IT IS wrong for President Michael Sata to brand the people who voted for the opposition in the just ended parliamentary by-elections as enemies of development and national unity, Alliance for Better Zambia (ABZ) president Frank Bwalya has observed.
Fr Bwalya said Mr Sata was President because many Zambians decided to vote for an opposition leader in 2011 and it was therefore unacceptable that just after three years in the presidency the Head of State could equate voting for the opposition to rejecting development.
Fr Bwalya said ABZ was disappointed that President Sata decided to describe the people who voted for the ruling party as having made a clear choice against politics of hate and ill-will and who had decided to vote for development.
He said in a statement to the Daily Nation that when the electorate chose to vote for opposition political parties, it did not in any way mean that they were against development in their areas.
Fr Bwalya has called on Zambians to condemn accusations by President Sata that the opposition political parties were being driven by hate and ill will.
Fr Bwalya stated that President Sata should always be mindful of the statements he was making against citizens to avoid undermining the integrity of the office of the president which he was currently occupying.
He said it was important for President Sata to keep in mind that he was a president of all Zambians including those who did not vote for him as well as those in the opposition political parties.
“We wish to counsel our Republican President Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata on the important subject of respecting the democratic choices that Zambians make during elections.
In a multi-party democracy such as ours people should enjoy the freedom to vote for a candidate and party of their choice without being labeled as being against development. We are very disappointed that in toasting by-election victories yesterday President Sata chose to describe people who voted for the Patriotic Front (PF) candidates as having, “made a clear choice against politics of hate and ill-will and having resolutely decided to vote for development,” Fr Bwalya said.
Fr Bwalya advised President Sata to desist from making statements or engaging in political rhetoric that could undermine the value of the multiparty democracy the country was enjoying.
Fr Bwalya explained that all opposition political parties in Zambia including those that were aligned to the PF were driven by the desire for a better Zambia through the provision of effective checks and balances.
He said the opposition political parties had a mission to aggressively challenge the ruling party on issues of public interest as they continued to push for the advancement of the common good.
“We think that the meaning of President Sata accusing us in the opposition of being opportunists that engage in meaningless political rhetoric is that he doesn’t listen to issues we raise on the platform of public discourse. Hence we are tempted to think he doesn’t read, watch television nor listen to radio let alone briefed by State agents about issues we articulate. In other words, we think he is out of touch with reality,” Fr Bwalya said.
He said the opposition political parties had continued to raise issues such as the need to have a democratic, just and durable constitution that would sustain national development and a better life for all Zambians.