean that he has defected. As vice president of this party, I myself did indicate that we are going to support President Bally, to make sure that President Bally delivers on his campaign promises. Who in this country wouldn’t want to have their children go to attend free education? Who wouldn’t want to support President Bally to make sure that maize prices increase to K250? We are supporting President Bally in taking away cadres from bus stations, from markets, there are actually PF cadres, take them away, but please do what you promised, provide them jobs.”