Patriots for Economic Progress has announced its withdrawal from the Opposition Alliance.Party leader Sean Tembo told a media briefing that have taken the decision to withdraw from the Opposition Alliance is with immediate effect.
Mr Tembo said the main reason for withdrawing was because some of Alliance Members hold the belief that they are perfectly capable of winning the 2021 general elections without the need for opposition unity.
“As Patriots for Economic Progress, we are strong believers in the practice of civilized politics whereby we look at our political opponents not as our enemies but as our rivals. Therefore, it is our expectation that despite our withdrawal from the Opposition Alliance, we shall continue to relate well with our brothers and sisters in the Opposition Alliance and possibly even collaborate on other issues of common interest?” Mr Tembo said.
Below is a full statement
STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE PARTY PRESIDENT FOR THE PATRIOTS FOR ECONOMIC PROGRESS (PeP) AT A PRESS BRIEFING HELD AT THE OFFICE OF THE PARTY PRESIDENT IN LUSAKA ON 11th JULY 2019
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, we thank you all for coming this morning.
1. It has been approximately 9 months since we in the Patriots for Economic Progress made a decision to join and be part of the Opposition Alliance which consists of approximately ten opposition political parties. Our decision to join the Opposition Alliance was informed by a number of reasons. Chief among these reasons was the strong belief that opposition unity was necessary to ensure that the opposition wins the 2021 general elections with a landslide so as to usher into office a sober, selfless and committed Government that would redeem our citizens from the shackles of poverty, corruption, economic mismanagement and other evils currently being perpetrated by the PF and its Government.
2. It has been our long held belief that without opposition unity and an electoral pact, it would be difficult for any single opposition political party to win the 2021 general elections with a sufficient enough margin to ensure that the ruling PF and its Government are retired in the national interest. It has also been our belief that other political parties within the Opposition Alliance held a similar assessment and perspective regarding the prospects for 2021.
3. Arising from the above, we in the Patriots for Economic Progress believed that the Opposition Alliance is a vehicle that would benefit all of us, and that since all of us stood to benefit from this vehicle, all of us as individual members of the Alliance would similarly be willing to make certain sacrifices to ensure that this Alliance project succeeds.
4. However as time went by, we in the Patriots for Economic Progress soon came to a realization that our belief regarding the need for opposition unity as a prerequisite for an opposition electoral victory in 2021 was not shared by some of the key members of the Opposition Alliance. It dawned on us that some of our Alliance Members held the belief that they were perfectly capable of winning the 2021 general elections without the need for opposition unity. Their belief regarding the irrelevance of opposition unity as a vehicle for a 2021 electoral victory naturally informed their attitudes towards the Opposition Alliance in general and Alliance members in particular, both explicit and implicit.
5. As Patriots for Economic Progress, it is not our intention to sit here and argue whether opposition unity is necessary for a 2021 opposition electoral victory or not. However, the difference in opinion regarding the necessity of opposition unity as a prerequisite for a 2021 opposition electoral victory essentially renders our continued participation in the Opposition Alliance redundant. We joined and became a part of the Opposition Alliance with the hope and expectation of assisting each other through the creation of synergy. To the extent that some of the key members of the Opposition Alliance believe that they do not require any assistance, we cannot force ourselves and our assistance on them. Accordingly, we in the Patriots for Economic Progress have taken the decision to withdraw our membership and our participation from the Opposition Alliance with immediate effect.
6. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we are strong believers in the practice of civilized politics whereby we look at our political opponents not as our enemies but as our rivals. Therefore, it is our expectation that despite our withdrawal from the Opposition Alliance, we shall continue to relate well with our brothers and sisters in the Opposition Alliance and possibly even collaborate on other issues of common interest. Additionally, if in future the key members of the Opposition Alliance have a genuine change of perspective and adopt a sincere belief that they need us to compliment each other as we walk towards the 2021 general elections, then our doors shall always remain open and we shall be amenable to consider any proposal that shall be put on the table on its merits.
7. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, perhaps this is the right occasion for us to also stress the point that we have an adversarial type of political system in our country. Unfortunately so, l must add. What this means is that in the days, weeks and months ahead, as we seek to advance the political interests of the Patriots for Economic Progress, we may find ourselves stepping on the toes of other political players who may include our brothers and former colleagues in the Opposition Alliance. For that, we wish to apologize in advance.
8. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we wish to take this opportunity to thank our brothers and sisters in the Opposition Alliance for their comradeship and their hospitality during the last 9 months or so. In my individual capacity as PeP President, l must admit that l have learnt quite a lot from the more experienced members of the Opposition Alliance such as President Hakainde Hichilema of UPND, President Chishimba Kambwili of NDC, President Charles Milupi of ADD and President Elias Chipimo of NAREP. To you all, l shall forever remain indebted.
Thank You and May God Bless the Good Citizens of the Republic of Zambia and Our Ailing Nation.