By SIMON MUNTEMBA
NOBLE as President Hakainde Hichilema’s statement to Parliament may sound, it is at variance with the reality on the ground, leader of the opposition in parliament, Brian Mundubile, has said.
Mr Mundubile, who is also PF Mporokoso Member of Parliament, said he would not be excited by President Hichilema’s speech to parliament on the progress made in the application of national values and principles because what he said and what was happening out there was totally different.
He said in an interview that contrary to what the President told Parliament that his administration respected the rule of law and that people were given police bonds and bail unlike in the past, PF members were detained for pro-longed days for bondable offences.
“The President has told us before that nobody will be kept for more than 48 hours for bondable offences in police cells, but what have you seen? People are going in for over seven days or even 11 days with no tangible explanation,” Mr Mundubile said.
Mr Mundubile said that he was disappointed that President Hichilema did not condemn the pro-longed detention and torture of citizens suspected to have committed offences.
He also said contrary to Mr Hichilema’s speech that his government wanted to bring to an end unnecessary by-elections, UPND members have gone further to petition the High Court ruling to the Constitutional Court over the PF seats.
“We must migrate and graduate from a level where a Head of State comes with a good statement on the floor of the house when what is happening out there is different. We will not get excited with mere pronouncements by the President when he said that he wants to do away with by-elections when his members have petitioned almost all PF seats.
“In some cases, his members (UPND) have even gone further in some cases to even petition the High Court ruling to the Constitutional Court. So when you try to reconcile the two, his speech in Parliament and what is happening out there is totally different,” Mr Mundubile said.
Asked how much he would rate the President speech, Mr Mundubile said “ I will be exaggerating if I went beyond 4 out of 10”.
Mr Mundubile said the President should have updated the nation on the progress made in upholding values and principles other than expressing intent.
He however pledged to support government to address lacunas in the constitution but emphasized that the process of constitutional reforms should carry out a countrywide consultation so that every Zambian had an input in the amendment and not just a few elites.
Nkana MP, Binwell Mpundu said President Hichilema’s speech was encouraging and timely as it addressed issues affecting the nation.
“I think the President has ably addressed some of the ills that have affected the country namely corruption, mental health and early marriages. I think that the national address today has come at a critical time when, we as a nation begin to reflect and ask ourselves as to whether we are headed in the right direction or not as far as our national values and principles are concerned,” Mr Mpundu said.
He however said the fight against corruption must not be one sided.
Human Rights Commission Commissioner, Reverend Agness Phiri said President Hichilema has set a tone on how best the country should address the many challenges being faced.
Reverend Phiri also said the President was spot on when he called for Zambians to embrace hard work as that would see the country develop.