2 February 2013

Zambia: PF Not to Blame for Defections - Kabimba

JUSTICE Minister Wynter Kabimba says the Patriotic Front (PF) has nothing to do with resignations of opposition Members of Parliament (MP).

Mr Kabimba said insinuations by some political parties and certain stakeholders that the PF was 'buying' opposition MPs were baseless.

The minister, who is Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general, was speaking at a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday.

"You will recall that during the period of PF in the opposition, we did not lose any MP to MMD by way of crossing the floor. Instead in 2011, MMD lost to PF the MP for Mporokoso who was also a deputy minister.

"Our party went on to win the Mporokoso by-election as an opposition political party. What this means, therefore, is that there is something in our party which new members see which does not exist in other political parties," he said.

Mr Kabimba said among reasons some people leave the opposition to join the ruling party was lack of freedom of expression.

He said there was intimidation in some opposition parties against individual members who held divergent views.

He said PF cherished ideals of democracy such as the courageous decisions taken by first Republican President Kenneth Kaunda in December 1990 to replace Article 4 of the Constitution to usher in multi-party politics.

Mr Kabimba said Dr Kaunda set a precedent for peaceful transfer of power to MMD which had remained the pillar of Zambia's democratic process to date.

On the constitution, he said the PF Government's position was for Zambia to have a people-driven document.

"For the first time in the history of the constitution-making process of our country, the Government has not produced a white paper on the draft Constitution.

"As a political party, PF has participated in the process during district and provincial conventions just as one of the many other stakeholders," he said.

On the Barotseland Agreement of 1994, he said the Government remained consistent and that when PF came to power, President Michael Sata pardoned and released from prison all the people from Western Province imprisoned by the MMD administration.

Mr Kabimba said President Sata was consistent with the policy to resolve the issue of the Barotseland Agreement amicably without Government exhibiting high-handedness in the matter.

He said massive developmental projects going on in Western Province showed that the Government meant well in tackling issues of development and poverty not only in that area but countrywide.

On enforcement of the Public Order Act, Mr Kabimba said the allegation that the PF was against the Act when it was in opposition was not true.

He said what the PF condemned as an opposition party was the enforcement of provisions of the law by the Zambia Police Service, not the Act itself.

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