CARITAS ZAMBIA STATEMENT ON THE SPATE OF RESIGNATIONS BY ELECTED MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
Within the past two weeks we have yet again experienced additional resignations by elected Members of Parliament (MPs), this time from Solwezi East and Kafulafuta. This is in defiance of strong public disapproval and displeasure with such resignations of MPs for the fact that the resultant by-elections have caused government to spend colossal amounts of money on elections at the expense of the much more urgent social needs in our society. We hear of children dying from malnutrition in our hospitals due to lack of food, we see prices of fuel going up and social projects are stalling due to lack of finances. The list of desperate human conditions that government is failing to attend to is growing, and the excuse being given is that of limited financial resources. How then can our elected representatives be so heartless as to ignore the pain and anguish they are inflicting on poor people in this country by their selfish actions of resignations and causing by-elections? Since the General elections in September 2011, we have seen resignations orchestrated by elections in Chongwe, Mufumbwe, Mpongwe, Livingstone and now three more are pending in Feira, Zambezi East and kafulafuta. This is in addition to several other by-elections occasioned by court decisions!!! This is a governance scandal. Anyone looking for evidence of gross abuse of public resources in our country should not look far given resources so blatantly plundered through these masterminded by elections.
As we have already done on many occasions, we appeal to government to stop encouraging MP resignations through promises of jobs and other privileges. Where is the lean government the people of Zambia were promised if ministerial jobs are open for purchasing political patronage? It is shameful to see very high ranking government officials dancing and jubilating at MP resignation forums with full knowledge of the harm by-elections are causing on the weakest of our society. This is immoral and an act of inconsistency for a government that has proclaimed an option for the poor as a cornerstone of its governance values. The Zambian society must treat this behaviour with scorn and strong condemnation.
We appeal to the people of Feira, Solwezi East and Kafulafuta, to reject the former MPs who have betrayed their trust if they dare seek their votes again regardless on which party platform they come. Your interests are far from their hearts; they are just using you for their personal selfish and greedy motives.
We also appeal to our Diocesan Caritases to refuse to be party to the scandal of by elections by not getting involved in monitoring them. We have persistently, and rightly so, complained about the abuse of public resources through by-elections. Let us not give them legitimacy by getting involved in monitoring them; it is a waste our limited resources and we will be unwittingly undermining the democracy we have for a long time struggled to nature and sworn to protect.