Lusaka, Zambia - Zambia’s President Michael Sata, has said his government cannot be blamed for the spate of parliamentary by-elections caused by opposition members of parliamentary resigning from their parties to join the ruling Patriotic Front (PF).
President Sata, reacting to the Pastoral letter signed by 13 Catholic Bishops, said it was unfair to criticize the PF government when opposition MPs decide to quit due to intolerable situations of high handedness by leaders in their political parties.
“The concerns raised by our beloved and revered Bishops in their Pastoral letter with respect to the spate of parliamentary by-elections cannot be blamed on this administration, but can be traced back to poor and autocratic leadership in political parties that have failed to inspire their parliamentarians,” President Sata said in a statement released Friday.
Sata who noted that this was not the first time that such a political situation is prevailing in the country, pointed out that it remains a requirement that within three months of a seat falling vacant, a by-election ought to be held.
“It has to be borne in mind that whatever the cause, the law has to be upheld. Within the democratic discourse of a multiparty political system, the principles of free entry and free exit to and from one party to another cannot be outlawed. And we welcome a broad range of law-abiding citizens, including MPs to join the party,” Sata stated.
The Catholic Church recently issued a Pastoral letter, signed by 13 Catholic Bishops, among them the Archbishop of Lusaka Telesphore Mpundu, Archbishop of Kasama, Ignatius Chama, and Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) vice president, Alick Banda, in which they expressed concern at the increase of by-elections taking place in the country as a result of opposition MPs, including those appointed as ministers, opting to resign to join the ruling PF party.