I FEEL SORRY FOR PF…they are embarrassed, quiet: fully aware things are not right – Chipimo
National Restoration Party president Elias Chipimo says he feels sorry for the PF because “it has been caught between a rock and a hard place” over President Edgar Lungu’s eligibility for 2021. And Chipimo says there is silence in the PF because they are embarrassed and fully aware that things are not right. Chipimo also challenged PF government officials to make up their mind and state whether they are leaders or thieves.
Speaking on Prime TV’s ‘Oxygen of Democracy’ programme on Monday night, Chipimo said Zambians might know the fate “of our embattled President Edgar Lungu” this Friday.
The Constitutional Court is expected to render a judgment in the case regarding President Lungu’s eligibility to stand in the 2021 elections.
“I actually feel sorry for the PF, to be very honest, because they have been caught between a rock and a hard place. Look, I know they believe that they have…this question of the next election; I believe they think they have all the money in the world and may be they are thinking about ways in which they can come up with a system that can ensure that their man gets over the line,” Chipimo said.
“But you have had two attempts at doing something like this (a President going for a third term of office) and they didn’t end very well. If you look at the attempt that was made by president [Frederick] Chiluba, president Chiluba could have the constitution of the MMD changed in order to allow him to run for a third term. But he would never have gotten past the constitution in people’s hearts and that’s how the Oasis Forum was able to mobilise and unite the country against this idea that somebody could stay beyond the time that the Constitution had originally stipulated.”
Chipimo explained that the law was quite clear that anybody who twice held office, “not who has held two terms” was ineligible to contest the Republican presidency.
“If you are elected as a President of this country and after three months you decided to resign and somebody else was elected, you would have held office from the time you are sworn in to the time the next person is sworn in,” Chipimo said.
“It’s not about whether you held it for five years or not; it’s just were you sworn in and did somebody else take over at some point after you were sworn in? That can be one day, one month, one-year [but] no more than five years. So the law, as far as I’m concerned, is very clear.”
Chipimo said the opposition needed to unite and say “this is the agenda we want to push.”
“Imagine if we were all to unite and bring the country to understand why is it that we hope the Constitutional Court will make a determination about Edgar Lungu’s eligibility which complies with the law. We should be uniting as an opposition to say, ‘this is the issue that we want to push on the question of the enforcement of the public order Act’,” he said.
He observed that the judgment that would be rendered in President’s Lungu eligibility case would either go to strengthening or undermining the credibility of the Constitutional Court.
“It’s not contempt to say right now people have very little confidence in the way the Constitutional Court is going about its decision making. You have a situation where, to give you the clearest example of this, your ruling as a Constitutional Court is undermined by a government that is in power, by a party that is in power,” Chipimo regretted.
“They (Constitutional Court) made a clear judgment about the need for the ministers that had stayed in power to repay the money. What has happened? We’ve had no follow-up, we’ve had no feedback from the Secretary to the Cabinet who should be the one that should be in the forefront ensuring that the law is complied with. With impunity, the Patriotic Front administration is snubbing its nose at the Constitutional Court.”
Chipimo feared that if the court decided that President Lungu was eligible to stand “against the spirit and letter of the Constitution, at least in my view and certainly in the view of other legal experts” Zambians would have no avenue to place their sense of hope.
He added that the third term issue of President Lungu provided an opportunity for genuine opposition.
“Let us remind people about attempts at third terms in the past and why they are wrong for this country. This could well be a rallying point that finally pushes people to the brink now of not accepting what we have been fed for so long by the Patriotic Front,” he said.
On January 12 last year, Chipimo, a lawyer, wrote a detailed article with legal perspectives, titled ‘Lungu not eligible in 2021’.
And Chipimo said Zambians have had enough of President Lungu and the PF.
“We’ve had enough of the PF, we’ve had enough of Edgar Lungu, we’ve had enough of his disappearing act – even up to now. Michael Sata used to say ubulwele ubwa mfumu litensha chalo (an illness of a king is a moving national issue,)” he charged.
“If somebody is not well, and I don’t know what the state of his (President Lungu’s) health is…. [But] if he is not well, let us know. We would like to be praying for him.”
Chipimo observed that Zambians have reached a point where they do not feel loved by President Lungu and the PF.
“There was a time when I would go on radio; even if I said the slightest thing against the PF, the barrage of opposition that would emerge from PF callers was so strong that you would spend the rest of the interview trying to defend the statement you had made earlier,” he recalled.
“Now there is silence even from the PF itself! They are quiet, they are embarrassed – fully aware that things are not right. There are splits and divisions! You have KBF [PF member Kelvin Bwalya Fube) making statements and those statements are not contradicted by others within his own party. This is unprecedented!”
The NAREP leader wondered how with all the hurdles, the PF rank and file was insisting that the party would win the 2021 general elections.
“That’s why I started by saying I actually feel sorry for the Patriotic Front but also I feel sorry for the Zambian people because we’ve had to be subjected to levels of mediocrity that is producing, the perhaps, the highest levels of poverty we’ve seen at a time when we should be prospering, when we should be a bountiful nation,” Chipimo said.
He said PF government officials seemed incapable of ‘stealing’ progressive ideas on governance from the opposition.
“[They are capable] of just stealing money! Make up your mind; are you thieves or are you leaders? You can’t really effectively do both and build the nation,” Chipimo said.
Meanwhile, Chipimo underscored that there would come a time when opposition parties in Zambia would opt for unity and even rally behind one presidential candidate.
“I call it the mating season; we are not yet in the mating season but the mating season is coming. The reality is that the mating season is coming, whether we talk about it now or later, it will be a topic of discussion,” he said.
Asked if he was ready to be led by another person, Chipimo responded: “I’m ready to do whatever is in the best interest of Zambia because we have only one country.”
He, however, clarified that the opposition unity he was advocating, at least for now, was not about deciding who was going to be a president of the united front.
“It shouldn’t be a topic for discussion at this point because there are more important things to unify ourselves around. It’s about deciding what happens on the impeachment process, it’s about working together to fight the eSwatini land deal. It’s about working together to push the agenda through the Constitutional Court on various issues,” explained Chipimo.
Source: The Mast