"One asks a question, where would an MP get resources to develop his constituency? Of course it is from the Government of the day. An MP must think development, talk development and dream development. It is with a heavy heart that today I have to announce my resignation as area MP and as a member of UPND”
(Source : Times of Zambia)
Howard Sikwela recently became the the first parliamentarian to abandon UPND in this parliament. But he is coming off the back of recent MMD defections - Steven Masumba and Gabriel Namulambe, who were MMD parliamentarians in Mufumbwe and Mpongwe constituencies, respectively. It looks like Catherine Namugala may join them - currently suspended.
But it's not the resignations that should concern us. This is expected under "belly politics" with poor ideological platforms and disorganised opposition parties. There's in fact a positive slant to this : PF experienced the same in opposition (when the rebels shifted their support to MMD) and it helped cleanse PF as a party. PF was left with a core group more clear and more determined about change. Resignations are part of a creative destruction process of renewing political parties.
What should concern us more is the foolish notion by Mr Sikwela of the "development parliamentarian". The idea that MPs are there to "deliver development" needs to be buried. It is not the role of an MP to bring economic development, since in a well functioning society such functions would be performed by an effective local government with appropriate support from central government. The MP's role is simply to ensure that the local preferences are fully reflected in national decisions and to represent his people in law making.