Thursday, March 15, 2007

Shikapwasha explains his position on contesting MMD presidency

Shikapwasha explains his position on contesting MMD presidency
By Amos Malupenga
Thursday March 15, 2007 [02:00]

I will contest the MMD presidency only when the right time comes and if it is God's will, home affairs minister Lt Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha said yesterday. And a senior MMD official yesterday said it was regrettable that First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa was maliciously being linked to those aspiring for the MMD presidency when she has no such intentions.

Clarifying reports that he had dismissed intentions for State House, Lt Gen Shikapwasha said The Post journalist who interviewed him did not bring out the gist of his statement. "Firstly, I must state that as a man of God, I remain a vessel to be used by God in the future of this great country and as intended in God's own plans," Lt Gen Shikapwasha said. "When it is God's will to use me, I am available for his purpose."

Lt Gen Shikapwasha said he was asked by the journalist to comment on the information that he was one of those campaigning for the MMD presidency. "I told him that I was not campaigning and he further asked me whether I had intentions to start campaigning for the MMD presidency but I told him that I have no intentions of starting to campaign." he said. "I believe that this is the time to support President Mwanawasa wholeheartedly for him to accomplish his mandate successfully. Zambia has many challenges that require all of us together, as President Mwanawasa is providing quality leadership, to take the country to greater heights."

Lt Gen Shikapwasha said it was for this reason that he felt that campaigning for the MMD presidency was far too early and that doing so now would remove "our concentration from building a strong Zambia and a strong MMD". Lt Gen Shikapwasha said Zambians must continue to pray to God for him to give them a leader who would provide leadership to build on what President Mwanawasa has done and continued to do not only economically but to also improve Zambia in God's will as a Christian nation. "All our energies should be to support President Mwanawasa on his final term of office and hence I am not campaigning, I am not moving any machinery for campaigns," Lt Gen Shikapwasha said. "When God brings that time, all will come to know."

But in an interview last week on Tuesday, Lt Gen Shikapwasha said he had no intentions of contesting the MMD presidency. He refuted statements linking him to be among those desirous of taking over from President Mwanawasa as MMD president. When asked about it, Lt Gen Shikapwasha remarked: "What? No, no, I don't have those intentions. Ask the others who are being mentioned." And an MMD senior official said reports that first lady Maureen had intentions to contest the MMD presidency were part of the orchestrated campaign to disgrace her.

"We know that some people are afraid of their own shadows and want to fight and bring down the innocent First Lady for their own selfish reasons," the source said. "The truth is the first lady has no such intentions and people should not waste time fighting her because she is not a contender in the race for either the MMD or the Republican presidency."

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