Sunday, January 06, 2013

(LUSAKATIMES) Sikwela steps down as MP with immediate effect, ditches UPND

Sikwela steps down as MP with immediate effect, ditches UPND
Time Posted: January 4, 2013 3:49 pm

Opposition UPND Livingstone Member of Parliament Howard Sikwela sandwiched between PF 1 and 2-President Michael Sata and Vice President Guy Scott when he launched the Link Zambia-8000 road project in Lusaka today

A By-election is eminent in Livingstone Central Constituency after its Member of Parliament Reverend Howard Sikwela quit the post with immediate effect and Member of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND).

Meanwhile, PF Livingstone District Chairman Fred Chibuye said the resignation of the Livingstone Central Member of Parliament had come as good news to the ruling party in particular and Livingstone residents in general.

And UPND District Secretary, Fwanyanga Lutangu challenged PF bonafide members to reject people like Reverend Sikwela as they were practicing what he termed as politics of poverty.

Reverend Sikwela has also apologized to Livingstone residents and the nation at large for the costly decision he has made at both individual and national levels.

“It is with a heavy heart that today I have to announce my resignation as Livingstone Central Member of Parliament and I further announce my resignation from the United Party for National Development (UPND),” he said.

“It is with a heavy heart that today I have to announce my resignation as Livingstone Central Member of Parliament and I further announce my resignation from the United Party for National Development (UPND),” he said.

He attributed his resignation to the UPND’s hostility towards government, tribalism within the party and failure by the UPND to adequately support him when his election was petitioned by the Patriotic Front.

ZANIS reports that the former MP who was flanked by Patriotic Front Members said this in Livingstone today during a press briefing held at Armadillo Restaurant.

“I must confess that I failed to practice the culture of being hostile to government and hence my pronouncement in September last year, to work with government for the development of Livingstone but this provoked a lot of insults and animosity from UPND members,” he said.

Reverend Sikwela said he could not be party to this attitude as an MP needed resources from the government of the day and as such needed to work closely with them.

“I have refused to be an MP who is like clouds without rain and strongly believe an MP should think, talk and dream development,” he said.

He also advised the UPND to desist from the ‘bantustan syndrome’ and dependence on its strongholds and instead concentrate on rebranding and repositioning itself if it expected to have national representation.

Reverend Sikwela said this could be achieved if advisers surrounding UPND Leader Hakainde Hichilema built him up by being sincere with him.

And when queried over his next political move, the former MP said he was ‘an open cheque’ and would wait for advice from people adding that his resignation did not have any political affiliation.

Meanwhile, PF Livingstone District Chairman Fred Chibuye said the resignation of the Livingstone Central Member of Parliament had come as good news to the ruling party in particular and Livingstone residents in general.

Mr. Chibuye said Reverend Sikwela faced numerous challenges in his quest to bring development to the tourist capital as the UPND did not allow him to work with government.

“We regret his resignation especially that the reasons he has advanced are baseless and he cannot even substantiate them,” he said.

“The MP cannot generate resources on his own as he needs support from government. This resignation will serve as a lesson to the next MP as he will need to work with government if Livingstone is to develop,” he said.

Meanwhile, UPND Publicity Secretary for Livingstone Neto Halwabala said his party was disappointed by Reverend Sikwela’s resignation as it would subject Livingstone residents to another unnecessary by election.

“We regret his resignation especially that the reasons he has advanced are baseless and he cannot even substantiate them,” he said.

Mr. Halwabala said contrary to Reverend Sikwela’s allegations, UPND had provided him with a lawyer to represent him in his election petition case and was not hostile to government but merely offering checks and balances.

And UPND District Secretary, Fwanyanga Lutangu challenged PF bonafide members to reject people like Reverend Sikwela as they were practicing what he termed as politics of poverty.

Mr. Lutangu said politicians such as Rev. Sikwela were selfish and only interested in getting high paying jobs at the expense of bonafide members who fought hard to ensure PF was ushered into power.

Livingstone is set for a second by election since the September 20, 2011 General Elections which saw MMD’s Lukulo Katombora elected as Livingstone MP.

However, The Livingstone High Court nullified his election following irregularities after UPND and PF candidates petitioned the election results.

A by election was set by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for July 5 2012 and Reverend Howard Sikwela emerged winner after beating his closest rival, PF candidate Josephs Akafumba.

ZANIS

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