The opposition MMD will continue to defend democracy and reject any efforts by President Sata to dilute the dignity of Parliament, says its president Nevers Mumba.
And the former ruling party will boycott this year’s independence celebrations at State House because of the continued police brutalization of citizens who hold divergent views.
Dr Mumba said that the current walk out by opposition Members of Parliament has the blessing of the entire party as a way of challenging the unruly PF government to start respecting the constitution and parliamentary procedures.
He said while MMD wanted the debates to go, it also had a duty to save the country from degenerating into a banana republic.
“Our job as opposition is to stop illegalities being perpetuated by PF. It is a known constitutional fact that the Minister of Finance who delivers the budget speech, must remain in the House to defend his budget as it is being debated.
“In our case, the Minister went away and we were told he was acting President. The MMD through the late former Vice President, George Kunda was the first one to advise President Sata to stop being adventurous by appointing a Vice President who could not act as President,” said Mumba.
Dr Mumba said the MMD anticipated major constitutional challenges and its advice was now being proven right although it was being called irresponsible.
“In response to late Hon. Kunda’s legal observation, President Sata called our late Vice President the dullest lawyer in all ofAfrica. Who now is the dullest with all these constitutional setbacks we are facing today?
“This is for the Zambians to decide. The Members of Parliament from the opposition will continue to take such actions in the House in order to bring reason and common sense to the ruling party,” he said.
The opposition leader said as a party it was deeply concerned about the many cardinal governance issues that remained unattended to by the PF government.
“We have declared a dispute with the President and his government on many destructive tendencies of this government, including the blatant assault on democracy by poaching members of parliament from the opposition without recourse to respect and moral integrity that ought to govern government/opposition relations.
“The abuse of the Public Order Act which has now gone down to restricting the very freedoms that allowed the PF to come into government is one of them. “The refusal by PF to allow us to hold political rallies in a democratic State is also an affront to the values of free speech and association of all citizens.
“MMD wants to see a clear independence of the Judiciary and Parliament. Then we can talk about celebrating independence. I look forward to the day when our current speaker will emulate of one of his predecessors, Mr. “Discipline” Rabinson Nabulyato, who during the harsh one party State freely lambasted the government for interfering with the independence of the house. This is what Zambians wish to see,” he said.
He categorically stated that as a party it shall not assist the PF government to pass the 2013 budget unless they are willing to wholesomely negotiate and resolve the many undemocratic practices highlighted.
Among the issues demanded by the former ruling party are that the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) be raised to K5 billion, so that the poorest of the people could benefit directly from the budget.
It also demanded that the President Sata stops his poaching errands and call for a meeting at which he was going to resolve this impasse with the MMD.
“This is a democratic breach and we shall not move forward until this issue is discussed and resolved. “The Public Order Act be revisited and only serve to protect citizens and not to stifle freedom of expression and association.
He demanded that government should make an official statement that they will not stop any political party from holding public rallies.
“Unless government is willing to dispose of these points of conflict, we shall not support this years’ budget,” Dr Mumba said.