NEVERS Mumba says compared to how MMD was treated at transition in 2011, PF are being handled with kids gloves in a Sunday school class.
And Mumba has announced a partnership with the ruling UPND based on mutual interests.
However, Mumba says the partnership is not MMD’s entry into the UPND Alliance.
Announcing the partnership based on seven common values at Democracy House yesterday, Mumba told the PF that according to the bible, “you reap what you sow.”
“Zambia waits for your repentance and restitution before they can ever look at you again. Please do not tempt God and the Zambian people on this side of the ‘Red Sea’. Show some remorse,” he urged.
Mumba said there was no bigger ‘mistreater’ in the country than the PF and that they were behaving like they were from another country.
He told PF members that it was their arrogance that got them voted out and that their complaints against mistreatment were the extension of their arrogance and unrepentant attitude.
Mumba said right now the PF had no moral right to complain.
He noted that Zambians had decided to abandon the PF’s style of government and mandated the UPND to change and renew the politics and improve the country’s economy.
Mumba said it was important to decode accurately what Zambians had rejected and what they actually want now.
He said history of transitions, from the MMD to PF and now from PF to UPND, was significant in appreciating the reason Zambians hounded PF out of power and what they seek from the new governing party.
“In September 2011, without restraint, the PF came into power on the rails of terror, revenge and destruction of both human life and property. Anything with the name of MMD on it was demonised and those who were identified as members of MMD were punished and persecuted,” he recalled.
Mumba said anyone wearing MMD regalia was stripped and beaten while anyone lifting the MMD symbol was victimised.
He said MMD property was confiscated, including 198 motor vehicles and thousands of bicycles while dozens of former party leaders were arbitrarily arrested.
“Former president (Rupiah) Banda’s immunity was stripped and he was committed to court alongside many other former leaders. The state lost almost all cases as they were never properly executed, losing millions of dollars in unnecessary court processes. It was only political fanfare meant to brutalise those who were in the previous administration,” Mumba said.
According to Mumba, the MMD-PF transition was the most barbaric transitions Zambia ever went through.
He said that barbarism was the true mirror of the style of leadership the PF government perpetuated.
“The ultimate result was the destruction of both democracy and the economy. The politics of terror limited the democratic space of other political players. The politics of terror brought the economy to its knees,” Mumba said. “This is what Zambians rejected on August 12, 2021. This is what we are calling old politics and old democracy. We now must give ourselves a chance to move on. To move towards civil politics. A chance to adopt new politics and new democracy.”
Mumba said while there was no perfect government anywhere in the world, some governments were better than others.
He said the UPND might have already made mistakes and shall make more during their time in office, but it was no secret that the UPND government was many times better than the PF’s.
“In the PF-UPND transition, the PF are freely wearing their regalia. Their vehicles and other party properties have not been grabbed from them. Hardly any arbitrary arrests have taken place and those who have been arrested have been treated with respect by being granted bail and appearing in court within the prescribed 48 hours,” Mumba noted. “Constitutional office holders have not been hounded out like dogs. Some of them are still holding office sixty days later. Although the temptation to brutalise the suspected thieves from the last regime would be justified and praised by most Zambians, the new administration has exercised great restraint at great cost to the new President’s image.”
Mumba said President Hakainde Hichilema had been accused of being slow and harbouring criminals and abandoning his members by not giving them the jobs being held by the PF.
“Our interpretation of his conduct is that, he wishes to change the template of governance. Respect the rule of law and the rights of every citizen regardless of party affiliation. If he does what PF did in 2011, then what was the purpose of this change? If he replaces the PF cadres by his cadres, what progress would have been made?” Mumba asked.
He said change was both costly and lonely.
“Those of us who suffered daily at the hands of the PF are encouraged that the UPND has chosen higher ground. This is new politics. While PF was obsessed with the destruction of the MMD, the UPND has left PF intact to participate in the new politics,” Mumba noted. “New democracy means that the victory of UPND must translate into everyone’s freedom, having in mind that close to 80 per cent of the 2.8 million voters who voted for change are not UPND party members, but ordinary Zambians, including some who are PF.”
Mumba said justice, therefore, must be for all Zambians.
“Once this level playing field is laid and thorough corruption investigations are done, this same credible justice system must bring to book all those who abused their offices during their time in government,” Mumba said.
He said corruption must be fought mercilessly.
“The corrupt people have money to give law enforcement and judicial officers to corrupt the system. The corrupt people shall pay vulnerable new dawn ministers and leaders in an effort to avoid prosecution. There must be zero tolerance to this type of behaviour,” Mumba said. “Let’s not transfer corruption from the last regime to the new. There must be courage on the part of President Hichilema to expose anyone of his ministers who fall into the corruption trap. There should be no segregation in the execution of justice.”
Mumba said Zambians had delivered change and it was up to political leaders across party lines to look for ways to support them to now work that change.
“Public service should never be about me as a person. Whether I lose an election or win, my interest must be for the public good,” Mumba said.
He said in the last 60 days, the UPND government laid out its agenda both in word and deed.
“The question we must ask is, is their agenda good for Zambia or it’s a repeat of yesterday’s politics? After a lengthy debate, the MMD resolved the question,” Mumba said. “The New Hope MMD resolved in its last NEC meeting to enter into a partnership with the UPND, based on shared values. Reflection on our aspirations and the foundation upon which we intend to build the future of our country, it has been resolved that we enter into a partnership based on the core policy positions of the rule of law (order); anti-corruption fight; repeal of POA (public order Act); rebuilding of the economy; strategy for debt repayment; uniting the nation across tribe and party affiliations; restoration of human rights; and renewed foreign policy that places Zambia on the global round table of debate as an equal.”
Mumba said the MMD would support those values and ensure President Hichilema and the UPND government succeed in creating a new Zambia.
He explained that the success of President Hichilema would guarantee the success of any leader that takes over from him in five or 10 years.
“During our campaign, we empathised these values, and we see no reason why we should change our minds over what we believe in. While we may not agree with every position taken by the UPND, we do agree with their expressed intentions to renew our democracy and rebuild our economy. These are good and non-partisan intentions,” he said. “By supporting these values, we do not suggest that we lose our potency as a party to criticise any departure by the UPND from these values which have attracted us into this partnership. To the contrary, we shall bring positive criticism which adds value to the rebuilding of a united and prosperous nation. Anything good deserves to be supported regardless of who is championing it.”
Mumba said his party commits itself to supporting fully the values they shared with the UPND administration.
He said MMD supports the will of Zambians who have mandated UPND to give them a new type of democracy where every Zambian was free to express themselves without fear of arrest, free to belong to any political party without the fear of being marginalised.
“It’s the insecure ruling parties that give power to the undeserving political leaders to assume power. By restricting their freedom of expression, you are shielding some politicians from exposing their ignorance,” he said.
Mumba also said the ZNBC must not backslide but allow every political leader have equal air time.
“This will put pressure on political leaders to speak sense instead of abusive politics of the past. By brutalising opponents, ruling parties create sympathy for the mistreated politician, who even if he is not deserving can assume power on the basis of sympathy. UPND must therefore be different from the PF,” he said. “They must allow full freedoms to every Zambian. When opposition parties criticise the new government, the response should not be irrational and combative. The government must instead be above cheap politics of exchanging insults like it was in the past. Calling opposition leaders as finished politicians, or Mr Zero is cheap politics. The answers must be policy based and responsible, regardless of how provocative the criticism might be. This is the only way we shall change the toxic politics of the past. This is what New Democracy must look like.”
Mumba said to change the old politics, UPND must publicly condemn any violence carried out in its name and must publicly condemn any victimisation of non-UPND members.
“The new government must publicly and consistently guide the police to be professional and arrest criminals regardless of which party they belong to. The government must publicly guide public media houses to serve all Zambians and not the ruling party alone,” he said. “Most public institutions are fatally wounded and cannot discharge justice. They have been abused for so long by successive governments that they have become impotent. ZNBC is a good example of this abuse. It is for the new government to steer them back to the life of impartiality and professionalism.”
Mumba said he and President Hichilema had discussed the partnership arrangement.
“This is not an entry into the UPND Alliance as that is a separate process. This is a partnership to support what we believe is a positive programne for the nation,” he said. “The country has already shifted from the spirit of lawlessness to the process of creating order. Our partnership is meant to encourage Zambians to learn how to support what is good for the nation regardless of who is doing that good. UPND has chosen the right path and our partnership is meant to help them stay on that path.”
Mumba said MMD was committed to the partnership unless and until the UPND decides to abandon the professed values.
“As long as UPND remains on this positive path, we remain committed to being dependable partners both in word and in deed with effect from today,” Mumba said.
He said 50 days ago his party constituted a self-assessment and rebranding committee with a mandate to completely renew MMD and bring to a close “an era which so stained and excluded the party from effective participation in the political process.”
“After receiving submissions from all the 10 provinces and from a variety of civil society organisations, including the Church, the committee finally submitted their findings and recommendations to the National Executive Committee (NEC) which met on October the 2nd of 2021,” said Mumba. “The NEC resolved to radically change and renew the organisation and give ourselves and the Zambian people a fresh start. The renewed organisation seeks to align itself with the dreams and aspirations of the Zambian youthful population.”