UPND spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa says his party did not dribble PF regarding the election of Nelly Mutti as Speaker of the National Assembly, arguing that the former ruling party simply failed to field any candidate.
And Mweetwa says President Hakainde Hichilema has not breached the Constitution by appointing Fanwell Siandenge as Deputy Inspector General of Police for Special Duties at State House.
Speaking during a briefing, Monday, Mweetwa said PF did not field a candidate for the position of Speaker of the National Assembly.
“The leader of the opposition honourable (Brian) Mundubile and other PF supporters and members have claimed that the PF were on Friday last week dribbled at Parliament when the National Assembly of Zambia elected Madam Nelly Mutti as Speaker of the National Assembly, Madam Malungo Chisangano as first deputy speaker and Honourable Moses Moyo as second deputy speaker. They have said that that is undermining democracy because, in their words, all these are UPND aligned. The PF were not dribbled at Parliament on Friday. The PF failed to field any candidate,” Mweetwa explained.
“They did not file any nomination and nominations were lapsing 48 hours before the time of voting, if not 24 hours. So by the time we were going to the House to vote, at the close of nominations, the PF had not filed a single nomination. So how do we dribble people who did not enter the contest? It is unfair for honourable Mundubile and his cohorts to begin this political propaganda which is unsubstantiated.”
And Mweetwa said Siandenge was properly appointed.
“The UPND legal team has been reliably informed that Mr Fanwell Siandenge was properly appointed in his capacity as commissioner of police at State House without any breach of any rule of law. And therefore because of the nature of the information that the UPND legal team has been furnished with, I wish to urge Mr Sean Tembo or any other such busy body to do due diligence before they can engage on matters of national consequence because what they say, the public is bound to take it as gospel truth. There are no criminal or civil matters that are pending before any competent court in Zambia. President HH has not breached the constitution as alleged by Mr Sean Tembo,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mweetwa, who is also Choma Central UPND member of parliament, said calls to de-register PF were undemocratic.
He, however, said PF had zero chances of bouncing back to power.
“De-registration of the PF as a criminal organization, we as UPND Alliance have received with steady shock pronouncements and calls by some individuals that PF must be labelled a criminal organization because of the hideous and heinous atrocities they committed against the people of this country and therefore be deregistered. We are averse to such kinds of permutations because they are undemocratic and are not welcome. The majority of PF members of parliament in the House are new so they can not be held to account for what the wrongs those who were in the House did,” Mweetwa said.
“We know that the chances of PF bouncing back to power are zero but now they must hold the mantle of opposition for another political party. They are talking about rebranding, we are calling on genuine PF members not to talk about rebranding but to talk about repentance for the evils they committed against the people of this country. That arrogance which they are beginning to depict shows the levels of abuse they committed. We know that they have a lot of money, that is the money they have which is giving them impunity.”
Mweetwa also said losing UPND parliamentary candidates were petitioning the elections due to instances of electoral malpractices by PF.
He, however, said President Hichilema wanted fewer by-elections.
“We are petitioning winners who did not win on a clean slate. Although PF were the ones that set this precedence in 2011, they petitioned all the seats of MMD and caused 33 by-elections, a majority of which they won. We are not on that path. What is happening presently is that individual members with a right to do so have petitioned because truth be said in these just ended elections, PF had no idea they would lose so there were gross electoral malpractices with impunity. It is that kind of impunity that must be brought to an end because if citizens say ‘no, you have won so those people committing acts of bribery, impunity and so on, leave them.’ It means you are telling us when it is our time to be under pressure, we should do the same things, it is wrong. That is our position, it is non-negotiable,” Mweetwa said.
“But the good news is that President HH is occupying a posture of tolerance. And I am aware he has met with a number of independent MPs, some of them who are victims of these petitions. He has also met with petitioners. And the general direction is that we should have fewer by-elections. Unless there are compelling circumstances, the posture of the president is that of discouraging causation of unnecessary by-elections because we want to pay attention to development and not politics everyday. So I wish to let our colleagues in the PF, those who are very anxious to say there is still hope that some of these cases may be dropped. But for those who know that they went beyond the limit of acceptability, it is not us, it is the law. And if we are going to ignore the law because of our personal preferences, that at law is an omission on our part.”
Mweetwa assured the nation that President Hichilema would soon unveil his Cabinet.
“We are aware that the nation is anxious to hear the team that will run with HH, (Mutale) Nalumango to take the nation to the next level of our governance. Social media is awash of all these concerns. I am here to state that, that anxiety will soon come to an end. You will not wait any longer than is reasonably necessary. The President has had to be meticulous about who he decides should work with him given the enormity of the occasion and the expectations of the people of this country, about this administration,” he said.
“It has not been business as usual where you are just sworn in and from there, you just appoint anyhow, friends and so on, people without credentials that speak to your vision. This is the reason why there has been an ordinate delay because HH has programmes for the country and in order to materialize those programmes, to bring the promises, he and his team made to the people of Zambia, to fruition there is a requirement to put a credible team around that vision. To those whose patience has been stretched beyond limit, we apologise. But we are doing it for a good reason. Such anxiety is coming to an end any minute from now.”
Meanwhile, Mweetwa said the happenings in Guinea were a sad scar for the face of Africa.
“We are aware of the happenings that have taken place in Guinea where the military has taken over because of a president we are told is attempting to mutilate a constitution for a third term. In Zambia, even where a president attempts to go for a third term, there is no military takeover. The people don’t believe in a bullet, they believe in a ballot. We must be proud to be Zambians, we have done it before. This tradition must be handed over to the next generation. Those events unravelling in Guinea are a sad scar for the face of this beautiful continent. But as a country and as a people, we are proud that we have continued to show the world that yes we can. It is possible to change governments even when citizens are not happy with the sitting government, they will wait for the ballot and peacefully change the regime,” said Mweetwa.