The opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) executive and three chiefs in Itezhi Tezhi district have endorsed the appointment of their Member of Parliament (MP) Greyford Monde to the position of Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
ZANIS reports that the entire UPND Itezhi Tezhi executive and the three traditional rulers said President Michael Sata’s decision to appoint Mr. Monde to deputy ministerial position was a progressive move.
The UPND members and chiefs, who described Mr. Monde’s decision to accept the appointment as selfless, have also vowed to support him in his endeavours to foster development in Itezhi Tezhi district.
President Michael Sata recently appointed Mr. Monde as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock and advised him to put service to the people first before the interests of his party, the UPND.
Mr. Monde becomes the first UPND MP to be appointed into the PF government. His party has since threatened to discipline him.
Itezhi Tezhi UPND district chairperson Hardwell Kang’ongwe told journalists after a lengthy meeting at the UPND district offices in Itezhi Tezhi yesterday that party members were happy with President Michael Sata’s decision to appoint their legislator as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock.
“Following the appointment of our MP as Deputy Minister by the Republican President, there has been a lot of talk in the UPND circles suggesting that he has defected to the ruling PF but that is untrue. We have interviewed the MP and we are satisfied with his response and we are solidly behind him,” Mr. Kang’ongwe explained.
Mr. Kang’ongwe said party members in the constituency will continue to encourage and support their Member of Parliament to ensure that he achieved his developmental aspirations for the district.
And UPND district Vice Publicity Secretary Godfrey Munsaka has appealed to party members in the area to put aside partisan interests but continue to be loyal to Mr. Monde.
UPND Youth Constituency Chairperson Biseck Banda said the youth in the party feel it was a privilege for their lawmaker to be appointed as deputy minister.
“As a party we had a lot of suspicion when we heard that he has been appointed minister but looking at it objectively, it is a privilege and it is to the benefit of the district’s development. By accepting this appointment, Mr. Monde has demonstrated that he puts his people in the constituency first before partisan interests,” Mr. Banda said.
Meanwhile, Itezhi Tezhi Youth Vice Secretary Liberty Muchimba said Mr. Monde’s decision to accept the appointment was a good development which should be emulated by other UPND members who are development oriented.
Mr. Muchimba said youths in the party should emulate Mr. Monde for accepting to take up positions in the governance of the country.
“There is a saying that youths are the future leaders of tomorrow but us we believe that the future is now, and Mr. Monde has led by example for all well meaning youths who want to take up positions of governance,” he said.
He said he does not believe that expelling members of the party who are appointed to ministerial positions was the best way.
“It is not wrong for anyone to accept an appointment to serve his own people. I personally do not believe that expelling people because they have been appointed to ministerial positions is the right thing to do,” he argued.
Mr. Muchimba said he had read the entire UPND constitution and there was nowhere where it stated that party Members of the Parliament should not serve in government.
He said to this effect, Mr. Monde has not abrogated any part of the constitution noting that if the UPND goes ahead to expel the Itezhi Tezhi MP, then his expulsion would be based on other reasons against him.
“But if they expel him, then they should consider that they have expelled us as well,” Mr. Muchimba said.
He has since appealed to members of the party to be objective and tolerant because expulsions will only weaken the UPND further.
“The purpose of the opposition is to provide checks and balances. MPs are already serving in government in the arm called Legislature. So why should the opposition always be concentrating on frustrating development?” Mr. Muchimba asked.
And Lubanda Ward Councillor Sylvester Kayukwa has appealed to all UPND councillors in the district to wholeheartedly support the MP and guard him against what he termed as disgruntled elements that were planning evil against him.
“Let us embrace this positive development. We are pastoralists and we know that we have someone who can adequately present our problems to government and get them addressed,” Mr. Kayukwa said.
Meanwhile three chiefs in the district have endorsed the appointment of Mr. Monde as deputy minister and have commended President Michael Sata for his gesture.
They said the decision has come at the right time when the district was facing problems with livestock diseases.
Chief Shimbizhi said people of Itezhi Tezhi were no longer interested in politics of antagonism but were instead supporting objective politics and service delivery to the people.
“We send our MPs to Manda Hill not to fight, insult or frustrate government development but to represent us effectively and development usually happens when the MP is in government,” chief Shimbizhi said.
Chief Shimbizhi, who has vowed to support the MP to the bitter end, said opposition and government should be partners in development and not bitter enemies.
“Mr. Monde will now effectively represent us and we know for sure that government will listen to him and deliver development to our district,” he added.
And chief Kaingu said he was extremely happy that President Michael Sata appointed Mr. Monde into government.
The traditional ruler has since urged all UPND members to support Mr. Monde and not to fight him.
“I am appealing to all councillors and other members of his party to support him. There is no reason why they should oppose this positive development. A councillor cannot achieve anything without cooperating with the area Member of Parliament and government,” chief Kaingu said.
He further appealed to government to speed up the process of reconstructing the 769 road which he said was in deplorable state.