THE Grade 12 certificate qualification for anyone aspiring for elective political office was initially targeted at president Michael Sata and it is unfair to blame the Patriotic Front (PF) for the political mistake that was made by the previous Government, Jean Kapata has said.
And Ms Kapata who is PF elections chairperson said the ruling party was not moved by the defection of Kafue member of Parliament Obvious Mwaliteta to the UPND because the ruling party was expecting mass defections from both the MMD and the UPND.
Ms Kapata said the PF MPs boycotted the National Constitution Conference (NCC) in 2011 because one of the contentious clauses at the time was the Grade 12 certificate which was largely an attempt to knock off president Sata from contesting the presidency at the time.
She said the PF was opposed to the Grade 12 certificate clause in 2011 because of the realization that the law was going to disenfranchise a lot of citizens from participating and contesting elective political positions.
Ms Kapata who is Minister of Tourism and Arts Minister said Mr Mwaliteta was ill-informed about the history of the Grade 12 certificate clause and should therefore not blame the PF as having knocked him out of the race to the National Assembly.
She said had Mr Mwaliteta taken time to find out the proponents of the Grade 12 certificate, he would have discovered that in fact the UPND was at the core of formulating and drafting such a discriminative clause. Ms Kapata said the UPND should be blamed for the inclusion of the Grade 12 certificate because the opposition political party strongly supported the clause during the last constitutional review commissions.
“It is shocking that Mr Mwaliteta would want to blame the PF for the Grade 12 certificate clause and have it as an excuse for defecting to the UPND. The PF had nothing to do with the Grade 12 certificate clause and that is why we boycotted the National Constitution Conference (NCC) set up by late president Levy Mwanawasa. We had realized at the time that the Constitution with such discriminative clauses was not going to be universally accepted. If Mr Mwaliteta cared to know the truth, he would have found out that in fact the UPND, his new found love were responsible for the clause,” Ms Kapata said.
She said Mr Mwaliteta should avoid temptation of demonizing the PF and President Edgar Lungu for his political woes but should appreciate that the ruling party gave him the rarest opportunity to serve the country as a deputy minister.
And Ms Kapata has charged that there was no way the UPND was going to win the August general elections and that the recent defections of the MMD MPs to the opposition party were not a sign that the party had become popular.
She said it was disappointing that Chilanga MP Keith Mukata had decided to resign from his position as Justice deputy minister when he was one of the first MPs to have been given the privilege of serving in the PF Government.
She said Mr Mukata was a leader who was not principled and that his act was nothing but opportunism and that the UPND should not be celebrating that they were gaining popularity.
“As PF, we are expecting mass defections from the UPND and the MMD and we are not moved about the defection of people like Mr Mwaliteta. These people have miscalculated that the UPND is forming government. There is no way the UPND is going to win this election because they have not become such a political force yet. We are continuing after elections and we have no permanent enemies in politics and some will come back,” Ms Kapata said.