President Michael Sata has appointed Itezhi Tezhi United Party for National Development (UPND) Member of Parliament (MP) Greyford Monde as Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.
Meanwhile, President Sata has swapped Commerce Minister Robert Sichinga with his Agriculture and Livestock counterpart Emmanuel Chenda.
Mr Monde becomes the first UPND MP to be appointed to a ministerial position in the Patriotic Front (PF) Government joining a number of MMD parliamentarians who are serving as deputy ministers.
Mr Monde has since accepted the appointment and pledged to serve his constituency and the people of Zambia regardless of their political affiliation.
In appointing the UPND MP, the President said he was confident that Mr Monde would perform to his expectation and that of the Zambian people.
This is contained in a statement issued by the President's Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations George Chellah yesterday.
Mr Monde in his acceptance statement said his decision to accept President Sata's appointment did not need a long explanation.
"Throughout my political career as an MP for Itezhi Tezhi, I have followed the personal philosophy that I am a free man, a Zambian, a public servant, and a member of my party, in that order always and only.
"I have put my country, my people and my constituents in Itezhi Tezhi first. I have put them ahead of any divisive partisanship. For me, obligations to the country, the people and my constituents will always take precedence over loyalty to an individual or a group," he said.
Mr Monde said he was from a poor constituency but wanted the best for the constituents so that their lives could improve in the period they have given him to serve as their MP.
He called for unity of purpose to lift the nation to a higher destiny so that what had been achieved should not be allowed to be lost in suspicion, selfishness, and politics.
"We have to guard against divisiveness and all its ugly consequences. In these times as in the times before, it is true that a house divided against itself by the spirit of party, faction, of region, tribe, is a house that cannot stand.
"Believing this as I do, I have concluded that I should accept the President's appointment for me to serve our people in Government," he said.
When contacted, UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma challenged Mr Monde to resign from the opposition party.
"If it is true that Honourable Monde has accepted the appointment by Mr Sata, he should immediately resign as UPND MP because he is in parliament on the UPND ticket. The PF did not consult us and, therefore, Mr Monde has to face dear consequences," Mr Kakoma said.
He said according to UPND policy, once an MP accepted a ministerial appointment, he should resign from the party immediately.