Keith Mukata, the MP for Chilanga says ‘I am an MP before anything else’. Mukata is the UPND who decided to embarrass his party the UPND by remaining in parliament when all other UPND MPs walked out to avoid being addressed by Edgar Lungu.
When he says I am an MP before anything else’, he simply means that his party UPND is second or even last on his allegiance list.
But this statement by Mukata is factually flawed. For a lawyer, we expect him to know how important it is to grasp facts of a case or situation. If you get the facts wrong, you have lost the case, especially in court. Here are facts: In all political parties in Zambia, a person is first a member of the concerned party, then adopted by the party; which then presents that candidate to the electorates and campaigns for him or her based on the party’s manifesto or policies. That is why adopted candidates present adoption certificates to the Electoral Commission. So the party has primacy.
Mukata did not become MP then a member of the UPND as he is now trying to suggest. He applied to stand on the UPND ticket and, when he was applying, he vowed to adhere to and respect party rules, leaders, resolutions and directives. Mukata can not claim that he got instructions from Chilanga voters for him to defy his party’s resolution. Unlike an organized party such as the UPND, a constituency like Chilanga is not monolithic, that is to say, it has no structures to give directives A party has. So Mukata’s claim that he is first an MP before his party is untenable. MPs represent their constituencies through their party. It is independent MPs who can successfully argue that they are only answerable to their constituencies, though practically, they are never really answerable to the voters in the constituencies because constituencies are not organized in such a way as to have a hierarchy. Unless of course the MP collects signatures from the majority of voters in his area endorsing his decision.
He states that ‘as an MP for Chilanga,I owe it to my people, to represent their local interests, review legislation on their behalf, attend debates/committees and generally promote and advocate their interests at a national level. That is why I was elected.’This is simple arrogance. We have heard this empty rhetoric before, even from those who betrayed Sata when he was in opposition.
As already stated, Mukata was elected through a party which has interests and an agenda. As of now, that party does not recognise Lungu as president for reasons which are already in public domain. When a party takes a position, MPs and all members are expected to oblige. Those who do not agree with the party’s position are expected to resign. This is what happens all over the world. Individual members at times disagree with the position of the party and the honourable thing to do is to quit. You can not represent a party you do not agree with. Claiming that you represent your constituency against the position of your party is simply cheap.
Mukata knows very well that what he did can not be done by any PF MP. That MP will be out of PF before dawn. But Mukata knows that the opposition has limited power to discipline him because they do not have the coercive force enjoyed by those that control the police and courts. He knows he can get away with it with impunity and will have the backing of the PF. A quick review of the statements and comments passed so far reveals that it is the PF that is happy with Mukata’s treachery. The UPND, which includes voters in Chilanga is disappointed and riled. Cosmos Mono who was not adopted, despite being a long standing loyal member of the UPND in preference for Mukata must be having the last laugh. He is obviously saying ‘I told you suckers’.
But Mukata should know that the people in PF are not praising him because they love him. They are praising him because he has fought their battle; because he has embarrassed his own party. We know Mukata is no stranger to this kind of behaviour. It is not too long ago when he betrayed his other party the MMD to join the PF at the time PF was persecuting MMD leaders. Mukata stands for nothing. When he was convinced that the UPND would win elections, he betrayed PF and moved to UPND. So there is nothing strange about Mukata’s behaviour. He is traitor and will always be. He can go to PF today but the PF knows him. But they will hug him and embrace him as long as what he does hurts UPND.
We feel pity for incarcerated Obvious Mwaliteta. Imagine you are jailed for political reasons ands then you hear that your lawyer is working with your tormentors?
Mukuta further says he has ‘been victimised, slapped with funny and petty allegations and called all sorts of names by people.’ Most people who are calling him names are UPND members. What did he expect? UPND members across the country expect party MPs to work in unison. They have been betrayed before and they know the signs of treachery when they see them. Mukata can not therefore complain that he is being attacked. He knows what to expect. We are very sure most of the people calling him names are from Chilanga, the same people he claims to have remained in parliament for.
Sometimes, a simple sorry can resolve a conflict.
As for the rest of the UPND MPs, please keep up the good work. We are sure you know the reactions from PF and its allies such as Sakwiba Sikota were expected. They are condemning you because they have felt the impact. It has hurt them. By attacking you, they hope to force you to be addressed by Lungu next time. Expect more attacks even from that useless Patrick Matibini.