By Hon. Dr Jonas Chanda
During the debate in Parliament on the budget allocations to the Electoral Commission of Zambia, I reminded the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) to stop the POLITICS of WHINING and COMPLAINTS and learn to be a responsible opposition party that can DIALOGUE with the government on key national issues and alternative solutions.
Instead of UPND always attacking ECZ and complaining about the ELECTORAL PROCESS, BYE ELECTIONS, ELECTORAL VIOLENCE, short duration of ELECTORAL PETITIONS in court, and lack of DELIMITATION of constituencies, they should realize that solutions to these challenges lie in the same processes and bills they are castigating and boycotting.
Rather than coming to DIALOGUE with government and other stakeholders to address the challenges they raise, UPND has chosen to politic and hypocritically castigated and boycotted the NATIONAL DIALOGUE process, ELECTORAL REFORMS AMENDMENT BILL (2019), PUBLIC ORDER BILL (2019), and submissions to the CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT BILL (2019).
ECZ, despite facing challenges, has conducted elections for the past five (5) years which even saw two (2) peaceful power transitions from a sitting government to an opposition party – in 1991 when the opposition MMD defeated the ruling UNIP, and in 2011 when the then opposition PF defeated the ruling MMD. This is a very rare occurrence anywhere in Africa and hence the reason Zambia is internationally recognized as a beacon of democracy and peace.
I also called on UPND and other opposition parties to stop making CHEAP POLITICAL CAPITAL out of the fight against CORRUPTION and instead collaborate with investigative agencies like ACC, DEC and Zambia Police by providing whatever EVIDENCE they claim to have to. The case in point is that of the infamous 48 houses (now 51) where UPND had alleged it was PF corruption when in fact the key suspect is a senior civil servant at Ministry of Finance with links to UPND who is also a nephew to a former Minister of Finance and now a UPND Member of Parliament and Opposition Whip.
My message to the Zambian Youths who constitute the majority of the population is NOT to allow politicians to use them as TOOLS of VIOLENCE because NO POLITICIAN IS WORTH DYING FOR, NO POLITICIAN IS WORTH SHEDDING BLOOD FOR.