Wednesday, December 26, 2012

UPND is using wrong formula to ascend to power - Munkombwe

UPND is using wrong formula to ascend to power - Munkombwe
By Moses Kuwema
Wed 26 Dec. 2012, 14:20 CAT

IT is daydreaming for the UPND to think that they can form government in 2016, says veteran politician Daniel Munkombwe.

Commenting on the UPND leadership's recent action to suspend their Sinazongwe member of parliament Richwell Siamunene for allegedly working with the government, Munkombwe said the UPND were using a wrong formula to ascend to power.

"When you say we are going to deal with this government because 2016 we are going to be in government…that is alright that is day dreaming. In my view, any formula that distances its members of parliament from government, I can regard it a wrong formula even if you are strong enough as some party leaders are saying that anybody can leave us," he said.

Munkombwe said people form political parties with the hope of being in government but observed that "even stupid ambitions are considered ambitions".

"I have seen some people who were boasting in 1996 when we had elections, they promised people that they would win, they did not win…2006, they said they would win, they did not win, 2008 it was the same, 2011 also.

I know that some people can say 'how long did it take Michael Sata to be president?' It took him 10 years, but even when he lost in 2008, he was number two, the signals were there. And when he won now finally, he got the second highest votes to those of Frederick Chiluba in 1991. If you are politically intelligent, you can know which leader has a future. People have the right to dream and those people who want to continue living in fantasies should continue because they have the right," he said.

And Munkombwe said any member of parliament who could not be influential enough to lobby the government for development was empty and shallow.

He said an effective member of parliament is one who was able to influence the government to make decisions in favour of his constituency.

"I was once a backbencher under Dr Kenneth Kaunda, I was influential and I was able to bring a number of developmental projects in my constituency in Choma. In Tonga we say imanzi atobela kalonga (water follows where the sloppy stream is). Now if you sit in parliament and every time your language is vulgar, who looks after you? Who can you influence? You need to talk to the head of government and say 'Your Excellency I want you to instruct your minister to bring development in my constituency' and show the minister the need for a particular project in that area. But if you get punished for that then I don't know," he said.

Munkombwe said working with the government does not mean that one was a sellout.

"When the government asks you to work with them, you are still yourself, a member of parliament for that particular area. But to say because one member of parliament is travelling in a constituency with a minister then he must be punished, how many people will they punish? I support chief Sinazongwe when he says if they are not careful, they will continue losing members. I sympathise with them; perhaps that is their way of operating," said Munkombwe.

The UPND has charged Siamunene with misconduct for working with the government.

Some residents of Sinazongwe have also gone further to collect signatures to petition the UPND leadership to expel Siamunene.

But chief Sinazongwe cautioned the opposition political party to carefully handle the matter regarding Siamunene's allegations.

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