ECONOMIC Front leader Wynter Kabimba says the Patriotic Front is in a confused and disorganised state.
And Kabimba says defamation of the President is an obnoxious and ridiculous law.
Speaking when he featured on Phoenix FM’s Let the People Talk programme, Friday, Kabimba said it was embarrassing that senior PF members could trade insults on social media.
“We don’t agree with the fact that as a former ruling party they should be in such a confused state. Such a disorganised state. We believe that PF, being the largest opposition political party today surely they can do better than they are doing. Surely they can stop trading these insults on social media which have become so embarrassing as senior members of the party. We don’t do it in Economic Front. So there are many things that PF could do right. There is this sense of self-entitlement, there is this sense of self righteousness which has become a culture of bedrock in many political parties. There is this sense of not realising that my view may not be the best view, that there could be somebody out here with a better view than mine,” Kabimba said
“Now, that self-realisation is part of the political maturity of you. Not only the rank and file of the party, but even the leadership of the party. There are people who believe that if you do not agree with me, then I must mobilize violence against you to make you submit to my view, we don’t believe in that. So, this is what is consuming the PF. Because they are afraid of discussing these issues.”
Kabimba said he was shocked to hear PF acting president Given Lubinda distancing the party from the feud between former deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri and Professor Nkandu Luo.
“I was surprised that Given Lubinda, acting president of the party or vice-president, when asked about the tirades between Professor Luo and Mumbi Phiri, the answer from the man was ‘this is [a] family feud’. That is not a family feud, that is a political feud between two senior members of the party. And therefore the party must get interested because what is being tarnished is not Nkandu Luo’s name, it is not Mumbi Phiri’s name, it is the names of these two, including the party. So, any person worth being a leader of a political party should get interested. Instead of backing off and saying ‘this is a family feud’. They are not fighting over a family estate bequest to them by their uncle or whoever. Let them find good leaders, they don’t seem to do now,” he said.
“An organisation is about leadership. Leaders must lead. They must lead the rank and file of a political organisation even if it is a social club or a golf club. The chairman of the golf club must lead. He or she must have qualities to lead. Confronting issues, you don’t evade issues when you are a leader, you confront issues, you confront individuals. And you treat individuals equally. That is what leadership is all about, it is about equity in the handling of matters. But if you are going to have special people against others, you will not lead. There are leaders but you know, there are bad leaders. Because you can be a leader but a bad leader.”
And when asked about how he felt about criminal defamation, Kabimba described it as a ridiculous and obnoxious provision, and further challenged the Head of State to remove it.
“It is a ridiculous and obnoxious provision. If you give it the historical context, we come with that provision from the colonial era. It was intended to protect the Queen as head of state of the British Empire. There is no such law which covers the Prime Minister of the UK. There is a video clip which I saw on social media where somebody was on a BBC interview referring to Boris Johnson as a fool, he has not been arrested because there is no such law. Here if you refer to HH as a fool, everybody would rise. How many times did you hear Trump in the United States being referred to as a fool? Many times! Nobody gets arrested. So, this provision if HH means well, if he wants to convince me as one of the Zambians that there is so-called fresh air, I challenge him to remove this provision from the penal code. If you are going to prioritise them, that should be one of the bills to go to Parliament,” he said.
“This session of Parliament which started this week is called the legislative session of Parliament. Have you listened to the bills going before Parliament? Emoluments and others. Why have they left out the amendment to the penal code, which is fundamental in terms of promoting human rights and freedom of expression? So, I will only commend HH the day that amendment comes.”
Meanwhile, Kabimba claimed there was no free education.
“On free education, I think this has been done before. There was free education in the past in this country. I am a product of free education, HH is a product of free education and I am sure he knows what free education means. Free education means free, free, free! From primary school into university. Now, he has segmented free education, ‘if you do not come from a vulnerable group in Shang’ombo, you shall be [paying] K1,000 boarding fee’. That is not free education. He is saying if you are registered in a public school, you do not have to pay any exam fee but if you are in a private school, you must pay examination fee, that is not free education,” said Kabimba.
“There is a video clip, I think in 2015, 2016 where HH was personally addressing UNZA students at the Great East Road campus and in his own words, he said to them ‘you are going to enjoy free education, you are going to pay nothing at the university here.’ That has not happened. Meal allowances have not been reinstated. So, if you are going to refer to that as free education, when you went through free education, then you are redefining, you are giving free education a different definition. So, we can help each other by being truthful. There is nothing free about education.”