ACTING PF president Given Lubinda says some members who were loyal to the party’s past presidents will certainly grumble under his leadership because they might not like his style of leadership.
And Lubinda says US President Joe Biden must draw lessons from Zambia’s democracy.
Speaking when he featured on Camnet TV, Monday, Lubinda said those who were loyal to former president Edgar Lungu might not be feeling protected under his leadership.
“There are some people who were members of the Patriotic Front and were totally loyal to President Michael Sata, when Micheal Sata died they left. There are also others who were totally loyal to President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, now that he has taken a back seat, they also feel that they are not protected and they may not like my style of leadership and certainly they will be grumbling and so on and so forth. But the good thing is that the vast majority members of the Patriotic Front are extremely eager and they are pushing for us to make progress. On a daily basis, I get messages from the width and breadth of the country of members urging us and saying please let us not give up, let us go on because we have faith in this organisation called the Patriotic Front. Members of the central committee are holding together even under very difficult circumstances we are holding together, members of Parliament are equally holding together,” Lubinda said.
“I have so far had more than six meetings with members of Parliament where we sit and share ideas on the program of work they have in parliament. They are very cohesive in the way they are approaching parliamentary business so I can confirm that we are comfortable with where we are and we are determined to make ourselves even stronger. All I can say is yes there is a lot of hope in the future for the Patriotic Front.”
And Lubinda said President Biden must draw lessons from Zambia’s democracy.
“The experience of the last election in America left a big scare on America’s reputation as a democratic country. And this is a reason why I took exemption to the statement made by President Biden about elections in Zambia and trying to portray that Africa, Zambia in particular as not a democratic country but America is the epitome of democracy. That is far from the truth. I think that there are many people in America who can learn from how we conduct our elections in Zambia. I think that comparing the two elections, the American one and the Zambian one, I think that we are more democratic than they are. We didn’t see people throwing stones when the results were announced, we didn’t! We didn’t see people going to Parliament to go and destroy the building but we saw that in America. People were killed at Capitol Hill. So Mr Biden has to learn something. There are lessons he can learn also from Zambia particularly his predecessor Mr [Donald] Trump can learn a lot from Edgar Chagwa Lungu, he can learn from President Rupiah Banda. Here when you have lost elections, so far none of the former presidents has resisted, they hand over with dignity,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lubinda said as an opposition party, PF would acknowledge and respect the presidency while offering checks and balances.
“I want to address this, the first meeting we held after losing elections, I did promise the Zambian people, the Patriotic Front fortunately has a number of well experienced politicians, quite a number of us have been in politics for more than 15 years so we have known what it means to be in opposition. We have also known what it means to be in the ruling party and because of our experiences, we did declare that we learnt how bad it is when you have an opposition political party that is antagonistic, that rubbishes everything. An opposition political party that does not even acknowledge that there is a President in the country, a political party whose leader does not even acknowledge or does not recognise the sitting President as His Excellency. We saw the difficulties that it created in governance and we decided we will not do that. We recognise that yes, there is a President in the name of His Excellency Hakainde Hichilema and has instruments of power. We will allow him to govern. We will not be antagonistic. However, we are also going to provide the necessary checks and balances. We are going to be critical, whenever he does things which are not in the best interest of the Zambians, we shall raise issues because in any society, if there is no opposition, then there is laxity.”
He said PF members were not crybabies, arguing that all they wanted to see was for the law to take its course.
“Look at what happened to our chairman and people are saying PF are crybabies, is it acceptable in a country where a law says a person shall not be held in custody for more than 48 hours without being presented to the court, is it alright that simply because it’s a PF member then we must just give it a blind eye? Chama is arrested, he is kept in custody for 12 days before being presented to a court, should we say that’s alright? Because President Hakainde is now President this is okay? No. Look at what happened when Steven Kampyongo was picked, he was not charged when he was picked in Lusaka, he was kept in the cells without being charged and he was driven by night, driven in a huge convoy to take him to Chinsali where he spent a another two nights before being charged. When we say this is not the fair way of treating citizens and others say no you are crybabies. We are not crybabies. We are just saying please follow the due process of the law. I don’t think that anyone is saying don’t follow criminals, follow them but follow the due process of the law than just to go around and brandish people and paint them with the same blush, is it fair? You can’t possibly say all the 30 minister under Edgar Chagwa Lungu are all thieves, you can’t say that. That statement is unfair, if there are one or two or three who you know, please follow them. You can’t just paint everybody black and say everybody in this government is a thief that’s not fair,” said Lubinda.