By MAYA NTANDA and XAVIER MANCHISHI –
THE Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) says attempts by opposition political parties to unite for the sole purpose of removing the Patriotic Front (PF) from Government will always be futile.
FDD spokesperson Antonio Mwanza said yesterday that Zambians were more interested in issues that would address the social and economic challenges they face than any other agenda.
MMD Copperbelt information and publicity secretary Yotam Mtayachalo on Tuesday, during a Press briefing in Kitwe, said opposition party leaders had been selfish and, therefore, created many hurdles in the dream for a consolidated opposition in Zambia.
But Mr Mwanza said what was needed was unity of purpose that would be beneficial to all Zambians.
“Zambians are not interested in people ganging up against President Michael Sata or the PF. We unite and share the positions, then what happens to Zambians?
“We are for unity depending on the social and economic agenda,” he said in an interview.
Mr Mwanza said it was not just a matter of the opposition parties uniting against the PF without addressing the social and economic challenges that the country was facing.
He said the FDD had been in alliances with other parties before but it was cardinal that the manifestos were harmonised.
National Restoration Party Copperbelt publicity secretary Joshua Mfune also said the MMD was to blame for the selfishness exhibited by opposition party leaders.
Mr Mfune said the MMD’s style of leadership was riddled with inefficiencies and did not allow democracy to flourish, hence the selfishness being seen in some leaders.
Meanwhile, United Party for National Development (UPND) secretary general Winston Chibwe said the party was not formed to enter into alliances with other political parties but to form Government.
Reacting to a call by Agenda for Better Zambia leader Frank Bwalya for the opposition to start fielding common candidates from now until the 2016 general elections, Mr Chibwe said the UPND was not ready for such ‘marriage of convenience’.
“The UPND has an ambition to form Government. The UPND was formed to form Government and not alliances with other political parties, and I think those are the ambitions of any political party,” Mr Chibwe said.
He, however, said the party would be ready to listen to proposals if they were tabled formally by the proponents of political alliances as opposed to getting such proposals through the media.
He said the UPND believed unity within the opposition was vital to provide checks and balances to the PF Government, but that it would be important to discuss the merits and demerits of an alliance.
Mr Chibwe said the UPND had already made an undertaking to field candidates in all the by-elections, including the February polls in Katuba, Solwezi Central and Mkushi South.