BY HON DAVIES MWILA, PATRIOTIC FRONT SECRETARY GENERAL
15TH JANUARY 2018
On 10th January 2018, I issued a directive to the Provincial leadership in Central Province to discipline PF Kabwe Central Member of Parliament Hon Tutwa Ngulube over what was becoming an unacceptable trend to attack the Party and Government.
This became an issue because all Party officials, including anyone elected on the Patriotic Front ticket and those nominated by the Republican President Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who also is our Party President, have a duty to protect the image and integrity of the Party at all times.
The Patriotic Front has sufficient space within its internal structures for members to express themselves, including putting any grievance before the relevant organ for appropriate action or response. This space is for robust engagement and expression of oneself without restraint. It however becomes a problem when Party officials, members, including elected and nominated Members of Parliament to bring the name of the Party into disrepute in public and especially using hostile media. That level of indiscipline shall not be tolerated by the Party. We are demanding for maximum discipline in 2018 building up to 2021.
Considering the above, the Hon Member for Kabwe Central wrote a letter of apology to the Party over his conduct. A meeting was convened, and his apology was accepted by the Party. We therefore look forward to a new beginning with Hon Ngulube, putting all actions of the past in the past. We are a listening Party and always ready to nurture leadership as it emerges. In the spirit of building Hon Ngulube and the Party in Kabwe, we have resolved to lift the sanctions imposed on him by the Provincial leadership with immediate effect.
Let me make it very clear that the Party leadership supported the decision that had been taken by the Provincial leadership and would have called for stiffer sanctions. We look forward to a new and healthy working relationship between Hon Ngulube and the Party in the Province and at National level as well as cooperating more with his fellow Patriotic Front Parliamentarians in the House in driving the Party agenda.
Let me turn to another issue which remains of great importance to the Patriotic Front – Street vending. Today, Zambia has a phenomenon called street vending and this can be traced largely to a mismanaged privatization of the country’s companies, including ZCCM, the country’s largest mining conglomerate and major foreign exchange earner at the time. There is no debate that privatization created massive unemployment and poverty among our people, especially on the Copperbelt Province. Privatization had no mitigation measures to address the unemployment and poverty that would immediately result in its aftermath. We witnessed hundreds of our citizens moving from Copperbelt Province to Lusaka in search of new economic opportunities over 20 years ago. Majority of these found themselves on the streets of Lusaka selling merchandize as street vendors. This is not a new phenomenon for Zambia, its been building up over the years. But let us not forget that the root cause was a privatization exercise that had no human face – it produced a few millionaires and millions of poor people. Today, some from the few millionaires it produced want to lecture us on the rights of the street vendors? These are individuals who were active privatization participants and beneficiaries and they retain no moral right to talk about the rights of the street vendors. Those who benefitted from privatization and became millionaires when millions of Zambians became poorer must not pretend to be champions of street vendor’s rights!
Let me assure our street vendors and traders that the Patriotic Front has workable and sustainable plans for them. We are working on creating permanent and clean alternative places for them to trade. Patriotic Front, through the Ministry of Local Government has announced immediate to long term plans in this regard and these are workable. We shall not leave our traders behind. They are a critical component of why Patriotic Front exists as a pro-poor Party.
Let me conclude by emphasizing that we are ready to grow the informal sector, which includes street vendors and traders, create economic opportunities for our people and therefore a wider tax base – wider tax base with lowered taxes is our commitment to the Zambian people. Zambia is a land with promise, purpose and destiny and Patriotic Front can assure Zambians in the informal sector, the street vendors and traders, that they are crucial partners on this journey of hope for a better Zambia, without leaving anyone behind.
HON DAVIES MWILA – SECRETARY GENERAL