Speaking at a press briefing at the party headquarters in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Hichilema said UPND does not agree with MPs calling for increased remuneration.
“Being an MP or a councillor means rendering a selfless service to people. As a party, we feel it is being insensitive to people to demand for a pay rise,” said Mr Hichilema, whose party has 31 MPs.
He said the role of an MP requires diligent and selfless service to people.
“These public offices are not an income-generation venture. Being an MP is not for enriching oneself. If you want to be rich, go into private business and make money,” Mr Hichilema said.
He explained that the decision was made after the party held a caucus with its MPs.
“Yes, the demands of the voters are genuine and real. But we want a servant type of leadership. In fact, no-one should aspire for public office if they have not taken care of their own family or acquired their own property,” Mr Hichilema said.
He said different structures need to be put in place to attend to the needs and demands of voters.
Mr Hichilema said if voted into office, UPND would increase the constituency development fund (CDF) from the current K1.3 million per year to K6.3 million.
Last week, Dr Mumba said it is immoral for MPs to demand a pay rise when the majority of Zambians are languishing in poverty. The MMD has 36 MPs.
MPs have been demanding better perks to ensure that they do not become destitute after leaving the National Assembly.
MMD Mafinga MP Catherine Namugla led the demand for a pay rise when parliament was considering the report of the Parliamentary Reforms and Modernisation Committee.
The report was adopted unanimously by the House.
Ms Namugala said: “We want more money, we deserve more money. We demand our salaries to be increased so that our gratuity goes up. Members of the public need to know that we are poorly paid and we can’t live as impoverished leaders.”
Ms Namugala’s sentiments were backed by UPND Monze Central MP Jack Mwiimbu during the same session.
Mr Mwiimbu said that in his 12 years as a legislator, the House had failed to tangibly deal with the welfare of MPs.
“The sitting allowance should be part of our gratuity, that way, the salary will go up. MPs are wallowing in poverty because of poor emoluments,” he said.
And before the House adjourned sine die, Deputy Speaker Mkhondo Lungu told MPs not to be deterred in the execution of their work following a barrage of public objection to the call for a pay rise.
Mr Lungu was ruling on a point of order by Ms Namugala that outsiders were interfering with the freedom of expression, which MPs enjoy in the House by making commentaries on their call for a pay rise.
Zambia Daily Mail