Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chief urges UPND not to lie about Monde's suspension

Chief urges UPND not to lie about Monde's suspension
By Brina Siwale in Livingstone and Moses Kuwema in Lusaka
Wed 20 Feb. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE UPND leadership has started backtracking on the expulsion of its Itezhi-tezhi member of parliament Greyford Monde from the party based on his appointment as agriculture deputy minister.

And chief Sinazongwe of the Tonga-speaking people of Sinazongwe district has advised the UPND not to lie to the nation that they had suspended Monde because of other charges other than his acceptance to serve in government.

UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa yesterday claimed the party would have no problem with its members of parliament working with government as long as they remained loyal to the party.

Mweetwa, who was among those that called for Monde's expulsion, said that the PF was welcome to appoint UPND members of parliament as long as they consulted the party before the appointment.

"We are not saying that our MPs should not be appointed by the PF. If PF or indeed any government wants to appoint a UPND MP as minister, they should first formally approach the party so that when such a person is appointed, they will have the blessings of the party," said Mweetwa.

However, last week, Mweetwa together with party president Hakainde Hichilema, said Monde would be expelled from the UPND.

Hichilema told Breeze FM that Monde knew the consequences of accepting a ministerial position in the PF government.

Hichilema said that the UPND had a strict policy that stated that no member of parliament would accept to work with the PF government as minister or deputy minister.

And Mweetwa last week said the party would soon set the course for disciplinary action against Monde.

"Speaking in my own capacity as Mweetwa and not UPND, I can say Monde will be expelled because a precedence has been set before where the people that have joined government against the UPND's policies and guidelines have been expelled. Examples are there for people like late Ben Tetamashimba and others," he said.

Mweetwa advised Monde to resign from the UPND and join the PF, saying that would be the moral decision to make.
He said Monde had shown that he was a very weak soldier who had failed to manage waging a war from the opposition battlefront.

"Opposition politics is for strong individuals because temptations are so grave. It is also embarrassing for people in political nursery to begin their careers with fragile stance. Monde has shown that young people are not going to parliament to serve the people but to serve their own interests. This is political treachery and an act of cowardice," Mweetwa said then.

And party deputy secretary general Kuchunga Simusamba last week also said it was sad that Monde would spend his 'political robes with the greedy and Judas Iscariot for a few pieces of silver'.
Simusamba said Monde had betrayed the cause of the party and that of his constituents.

"He (Monde) has always been treacherous and he's one of those members of parliament who failed to file for his councillors in his constituency. We have been watching his dealings with the PF and today is a great day for us because his sins have been exposed and this is where he says goodbye," said Simusamba.

"He has expelled himself and we accept his decision. We will replace him with a more trustworthy member of parliament. It's obvious that we are winning that seat so let him enjoy those pieces of silver hoping he doesn't end up hanging himself like Judas Iscariot," said Simusamba last week.

However last week, the UPND avoided suspending Monde over accepting the ministerial position but instead slapped him with different charges.

In a letter dated February 15, 2013 and signed by party secretary general Winstone Chibwe, UPND stated that it had been brought to its attention that Monde had on numerous occasions failed to avail himself for party programmes and had failed to work effectively with the constituency and the general membership of the party.

Chibwe stated that specifically the party had charged him with destabilising the party, bringing the party name into disrepute and public odium by issuing unauthorised statements, failure to obey or carryout party instructions and activities and failure to maintain a cordial working relationship with local party officials in Itezhi-tezhi.

"The aforesaid is a testimony that your membership is questionable and that your motive is malicious and with intent to destabilise and injure the good image and reputation of UPND, as a well-organised party," he stated. "By virtue of the powers vested in me, under Article 8 (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e), you are hereby charged with the offence of gross misconduct and therefore suspended with immediate effect from the party as your actions are in breach of Article 8 of our party's constitution. You are given three days from date hereof, to exculpate yourself."

However Mweetwa has suddenly made a u-turn on his expulsion statement and said in an interview that the party had no problem with its members of parliament being appointed as ministers in government.

"We find it extremely disappointing that many people are failing to draw a distinction between working with government and working with the PF. Working with PF is where you begin to indulge yourself in political activities that undermine our party," Mweetwa said.

He cited himself as an example of how an MP in the opposition should work with government.

"All of us work with government. I am the MP for Choma, I work with government but no one has complained about me because I only work with government and I am loyal to my party. I don't work with PF, what we don't allow is working with PF," he said.

"That way their loyalty will still remain to the party that sent them to Parliament. So this issue of cutting deals behind is what UPND is saying no to. We are not saying UPND MPs should not be appointed or work with government; it is as simple as that."

President Sata appointed Monde as deputy minister.
Meanwhile, chief Sinazongwe says the UPND should understand that Monde was in government to serve Zambians and not his interest.

Commenting on the suspension of Monde from the UPND, chief Sinazongwe also advised the UPND not to lie to the nation that they had suspended Monde because of other charges other than his acceptance to serve in the PF government.

"It is not true. They should not lie to Zambians because we know that Monde has been suspended because he was appointed into government. …The fact is that Monde has been appointed into government and has been charged because of that. They just want to mix things," chief Sinazongwe said.

And chief Sinazongwe said the President had a right to appoint any member of parliament into government regardless of the political party they belonged to as long as they were serving the nation.

"As long as someone is obedient to his party, he can be loyal to his party but serving the nation. He is not serving that opposition party. He is serving the country, the people of Zambia. That's what we must understand. Anyone who is appointed to any position, whether he is in opposition; MMD, UPND, he is supposed to be let free not to be suspended but to look at what activities he is going to do for the nation. Is he going to serve the people of Zambia or the party? This is what we must understand; the government does not belong to the ruling party only. It belongs to everybody, every Zambian, whether opposition or not," he said.

Chief Sinazongwe said he saw no reason why opposition political parties should always have difficulties appreciating the appointment of their members of parliament into government.

"I think it must be enshrined in the Constitution, to protect the opposition members who are appointed in the government. The opposition must learn to support the government in power," he said.

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