P R E S S R E L E A S E
20TH JANUARY, 2011
UPND CLARIFICATON ON THE PACT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
1. The UPND is aware of, appreciates and understands the anxiety among many Zambians on when a PACT Presidential candidate will be chosen. In response to these querries we wish to clarify and inform the public as follows:
2. On 4th June 2009, UPND and PF signed an agreement which saw the birth of the PACT.
3. The basis of the PACT was to:
* answer the call of many Zambians to work together in unity of purpose;
* win the election with majority votes as opposed to the minority MMD governments, following the 2001, 2006 and 2008 elections;
* foster legitimacy to leadership; and
* govern the country better to improve lives of Zambians.
4. Following execution of the agreement, various organs of the PACT were established (Joint National Council, Working Group and Nine Subcommittees) whose main aim was to harmonise programmes of the two parties in order to arrive at a Joint Programme for the country.
5. The UPND strongly believes that a good Economic and Social action programme in various areas, as an instrument for improving lives of Zambians, is of paramount importance. The aforesaid includes reaching consensus on:
* harmonizing our manifestos covering economic and social sectors such as mining (including windfall tax), agriculture, tourism, commerce and industry, education, health,nfrastructure (roads, telecoms), water etc;
* size of government. In particular to run a lean and prudent government, i.e, cost control and optimisation of government revenue and expenditure;
* running a non politicised and professional civil service;
* sharing responsibilities in government;
* allocation of Local Government (Councillors) and National Assembly (MPs) seats country-wide between UPND and PF;
* devolution of power to the regions of Zambia.
6. We also believe that a number of other important issues should be agreed. For example, there is need to commit to generally acceptable good governance tenets, in particular:
(a) give the citizens of Zambia the long awaited people driven constitution:
* 50% + 1 for winning President;
* Presidential running mate;
* option of coalition government;
* separation of powers with an independent judiciary;
* independent Electoral Commission including non abuse of public resources by political parties before, during and after elections;
* a progressive Bill of Rights and;
* reduction of Presidential powers.
(b) commit to a non selective and professional fight against corruption including reinstating the abuse of office clause in the Anti-Corruption Act.
(c) agree to independence and strengthening of the office of the Auditor General.
7. While it is true that choice of the PACT Presidencial candidate is important, the Joint Economic, Social and Good Governance programme is even more important as this is the basis upon which the citizens of Zambia are pinning their hopes on for a better Zambia.
8. UPND believes that reaching consensus on the joint Economic, Social and Good Governance programme and the choice of Presidential candidate (together with other positions) should be taken as a package, not in isolation. In any case, the UPND’s considered view is that whoever is chosen to be PACT Presidential candidate should commit to the agreed Economic, Social and Good Governance programme.
9. Learning from Zambia’s past mistakes, we believe that the developmental needs and interests of citizens are important and should always take centre stage. In addition, the need to build effective and well functioning institutions should take precedence and not the usual rush for sharing positions without agreeing a clear programme for running the country.
10. In our view, the PACT provides a good opportunity to unite Zambia, secure majority leadership, consolidate the rule of law and ensure good governance tenets and practices.
Without agreeing on the issues outlined above, it will be pointless to proceed to choose a PACT Presidential candidate in isolation or abstract.