(By Chambwa Moonga and Darious Kapembwa)
THE governing PF has claimed that the April 24 to May 16 National Dialogue Forum was not its gathering.
On the coalition government proposal, PF secretary general Davies Mwila says, “the President should draw his or her mandate directly from the majority of the people.”
Mwila also says the ruling party is against the re-introduction of deputy ministers.
In a press statement issued yesterday detailing some of the resolutions made by the PF central committee meeting held on July 8, Mwila stated that the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) was a sitting of Zambians.
“In this regard, let me announce that the party shall appear before the parliamentary committee to give its official position as adopted by the central committee,” Mwila stated.
“Let me state that the party salutes the men and women, including youth, from all walks of life that participated in the NDF and made the resolutions that they did. The NDF was not a PF gathering.”
He stated that the central committee meeting, chaired by party leader Edgar Lungu, deliberated on amongst other things, the proposed amendments in the constitution amendment bill 2019.
Mwila stated that the deliberations and resolutions were informed by wide consultation that had been taken within the PF structures, as well as with Zambians.
“The party is aware of the lies, the malice and falsehoods being championed by the opposition and their surrogates in the civil society and some sections of the media against Patriotic Front and its leadership, regarding the various NDF resolutions,” he stated.
“As a matter of principle, Patriotic Front remains committed to the ideal that we embrace criticism in whatever form and shape it comes but we shall not glorify lies and cheap propaganda at the expense of truth.”
Mwila also clarified on the PF’s position on respective NDF resolutions.
He stated that the PF supported the proposal to change the electoral system for election of members of parliament under Article 47(2) by the inclusion of a mixed member proportional representation system to include marginalised groups like the disabled and women.
“This will foster greater inclusion and provide a platform for marginalised voices in our community to participate in governance,” Mwila stated.
He, however, stated that the proposal to amend the system on voting of the President to include the possibility of forming a coalition government was not supported by the ruling party.
“In that regard, Articles 101 and 102 are to remain as they appear in the current Constitution. The President should draw his or her mandate directly from the majority of the people,” Mwila stated.
“The proposal to amend Article 103 and in particular to increase the time for the hearing of a presidential election petition from 14 to 30 days is supported. This will afford the parties time to present their respective cases.”
Mwila stated that the proposal to amend articles 112 and include a new article 117A so as to create the office of a deputy minister was not supported by the PF.
“The PF government is still committed to a lean government,” Mwila stated.
“The proposal to amend Article 116 by the inclusion of a new sub-Article 4 to entitle ministers to continue holding office until a new government is elected is supported. This will enable the executive government to continue performing its functions without any lacuna or disruption.”
He added that the PF supported a proposal to repeal Articles 69, 70, 71 and 72 and that by variation, “the central committee proposes that the period in which a civil servant is required to cease being a civil servant before seeking election to political office be reduced from two years to six months.”
“We look forward to appearing before the parliamentary committee and we shall ensure that our appearance is live on radio, television and online in order to avoid distortions and falsehoods regarding our stance as a party,” Mwila stated.
“The principle is that PF will, at all times, remain on the side of the people as we have demonstrated on several occasions, even in the case of KCM!”
Mwila emphasised that the PF owed its mandate to Zambians from all the 10 provinces, including those who never voted for it.
“We owe our mandate to govern to the miners, farmers, marketeers, barbershop owners, salon owners, domestic workers, youths from all walks of life, students, teachers, nurses, suppliers and contractors and civil servants, among others,” Mwila stated.
“We always take time to listen to our people, including those who have been continuously fed on deceit.”
Meanwhile, Mwila said the ruling party was not scared of the opposition alliance.
And Mwila said Lusaka Province minister Bowman Lusambo has no choice but to respect and work with the Nathan Chanda-led Copperbelt provincial executive committee.
He implored those that lost intraparty elections to accept defeat.
Mwila asked Chanda and his executive to embrace those that lost elections to foster unity in the ruling party ahead of the 2021 elections.
Mwila said this in Kitwe yesterday in response to a follow up question to his press briefing after he said the opposition NDC won the Roan parliamentary seat because of its alliance with the UPND.
Asked if PF was scared of the alliance going into the 2021 elections Mwila said: “We are not scared of the Opposition Alliance. Me, I knew it won’t go anywhere.”
“…you know Roan is a unique seat, even the MMD lost to Cameron Pwele of UNIP from nowhere. NDC won because of UPND that’s why my young brother [Chishimba Kambwili] is crying over Lubwa, he knows,” Mwila said.
Further asked why President Edgar Lungu on his several visits to the Copperbelt has always said things about the party leadership, Mwila said the party leadership wanted to see unity from PF members on the Copperbelt.
“All we want is unity in the province. The leaders must embrace those who stood for elections and lost. Equally those that lost must accept to work together with the leadership,” Mwila said. “It’s a two-way thing but it must start with the leadership. We must work with everyone, there are no permanent enemies in politics. On Bowman, yes I called him and I told him the need to work with the leadership, the chairman (Chanda) is aware, so he has no choice, all of us have no choice but to work with elected leaders, we want unity and it must start from the top.”
And Mwila who touched on a number of challenges affecting the ruling party in Kitwe challenged Kitwe district commissioner Binwell Mpundu to resign his position if he wanted to contest the Nkana Constituency parliamentary seat currently held by national planning minister Alexander Chiteme.
Chiteme is reportedly in a battle with Mpundu and Parklands ward councillor Cleopas Njovu who are perceived to be eyeing his seat.
“A DC is a civil servant and I have no apologies, if he wants let him resign and concentrate on politics,” he said.
Mwila also denied assertions that Chinese are taking over Konkola Copper Mines saying all prospective buyers of the mine are going into the plant to do due diligence.
“It’s not one company, there are others from Russia and Turkey who have expressed interest,” said Mwila.