UPND supports calls for coalition

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—–The Untied Party for National Development (UPND) says it supports the advice of Lunte Member of Parliament (MP), Felix Mutati, that opposition political parties should form a coalition ahead of the presidential by-election.

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Party Secretary General, Winston Chibwe, said the call by Mr Mutati is welcome although some political parties have their own agenda on how to approach the forth-coming Presidential by-election.

Mr Chibwe said he supports the move which he said would avoid fragmenting the opposition during elections.

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He was speaking to the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) in a telephone interview in Lusaka today.

And Mr Chibwe has disclosed that the UPND is 100 per cent ready to contest the forth-coming Presidential by election.

He said his party has done everything possible to ensure that it scoops the Presidential seat which has been eluding the party for some time now.

And Zambia for Empowerment and Development president, Fredrick Mtesa, said the call by the former Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister, Felix Mutati, for opposition political parties to form a coalition ahead of the presidential by election is long overdue.

Dr Mtesa said forming a formidable opposition will no doubt humiliate the Patriotic Front (PF) government.

He said it is paramount that the opposition consider the call seriously in oder for them to win the Presidential by-election slated for early next 2015.

Meanwhile, former Alliance for Development and Democracy (ADD) Secretary General, Stanford Lizu, said the opposition should not hesitate to come together for the sake of forming a strong opposition.

Mr Lizu said some of the opposition political parties do not even have structures at grass root level, making them irrelevant to participate in any election.

Mr Lizu, who is also a political activist, said major political parties such as the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, United Party for National Development, Alliance for Development and Democracy should come together for the purpose of consolidation Zambia’s young democracy.

Yesterday former Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister, Felix Mutati, advised opposition political parties to form a coalition ahead of the Presidential by-election.

Mr Mutati said in a statement released on Saturday that the most ideal way of moving forward under the current circumstances is for the opposition to form a coalition as a pragmatic and realistic way for contesting the Presidential by-election.

He said the main mandate for the coalition would be to ensure that all the weaknesses identified in the governance of the country are addressed and ensure smooth 2016 general elections.

Mr Mutati said the main mandate for the coalition would be to ensure that all the weakness identified in the governance of the country are addressed and ensure a smooth 2016 general elections.

“It is important in this regard to uphold the principle that national interest overrides any personal ambition and that the scramble for positions in leadership should not be the objective or motivation for serving in the coalition,” Mr Mutati said.

He added, “The priority agenda for the transition period between the forthcoming by-election and the substantive 2016 general elections must address, among others, the passing of the constitution, the Public Order Act, qualifications of the Vice President to be aligned to those of the President, succession and transitional procedures and arrangements, the burden of by-elections and addressing the size of Cabinet and Deputy Ministers and rationalizing the structures and mandates of Cabinet Ministers.”

He said any government elected during the by-election is expected to continue implementing the developmental agenda for the country to the best of its ability while exercising prudent use and management of public resources.

“It is important to remember that, whatever government does must be done in the interest of, and the benefit of the public and not at their expense.”

Mr Mutati said he is a loyal member of the MMD and respects the party’s constitution which prescribes the procedures and principles upon which leaders are elected including those that will be the torch-bearers in the forthcoming by-election

He also commended Zambians for the dignity they have accorded to late President Michael Sata in the manner of their mourning and the peace they have upheld during the trying moment.

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