Nine Parliamentary by-elections are looming in opposition MMD-held constituencies following party president, Nevers Mumba's directive that all the members of Parliament (MPs) in the former ruling party should consider themselves expelled if they will not relinquish their Government positions.
Dr Mumba charged at a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday that his party would expel the nine MPs appointed by President Michael Sata to his administration as deputy ministers.
"These MPs should consider themselves expelled if they won't relinquish their Government positions. We did not start this war and we don't want it but PF has declared war on democracy. Although we don't like this war, we are ready to fight until we win."
He said the affected MPs should exculpate themselves because the MMD had been provoked by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government for "poaching" its members.
But two of the affected MPs, Elijah Muchima, who is Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environment and his Local Government and Housing counterpart, Steven Masumba said they will not succumb to threats from Dr Mumba.
Chief Government Spokesperson, Kennedy Sakeni said in reaction said Government would defend any MMD MP who will be expelled fromvtheir party on account of accepting a Government position.
Mr Sakeni who is Information and Broadcasting Services Minister said Dr Mumba was being unfair to the MPs because they had been appointed into Government to serve all Zambians regardless of their political affiliation.
He explained that the Zambian Constitution allowed the Head of State to appoint any MP in the National Assembly to Government.
Mr Muchima and Mr Masumba, who are MPs for Ikeleng'e and Mufumbwe, respectively, said they opted to accept their appointments on the basis that they wanted to be of service to the nation and not a particular party.
In separate interviews, Mr Masumba said no amount of intimidation from his party would block him from working with the PF Government in order to develop the country.
He said when Dr Mumba was appointed to serve as Vice-President during late Levy Mwanawasa's regime, nobody questioned him and his party's decision.
"This is a great honour and privilege for me among all MPs in Parliament to be given this ministerial position as an opposition MP.
"I am serving for Zambians and it's very unfair that our party leader who is a man of God is trying to play double standards when he was also appointed Vice-President from a different party," he saidMr Muchima said there was no need to exculpate himself as he had not committed any offence.
The MMD MPs appointed by President Sata are Feira MP, Patrick Ngoma as Deputy Minister of Education, Mr Masumba, Chilanga MP, Keith Mukata who is Deputy Minister of Commerce, Katuba MP, Patrick Chikusu, Deputy Minister of Health.
Kapoche MP, Nicholas Banda is Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Lumezi MP, Isaac Banda who is Deputy Minister of Mines. Mr Muchima and Nyimba MP, Forrie Tembo who is Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing.