MMD president Nevers Mumba says President Hakainde Hichilema’s promise to increase benefits of being honest is a brilliant statement.
And Mumba says he is in a dilemma criticising President Hichilema on pronouncements that he would have made had he been favoured to lead the nation.
Talking to journalists on Monday when he received an MMD self-assessment report, Mumba, a clergyman, commended President Hichilema and the UPND Alliance for creating an atmosphere and mood of hope in the country.
He said so far President Hichilema had lived by his words by among other things appointing an inclusive Cabinet of both experienced and new comers.
Mumba said it would be premature to start criticising President Hichilema’s government even before his first Cabinet sits to deliberate on national matters.
“We have looked at his Cabinet and seen that not everybody can be in the cabinet and there has never been a perfect cabinet since independence. But when I look to the North, I see representation in his Cabinet, when I look to the South I see representation and when I look to the West, East I see representation; that’s what he promised. He has done so, that’s not where the problem is,” he said. “He has put new people in that Cabinet and old people in that Cabinet, inexperienced people and experienced people in that Cabinet. I would have done the same had I won the presidency. So it’s premature for me to rise up and condemn a cabinet of government even before they sit as cabinet to make the first mistake.”
Mumba said the mistakes the UPND Alliance had made so far were teething problems that they could not be judged on.
“Of course, we all have our views on individual Cabinet members but I think that I will only judge and MMD will only make a position based on their performance or lack of performance. I think that’s what maturity is all about. I have said it because there are certain people who feel we are not hitting hard enough. I want you to know that this new government will make many mistakes and we are noticing each one of them but some of them are teething problems,” he said. “They have never been in government before so we will deal with major issues that have an impact on destabilising the prospects of what Zambians would get.”
Mumba reiterated his support for President Hichilema as long as his promises to Zambians continue to be favourable.
“I know that I have said to this President that we will give you all the support we can as long as your promises to the Zambian people continue to be this favourable…he has done certain things that I would have done as President. Number one he has talked about the fight against corruption which is really my motivation for being in politics. He has not only talked about it but he has given guidance on how that is going to be done. A fast track court that is going to deal with that, heightened judgments or long prison terms of those that are caught in this scam,” he noted. “He has talked about that and I think that those are things that are important to us. He has talked about the public order Act. To us that’s extremely important and we wait for them to deal with that problematic act that has really disturbed democracy in our country.”
Mumba recalled that President Hichilema had talked about the maintenance of the rule of law.
He said President Hichilema’s promise that there was going to be order in the country was
“Those of you that listened to me campaign, you know that I talked about order all the time and many other issues that he has raised that have sent a good signal, including to our colleagues at ZNBC who are here, Daily Mail and Times of Zambia. He has told them report equitably and fairly on all stakeholders and this is why I have been saying that you, government institutions, whether it’s ACC, DEC, ZNBC, the police service and all institutions of government seize the moment, do the right thing. Remove the fear that you will lose your job if you do a professional job. Look the President has given you a reason to proceed,” Mumba said.
He noted the lack of performance by government was not usually from the President but from workers in institutions that corrupt processes of being fair to all stakeholders.
“He said that there will be no sacred cows in the fight against corruption. That means DEC must ensure that if someone is in UPND and is found wanting, they should not hesitate to follow him. That’s what we are looking for, that’s the kind of country we are looking forward to but we are not going to criticise everything because I will be hypocritical to criticise this new President on things that he has said that I would have said if I were President,” he said.
Mumba said the only place he would criticise the current government was on implementation and if in future the UPND fails to stay on the side of Zambians.
He said he was in a dilemma to criticise President Hichilema and the government because so far the President had walked the talk.
“If in future they fail to stay on the side of the Zambian people then you will start hearing Nevers Mumba again on these matters but where things that will benefit the nation are being talked about and promised, we stand strong to support those visions. He said we shall increase the benefits of being honest, I thought that was a brilliant statement that he said because this country, in the past 10 years, the more crooked you are, the more opportunities you had. And to me we created a society that is not fit,” Mumba said. “Let me use a wrong word, ‘fit for human consumption’ because how do you allow the crooks to be the ones who are on top and those living by the rules are the ones that are at the back? His promised to place benefits in the hands of the honest is something I have lived for all these years. So you can see my dilemma! For now, we commend our friends on the atmosphere and mood they have created in this country. A mood of hope, including us MMD, we are feeling that mood of hope.”
He said he would support UPND decisions that agree with the position the MMD holds.
“For now they are our brothers but we are watching carefully to ensure that delivery is made on their promises,” said Mumba.