STATEMENT ON THE PRESS BRIEFING ADDRESSED BY MOVEMENT FOR MULTI-PARTY DEMOCRACY (MMD) PRESIDENT DR NEVERS MUMBA AT THE PARTY SECRETARIAT ON MONDAY, JULY 23, 2012.
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. We have called this media briefing to address and clarify the recent developments that have taken place in our country.
On Sunday, 22nd July, 2012, as you may be aware, I proceeded to state house to seek clarification on the continued assort on democracy by the President. I did this in my capacity as president of one of the largest opposition political parties in this country.
Ladies and gentlemen, the aim of my visit was to dialogue and understand why the President is targeting the MMD MPs in the recent appointments to the positions of deputy minister.
As part of procedure, I wrote a letter to him dated July 11, 2012 in which I raised these issues for us to have a clear response from the President. Instead, as you may be aware, I received a letter full of insults which did not address the fundamental questions and concerns I raised to him.
I went to state house to understand why the government was only appointing MPs from one party, the MMD. There has never been such precedence before whether under the leadership of late President Levy Mwanawasa and later on Rupiah Bwezani Banda where eleven MPs are appointed from one opposition political party.
This smells some evil agenda on the part of Mr Sata and his government.
The people of Zambia also know that I was not the appointing authority at the time opposition MPs served in the government but as a matter of collective responsibility, I know for certain that President Mwanawasa did not target one party but others like UNIP, Forum for Democracy and Development and even Heritage Party.
But I am happy because the people of Zambia know and understand the type of a President and government we are dealing with.
Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, I am glad to confirm that one of our gallant MPs and member of our party, who has shown higher levels of dedication to democracy, Honorable Isaac Kafulamuchenga Banda who is MP for Lumezi constituency in the Eastern province has resigned his position as deputy minister of Mines and Water Development.
This resignation is victory for democracy, the MMD and the people of Zambia.
We are happy as a party that this has happened just as we have been moving to resolve the issue of appointing MMD MPs without consulting the party.
We expect more of our dedicated MPs to reject any proposals from Mr Sata to appoint them because they will enjoy temporal glory.
It is inevitable based on Mr Sata’s nature and way of doing things that these MPs will be used and dumped when Mr Sata’s agenda is achieved.
Ladies and gentlemen, the PF have accused me of wanting to create by-elections. This is a distortion of facts. Even in my previous press briefing, I clearly stated that the MMD does not want to subject the Zambian people to unnecessary by-elections. It is the PF who have an uncontrollable appetite for by-elections because from the on-set, they petitioned more than 50 of our seats.
When the nullification scheme seemed not to be going their way, the PF went ahead and attempted to deregister the MMD all in the interest of creating over 50 by-elections in the hope of raising their numbers in parliament.
If these seats were nullified, it was going to cost this country billions of Kwacha in tax-payers money from a government that is pretending to fight corruption.
But should that happen, the MMD will follow them and defeat them in the constituencies where by-elections will be called and in 2016, they must realize that MMD is coming back to power.
First and foremost, democracy only thrives where there is accountability through the provision of checks and balances provided by oversight institutions.
These institutions may include the civil society organizations which run various programmes in line with their mandates.
The women’s movement, associations, trade unions, faith-based organizations are among the other oversight institutions that exist in any democracy.
Apart from these, democracy recognizes the existence of opposition political parties which interact with various stakeholders in society through which they receive presentations about the excesses that are committed by the government.
Opposition parties also offer one very important component of any democracy which is criticism. Further, opposition parties offer direction where it is lacking like the case appears to be in our country presently.
Now Mr Sata does not seem to understand any of these elements and from the recent developments, it appears that his appetite for the death of democracy has grown un proportionally.
He wants to get rid of the opposition. This initiative started with attempts to de-register the MMD after which he has gone further to recruit members of parliament to serve in government as deputy ministers.
While it is recognized that the MMD government worked with MPs from other parties, there was no policy to target one opposition party. There was no policy to de-register any of the opposition political parties irrespective of the many breaches they committed with the registrar of societies.
For example, the Patriotic Front (PF), under the leadership of Mr Sata failed to hold a national convention for ten years in breach of the law and the MMD never threatened them with deregistration but kept on encouraging the party to be democratic.
From all these happenings, it is clear that Mr Sata wants to build numbers in parliament in order to frustrate proposals for the 50 per cent plus one vote for any candidate to the position of president to be declared winner.
Mr Sata also wants to block another proposal by the people of Zambia for the new constitution to have a vice president as a running-mate in any presidential election.
For us in the MMD, we view this as one big attempt to insult and belittle the people of Zambia. We believe that Mr Sata and the PF do not have any right to reject the views of the people of Zambia.
These two provisions are already in the draft constitution on the basis of what the majority Zambians submitted to all the three constitutional review commissions.
Further, when he calls me a hypocrite, I get surprised because he is the one who expelled more than 20 MPs from his party soon after they decided to participate the national constitutional conference as required by law.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, members of the press, Mr Sata has chosen to attack his own policies and exhibiting high levels of inconsistency turning back on all his campaign promises.
He promised to govern this country on ten Commandments and broke them just minutes after such as the issue of Barotseland agreement, job-creation in 90 days and more money in the pockets. Now one of the commandments says thou shall not lie. So who is a hypocrite?
The Zambian people are yearning for intelligent debate from the government and insults should not be part of political discourse.
LADIES AND GENTLEMENT, I WANT TO THANK YOU VERY MUCH PAYING ATTENTION TO MY ADDRESS
GOD BLESS YOU
Nevers Sekwila Mumba