THE appointment of Sinazongwe United Party for National Development (UPND) Member of Parliament Richwell Siamunene as Minister of Defence by President Edgar Lungu should not raise dust in the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) because it was made in the spirit of national unity, Father Frank Bwalya has observed.
Father Bwalya told the Daily Nation yesterday that the PF Government needed to embrace all citizens willing to contribute to national development regardless of their political backgrounds in order to maintain its reputation as a national party.
He explained that Mr. Siamunene was competent enough to be appointed to that portfolio because the President had confidence in him that he would deliver according to the demands of the job thereby contributing positively to national development.
“Those who are saying that people who have worked for the PF are being side-lined in preference to members of opposition political parties should understand that the decision was made in national interest. It is critical for the PF’s reputation as a party whose leadership embraced and worked with any willing citizen. President Lungu has confidence in Mr. Siamunene and if it were not so, he would not have appointed him,” Fr. Bwalya said.
He explained that the appointment of a member of the opposition was an indication that President Lungu had not settled for ‘politics of stereotype’ that the opposition was engaged in and that he had proved to Zambians that he was a pioneer of modern politics where national unity came first.
He said that those who may not have accepted the appointment may not be privy to the reasons why the President acted in the manner he did but asked the party membership to give him a second thought and understand that he meant well for the party.
“Some of our members may not be privy to the intelligence of the President when they do not understand his decisions but I cannot laugh at them because they don’t just understand but I want to appeal to them to give the President a second thought because this appointment is cardinal for good political leadership,” he said.
There was need for people to give President Lungu chance to change the political landscape of the country by introducing 21st century politics which gave room to the unity of purpose where all political players were given a change to run the affairs of the country thereby broadening the base from which to draw the expertise, he said.
Fr. Bwalya called upon old PF members not to be distracted by the appointment of an opposition member of parliament as the party moved towards national unity which he said would not only foster development but would spearhead its growth across the country.
“The problem is that we want the President to act according to how things have been done in the past but we are forgetting that we are in a new era with totally new political challenges and therefore, there is need to think outside the box for our political survival. President Lungu has succeeded in bringing new politics in our country as opposed to the stereotype we are getting from others,” he said.