Thursday, January 28, 2010
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Thu 28 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT
There will be a new government in 18 months, All People's Congress (APC) leader Ken Ngondo has declared. And Ngondo assured that the opposition political parties will fight as a united front to ensure a change of government in 2011.
Ngondo said Zambians were very resilient and would unite and fight for the 50 per cent plus one threshold required for one to be President.
“We are going to fight as a united front, we are going to make sure that in 18 months we have a government that will listen to the will of the people. Things will change and the people who are enjoying power and who are frightened of these simple measures like free press, 50 per cent plus one will be very disappointed because I don't think the Zambians will sit back,” Ngondo said.
“We are going to spearhead the campaign for change, change must come. You cannot be our champion, you are supposed to be our servant and you don't serve the people of Zambia only by being a President. You can serve people in many capacities. What we want is good governance.”
Ngondo said he was very disappointed that the government was supporting undemocratic methods of electing a president. He said it was evident from all the past constitution review commissions that Zambians were crying for a 50 per cent plus one clause.
“This is long over due. Every Constitution Review Commission, people of Zambia cried for 50 per cent plus one and we have seen all world over. Even the socialist Romania, they had 50 plus one and they were on re-run, which shows that that's the way democracy should run,” Ngondo said.
“I am disappointed that the government of the day which is supposed to be progressive and democratic can support such undemocratic methods of electing a president.”
He said Zambia had a problem because since 2001, the Republican president had never won an election.
“How will posterity judge us? We are working for the future of our children, not ourselves. Why should people who have jumped on MMD ticket because of democracy that MMD brought take the clock backwards to the old age of 1964? This is really saddening,” Ngondo said.
He said he was also disappointed with MMD cadres who were threatening violence.
“I am very disappointed with the statements that are coming from party cadres, MMD party cadres threatening democracy. Anybody who speaks out, let it be a journalist, let it be a politician, they want to silence us.
What is democracy? We have been enjoying this freedom of speech under our generation and the young generation were enjoying this. Now they are trying to close them out,” Ngondo said.
He said the inclusion of the clause by the NCC in the Constitution which will require presidential candidates to be degree holders was a violation of human rights.
“People must have the freedom to contest the highest office with minimum education. I can understand the progression for the future where degrees now are being handed over left, right and centre in Zambia. You remember as APC in our manifesto that at the end of our term of office if we had been voted in, we will have had a university in every province,” Ngondo said.
He said the discretion of choosing the Republican president should be left to the Zambian people and not the NCC.
“…This is the same thing that happened to president Kenneth Kaunda, stopping him to contest the presidency because his parents came from Malawi. Here the front runner in the opposition is Mr Michael Sata. We don't know whether he has got a degree or not but I am reliably informed he may surprise people, he may wear a gown as a graduate before 2011 so what will you achieve. Degrees can be obtained, just need to go there university for two years and you get a degree,” Ngondo said.
He said it was not true that a degree holder was a best leader in a country.
“Even fools graduate, as Kaunda put it at one point. We had best leaders who never had a degree, we have already seen the examples of people like John Major never had a degree but he was the best prime minister, Winstone Churchill and many others. So to be a leader it doesn't mean necessarily that a good leader should have a degree. If the intention is to upgrade the country because they are so many degrees that are coming up, well and good, but there should be a transitional period for that,” Ngondo said.
And Ngondo said all the presidents the country has had were his friends but he did not like dishonest people.
“It's better to be honest, let's have leadership with integrity, very sincere people who everyone would want to lead us. We have had all the presidents of this country, all are my friends. If you see my albums are full with pictures with every president from Kaunda, Rupiah but we disagree on one thing. If you are dishonest I am not your friend. I am bound to come out because both my parents were Christians. They taught me honesty,” Ngondo said.
He said he had a lot of respect for late president Levy Mwanawasa.
“…I don't want this to be an issue but he Mwanawasa meant well. This is why you saw me asking for continuity. We went to back Rupiah Bwezani Banda for the sake of continuity and he had promised that he is going to be there for one term. Now that he wants to come back in 2011 we are going to unite with other people to make sure there is a change because with a simple majority, no party in the opposition can form government.
So I can assure you, unity will come, alliances will come, will work and I am sure with my little research from what they have been asking and I haven't responded and I am going to respond now. We are quite sure we will put one candidate so that in 18 months we change the scene of Zambia for the better of our children and the journalists,” Ngondo said.
Ngondo, whose farm is near President Banda's, also complained over the high prices of fertiliser.