By Jack Kalala (Former State House Spokesperson)
The decision by the Patriotic Front (PF) Party to adopt former Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) Member of Parliament Michael Katambo in the April 14 Masaiti Parliamentary by-election whose seat was nullified by the Supreme Court recently because of electoral corruption, is not only hypocritical and contemptuous, but also demonstrates utter lack of consistency, morality and integrity on the part of the ruling party. It also goes to show their lack of regard and respect for the rule of law, the Judiciary and the people.
The immorality and lack of integrity in the PF Government has transcended dangerous levels of total disregard for the Judiciary and the critical concerns raised by the people of Zambia on governance mechanisms and if the intransigence by those in power goes on unchecked, the country with its well-founded democratic institutions is headed for doomsday. Sooner than the later Zambia, under the PF Government, will become a fully-fledged failed state.
It is preposterous that the PF have exhibited inconsistency on their adoption process for a parliamentary candidate in Masaiti constituency by choosing to eat their own vomit without shame and showing no remorse for the immoral and repulsive action.
The PF, through their losing parliamentary candidate Stardy Mwale petitioned the election of Michael Katambo as MMD Member of Parliament in the Courts of Law because of the electoral corruption and both the High Court and Supreme Court of Zambia found him guilty of graft.
It is therefore inconceivable that the same PF, which not long ago blocked, through the Courts of Law, the re-contesting of Dora Siliya and others in nullified seats because of electoral corruption found it morally correct and acceptable to entice Katambo to join their Party and adopt him to stand on its ticket at the expense of a long standing and loyal member.
We are dismayed by the overt display of double standards and wish to strongly condemn this behaviour as an act of insincerity and political immorality detrimental to our democracy, which is still in its infancy
We are further saddened and disturbed to observe that Stardy Mwale, the losing candidate in the 2011 elections who had fought the legal battles to have the Masaiti constituency parliamentary seat nullified has been sidelined by his own party the PF.
Mwale dragged Katambo to Court accusing him of electoral malpractices. The High Court found Katambo guilty and nullified the seat. Katambo later appealed to the Supreme Court, which upheld the lower Court’s judgement. It therefore goes without doubt that Katambo won the seat corruptly and corruption is a criminal offense in Zambia.
Why Should the PF adopt such a corrupt man, leaving their man who won the Court case in the cold?
It should be pointed out that since the PF came into power in 2011, they have provoked three by-elections in the Copperbelt rural namely Mpongwe, Kafulafuta, with the latest being Masaiti, at great cost to the nation while the area has been starved and denied of development despite the PF making so many promises during the campaigns which have remained unfulfilled to date. Is this not taking the people for a ride and for fools?
While a lot of money is being wasted on meaningless by-elections in Copperbelt Rural, projects initiated by the MMD during the reign of President Levy Mwanawasa remain uncompleted. Among the projects are the Mpongwe-Machiya Road, the district hospital at Chankute in Masaiti constituency and the high schools in Kafulafuta and Mpongwe constituencies respectively.
The question begs: who really is the beneficiary of these by-elections? It is certainly not the people and the nation, but the PF agents. We found this greedy and self-seeking conduct of the PF leadership to be irresponsible and unacceptable. The PF leadership should appreciate that they were elected to selflessly and without discrimination serve the people of Zambia and not for the PF’s self-aggrandisement and glory.
We therefore appeal to the voters in Copperbelt rural, Masaiti constituency in particular, to out-rightly reject Katambo and the PF by not voting for them in the April 14 parliamentary by-election.
We further urge the people of Copperbelt Rural to show greater solidarity by joining hands in de-campaigning Katambo and the PF in the run-up to the elections.
JACK NKONDE KALALA
(FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT)
SPOKESMAN – CONCERNED PEOPLE OF COPPERBELT