President Michael Sata has said some opposition political party leaders that are criticising his decision to appoint opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) to serve as deputy ministers lack understanding of what government was all about.
And President Sata has dismissed allegations that the Patriotic Front (PF) government was obliterating opposition political parties in the country.
He said those criticising the appointment of opposition Members of Parliament lack the understanding of what government was and the concept of inclusivity in the governance of the country.
“They must know that government is the instrument by which people cooperate together in order to achieve the common good. And an authority is needed to guide the energies of all towards the common good,” President Sata said.
Mr. Sata further explained that his administration will endeavour to have a government where all patriotic Zambians can participate in the governance and development of the country regardless of their political and other affiliation.
The President wondered why some opposition political party leaders were against his appointment of opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) to serve in the Patriotic Front (PF) government even when these parliamentarians were Zambians.
This is contained in a press statement released to the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) in Lusaka today by Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations, George Chellah.
"Why shouldn’t we appoint them to government positions when this government is also theirs? It is a government of all Zambians,” he said.
President Sata explained that the Patriotic Front was not an ordinary political party hence it was called a “Front” and not a party.
“And the rationale was that we wanted to create a front in which all Zambian patriots can participate in the governance and development of their country,” he said.
He added that, "for us, it doesn’t matter where one comes from, which organisation he belongs to, which political party he is registered with; as long as he is a patriot and wants to come to the front and serve the country and the people, they are welcome. We have many people in government who were politically not with us but are patriots and have joined to serve their country and their people”.
"So why should we prevent these MPs from coming to serve their country and their people?
If these MPs are patriots who want to serve their country by joining government, why should somebody have a problem with that? If you are not a patriot, then you won’t understand what they are doing and you’ll have a problem with it,” he said.
He said people must know that government is an instrument by which people cooperate together in order to achieve the common good.
“Those holding their members captive by stopping them from serving their country are failures at leadership and do not have the interest of Zambians at heart,” he said.
And President Sata dismissed allegations that the PF government was obliterating the opposition political parties in the country.
“As government, we find such claims to be misplaced and deceitful. For example, when MMD decided to join forces with more than 15 ‘rebel’ PF Members of Parliament, did the opposition in Zambia die? The opposition in general and PF in particular never died on account of the MMD’s decision to collaborate with a large number of our MPs,” President Sata said.
He explained that it was in fact from that state of affairs that the PF emerged to form government in 2011.
“Let our colleagues in opposition pick a leaf from our vast political experience and become conscious to the reality that it is their responsibility to put their house in order and not the government’s,” he said.
President Sata has since thanked all political stakeholders who have chosen the interests of the Zambian people ahead of meaningless partisanship.
Since coming to power, President Sata has appointed a number of MMD and UPND Members of Parliament to serve in his administration as deputy minister in an effort to promote inclusiveness in the running of the country.