CORNELIUS Mweetwa says PF has not become invincible.
Mweetwa charges that there is no election in Kasenengwa adding that “there is no point going to print ballot papers, hold an election whose result is already determined.”
He said for the UPND, the Kasenegwa saga was a political setback but “it is a temporary one. We’re going to recover and recover strongly like we have done before.”
In an interview over the ‘vanishing’ of its candidate Dr Faustin Banda on the nominations day, Mweetwa said what had happened was a temporary setback but that there were lessons to be learnt.
“PF has not become invincible. You will realise that in 2008, as UPND, we underwent a lot of turbulence. Some people were even thinking that this is the end of UPND…my goodness! These are the times when we refine our resilience…these are the times that we refine our resolve…these are the times when we begin to identify who really is in this cause to be able to forge an alliance of creating a better Zambia for all. So PF can never be invincible. MMD was enjoying these kinds of episodes of temporary political entertainments which they were inducing themselves by causing unnecessary by-elections, buying off people to cause by-elections and begin to massage their ego that ‘now all is well’, that ‘we are winning’,” Mweetwa said. “The MMD were saying they would be in power up to 2050…we are not yet even in 2030, they are out. Likewise, this is an appetite by PF to quench their throat of temporary political happiness through these by-elections. You create six by-elections in Eastern Province unnecessarily so that you begin to add up numbers…yeah, they can go ahead! We have seen it before…we know that it is temporary.”
Mweetwa, the UPND Choma Central member of parliament, said his party has not been out-boxed by the PF.
“We are learning something from the setbacks we are undergoing as a party. We are not taking it lightly or as business as usual. This is a political setback but it is temporary one. We are going to recover and recover strongly like we have done before,” he said. “We have not been out-boxed by the PF, not at all! You have to look at the history of politics. In that five-year term, two years going into three years after…the second or third year after a general election is usually turbulent because it is during this period that those who are weak…those with weak souls begin to see the next general election as a farfetched idea…that they begin to lose hope and despair. Remember, not everyone is in politics to serve. Some are in politics to serve themselves, enrich themselves…some are there to provide a service of leadership and some are there to hold on to the institution of politics because it is a basis of governance.”
Mweetwa, who is also party deputy spokesperson, said the UPND was still serving its role as an opposition force.
“Even when you have not formed government, you need to know that you are still part and parcel of the political fabric and governance of a country. And therefore, you can still serve a country as opposition because in a democracy, the opposition has a special role to play. It’s unfortunate the opposition are viewed as enemies who must be depleted…‘let’s buy off their candidates’…no! In Parliament, we need strong checks and balances. Outside Parliament, you need strong checks and balances to ensure that the policies and decisions of the executive are scrutinised so that the executive does things that are being put to test and ensure that national interest is always promoted. That is the idea of democracy.”
Meanwhile, Mweetwa said there would be no elections in Kasenengwa.
“For us as UPND, we are concerned about this growing trend of buying people as if they were commodities at a market; this issue of buying candidates, buying councillors as if they are tomatoes at the market! We think that this is undermining the integrity of leadership in the political arena and the country at large. We hold the view that leaders should lead by example in terms of exemplifying virtues and values that promote integrity in leadership; leadership based on principle so that the people we lead can know that we can be trusted,” Mweetwa said. “…so that they know that when they put a ward, a constituency, or indeed a nation in our hands, it’s in the hands of a trustworthy leader or individual. So, we think that that is what leadership should be and every leader should aspire to stand on a platform of morality, principle, and ethical conduct. Going forward, we think that what is happening and all fingers are pointing to the PF for being behind this political scam. This is a shard…this should not happen in a democratic country. This should not happen where a candidate jumps from one political party to another because for a candidate to think of vying on a political platform, the major stimulus should not be winning. The major stimulus should be believing in the ideas of such a political party because those ideas, manifesto of that political party is the platform upon which you want to provide a service to the people once you are elected.”
Mweetwa said jumping from one political party to another meant that one did not have a set of values aligned with a particular manifesto necessary to serve the country better.
“We were saying all fingers are pointing to the PF so we think that this should not be encouraged. There is no election in Kasenengwa…there will be no democratic competition in Kasenengwa. It is a forgone conclusion that PF is winning the Kasenengwa by-election…if I were them (other political parties), I was going to withdraw knowing that the contest was always going to be between the UPND and the PF. So, I was going to withdraw on the basis that such withdrawal would prompt the PF candidate to go unopposed and ensure that there is no election so that we serve taxpayers’ money,” said Mweetwa. “There is no point going to print ballot papers, hold an election whose result is outright determined. Even the PF, if they are going to campaign in Kasenengwa, it is all for the purpose of just visiting their people. There is no election in Kasenengwa.”