Thursday, March 07, 2013

Opposition MPs should work with govt - Kaingu

Opposition MPs should work with govt - Kaingu
By Brina Siwale in Livingstone and Kombe Chimpinde in Lusaka
Thu 07 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT

MICHAEL Kaingu says opposition members of parliament should work with the government if development is to be realised in their constituencies.

In an interview, Kaingu who is MMD vice-president for politics, said he had no problem working with the government because it was the one that had the resources to bring about development to his constituency.

"There is no problem with the opposition working with government because that is where the money is. I am working with the government to see development in my constituency. I have no problem at all," Kaingu said.
Kaingu, who is also Mwandi member of parliament, said development in a constituency or district would only be provided by the ruling party.

"In my constituency I want to see development. I need a hospital and a trades school and it's only government that can provide those things. So I engage the Ministry of Health for the construction of a general hospital that my people need and I engage the Ministry of Education for the construction of a trades school. It is only government that can provide these things because they have the money," he said. "So it is important that all of us as MPs work with government because our role as MPs is to lobby for development for our people."

Kaingu, however, said while opposition members of parliament work with government, there was need for them to remain loyal to their political parties.
He said the role of the opposition was to provide checks and balances to the government, adding that this would be impossible if they joined the ruling party.

"I am only against the issue of people crossing over to the ruling party. I can work with government but I will always remain loyal to my party. I am working with government but not that I want to join the PF, no. We need to ensure the government delivers on its promises to the Zambian people," he said. Meanwhile, Kaingu has claimed that MMD is still the "strongest opposition party" and government in waiting.

He blamed the party's loss in the Mpongwe by-election to fielding of a female candidate and alleged malpractices by the ruling party.
Kaingu said the party's independent research conducted had indicated that the party was still popular.

He said by-election should not be used as a tool to gauge the party's performance because the PF had been manipulating by-elections to its advantage.
"MMD is actually very strong and I am sure you have heard from a lot of people making the same statements.

The party has got value but the question that we must ask is how is PF wining seats in the midst of losing popularity very fast because they are winning even in places where they do not have structures?" Kaingu asked. "This is what is making us conclude that the elections are not free and fair."

He claimed that there were several malpractices committed by the PF, which included tactics of intimidation.
Kaingu said unlike UPND and the PF, MMD could not survive in a violent environment.

"You remember in Mufumbwe they (PF) were shown bribing people on camera. We didn't just petition because again we know the problem of petitioning is that it drags on," he said.

But asked why UPND managed to outdo MMD in Mpongwe to come out second to the PF, Kaingu said the opposition party performed better on account of its candidate and not the party's popularity as claimed.

"UPND had more votes on account of the candidate they fielded. You see when you feature in an election the voters will go for two persona: they will either go for the party or the individual candidate. Possibly maybe (Rapson) Chilufya was more attractive than maybe our candidate but all in all, the atmosphere, especially for a lady, was not good. Where there is violence a lady is disadvantaged, that is one of the reasons we performed in a paltry manner. Our candidate was intimidated being a woman, so all that comes into play," he said.

Kaingu also said the failure by the party to field candidates in 11 local government by-elections was as a result of the ponderous elections that ran concurrently.

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