25 July 2012

Zambia: 'We Won't Succumb to Intimidation'

Photo: State House
President Sata at his inauguration.

TWO newly appointed deputy ministers from opposition MMD have vowed they will not succumb to intimidation from their political party.

The two MMD Members of Parliament (MPs) who were sworn-in by President Michael Sata at State House yesterday, have since pledged to serve the Government in national interest.

They both said that they consulted extensively before taking up the positions in Government and felt that it was an opportunity for them to serve the nation.

Richard Taima, who is MP for Solwezi East in North-Western Province, has taken up an appointment as Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Commerce while his Mkaika constituency counterpart, David Phiri, is the new Deputy Minister for Tourism and Arts. Mkaika constituency is in the Eastern Province.

Mr Taima joins MMD Chilanga MP Keith Mukata who is deputy minister in the same ministry.

Mr Taima said soon after being sworn-in said that he had not committed any offence by accepting to serve in the Patriotic Front (PF) Government and particularly that he had consulted widely from his party, traditional leaders and his constituents.

He said his decision to become an MP and accepting a ministerial position had never been for personal gratification.

"When I was asked to become deputy minister, I gladly took it because I was elected to represent the people. I consulted widely but of course there will be all sorts of opinions, which I respect," he said.

Mr Phiri also said he consulted people in Mkaika Constituency and his party on whether to accept the deputy ministerial position and that he did not expect his and Taima's appointments to create any confusion in the party.

"Like the President alluded to, the Constitution allows him to appoint ministers from Parliament. I alerted the party and I have the blessings of the people of Mkaika in Katete who are very excited about this," he said.

The appointment of Mr Taima and Mr Phiri brings the number of MMD MPs serving in the PF Government to 10.

Before the appointment of Mr Taima and Mr Phiri, the former ruling party had issued an ultimatum to its members serving in Government threatening to expel them if they did not quit their ministerial positions.

On Sunday, MMD leader, Nevers Mumba stormed State House to seek an audience with President Sata.

Dr Mumba told journalists after he was turned away at the entrance of State House that he had information that the head of State met two MMD MPs whom he wanted to appoint to Government.

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