19 December 2012

Zambia: Kabimba Talks Tough On Indiscipline

The Patriotic Front (PF) has maintained that there is no room for party members that compromise loyalty and discipline as this can derail its developmental focus.

PF Secretary General Wynter Kabimba said in Lusaka yesterday that the ruling party would thus discipline any members proved to be going against its rules.

In an apparent reference to Foreign Affairs Minister Given Lubinda, who is facing charges of treachery, Mr Kabimba said it was important for the PF to have a strong and disciplined membership.

He was speaking when he featured on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation's Radio 4 'Platform' programme

Mr Lubinda is accused of collaborating with the opposition MMD and United Party for National Development, as well as leaking confidential information to the Daily Nation newspaper and the Zambian Watchdog.

"The party monitors the operations of Government and Government can only deliver on development if it has a disciplined and loyal membership. The two elements are co-related and there is no compromise on these principles.

"The party has to protect itself from members that are divided because they threaten the existence of the party and its vision. Just the way the human body acts, when there is an intrusion, the white cells come out to fight and protect it so that it continues to function properly," he said.

Mr Kabimba, who is Justice Minister, dispelled reports of in-fighting but said the ruling party wanted to ensure that discipline and loyalty were maintained.

"If people are singing a hymn in Church, you cannot be saying Amen, you have to follow procedure and as a party, we have a procedure which members must follow," he said.

The survival of the party was paramount and cases such as that facing Mr Lubinda should not be judged politically, he said.

Mr Kabimba cited the expulsion of outspoken South African youth leader Julius Malema from the ruling Africa National Congress as a case study that political parties should emulate to avoid being derailed from focusing on development.

Commenting on defections from the crisis-hit MMD, Mr Kabimba said the PF should not be accused of causing the problems in the former ruling party but on a failed leadership. "The defections cannot be attributed to the PF, even the troubles that any opposition party is experiencing.

"If members want to leave, it is not us to blame but it's the failed leadership of that party that should be blamed," he said.

He added that the PF would not accept any member without scrutinising them, especially those from the MMD who were alleged to have been corrupt.

On accusations that the PF had u-turned on its earlier stance to amend the Public Order Act, Mr Kabimba said the party was merely concerned with the manner it was being applied.

"We were critical of the enforcement of the Public Order Act and not its content. We never said that we would abolish it but its application was not credible," he said.

He said it was important for security wings to continue familiarising themselves with the application of the Act to avoid political misunderstandings.

Mr Kabimba also said President Michael Sata had continued to meet traditional leaders to enforce an all-inclusive governance system.

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