State House Press Aide Amos Chanda says people may be flocking to the Patriotic Front because of the deficit of democratic behaviour in the opposition.
And Chanda said the Presidency has expressed surprise at Magistrate Exornbit Zulu’s recommendations for the prosecution of State House aide Dr Simon Miti in the aftermath of the Henry Kapoko case.
Featuring on ZNBC Special Interview program, dubbed Presidency in Focus, Chanda said President Edgar Lungu’s tolerant nature attracted some members to the Patriotic Front.
“The PF is not breaking any law, sitting with the President, he is a lawyer, he will be slow to engage in any acts that blatantly breaks the law. His democratic character makes him attractive to other people, if there is a deficit of democratic behaviour in the opposition, this is what you get,” he said.
“They are reacting to something, I am not directly in the political space. If somebody wishes to disappear what do we do as the PF? We force somebody to be on the ballot, no. Those who will file will go for elections it is a rules based system.”
Chanda added: “An introspection is required within the opposition, maybe that is why national dialogue is important, that the democratic character of President Lungu can rub off to other leaders of other political parties so that there can be internal dialogue.”
He said that the Patriotic Front promoted openness and debate which made it easy for members to feel at home.
“In the PF there is robust open debate about issues which is why probably you have not seen a lot of that (departures), but we have seen a few departures from cabinet. We lost honourable Harry Kalaba, we won’t hold him if he wants to go, that is the nature of politics there is free movement but there is absolutely no truth whatsoever in the views that those are being enticed,” he said.
He said the PF had invested heavily in its image with Members of Parliament obligated to contribute towards party mobilization activities.
“They (ministers) have got personal vehicles, this party (PF) goes out and fundraises, it invests money into party mobilization, it is not a crime, the ministers are politicians they are not prevented to go and campaign. None of them went with a government vehicle,” he said.
“I can tell you members of parliament of the Patriotic Front contribute monthly to the party, so it raises money, it also raises money through other options and it invests in elections. What the President has, which the Secretary General will come and tell you is a formidable campaign machinery that explains not falsehoods. They will say, here we put a railway line, here we are going to put a school and they will put it. The credibility gain from this is earning the President the victories.”
On Dr Miti, he said that court may have overstepped its boundaries by making a recommendation for the prosecution of someone who had been a state witness.
“I think the judgment is out, we can have fair comment on that, what I saw was unprecedented. It was an assault on the principle of natural justice as we know it. The man was a witness before that court, the verdict as you have put it has been passed on him. He (Dr Miti) can’t even appeal it, I mean he is hopeless, what can you do? You impose yourself before a judge and judgement is done and the case is closed,” he said.
“But comments were passed on him that suggested he was a suspect, the President’s comment on this matter is no comment, because he does not have any papers that Dr Miti has been charged of any criminal offence, he has knowledge that Dr Miti appeared before that court as a witness. It is quite unfortunate, I do not wish to, I have been in worse situations than Dr Miti but I do not wish to be in his position but this is what I can tell him that sometimes it is just debate for the sake of debate.”
He added: “What offence, if I may ask did the magistrate put against Dr Miti? Which investigative agency presented it before any court? What we know and is on record is that he was a witness in that court. The pronouncements of the magistrate, for the respect of the separation of powers, for the independence of the judiciary, the principle of separation of powers between and among the three organs of the state entail that we are very constrained to comment any further rather than express surprise.”
Chanda said President Lungu sometimes was too busy working to focus on vicious critics that made a habit to insult him.
“When the President is focussed, for instance is seated with his team and is dictating what will happen, and we are going through the notes whether or not we are late about fertilizer distribution, why the irrigation dam in Mumboshi is taking too long. I think it is a luxury to focus on yellow newspapers making noise about things,” he said.
“Sometimes we are too overwhelmed and will let certain things pass. When it is necessary, we will explain to the nation like we have done now telling you that the amount of falsehoods that has been lumped on this President shows that this is a democratic government.”