Saturday, April 14, 2007
By Brighton Phiri
Saturday April 14, 2007 [04:00]
PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa is reaping what he sowed in Vernon Mwaanga, Heritage Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda has said. And Women for Change executive director Emily Sikazwe asked Zambians to follow up all the issues that had arisen from former information minister Mwaanga's visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Commenting on Mwaanga's dismissal as information minister, Brig Gen Miyanda said he sympathised with President Mwanawasa's predicament because the man (Mwaanga) he chose to be in his Cabinet and whom he entrusted to deliver his special message to the DRC President Joseph Kabila regarding border problems had revealed top secrets that had roots from the 2001 elections.
"But fired or not, Zambians still want to know what he was really sent to do in DRC and why him instead of Minister of Defence, commerce minister, director general of Zambia Intelligence Security Services or indeed one of his special assistants at State House?” Brig Gen Miyanda said.
“Mr Mwaanga was one of the prominent witnesses in the presidential petition of the 2001 presidential election and gave very strong evidence against President Mwanawasa. What made President Mwanawasa to invite him to join his Cabinet and not discard him like he did with Levison Mumba who gave strong evidence against him.”
He said there was no clear reason for President Mwanawasa to have continued using Mwaanga as a trusted member of his Cabinet. “President Mwanawasa is reaping what he had sown in Mr Mwaanga,” he said.
Brig Gen Miyanda said when the Supreme Court delivered its judgment in the presidential election petition in 2005, he predicted that although the case had been concluded in the Supreme Court, the matter would finally be determined in the people’s court.
“That hour has now come for the people’s court to examine the conduct of the 2001 elections. The truth of the use of public resources during the 2001 elections will never be buried,” he said. “I believe that Mr Mwaanga went to negotiate private settlement with Mr Katumbi. This is why there was a directive to him not to discuss the matter in public.”
Brig Gen Miyanda challenged President Mwanawasa to state categorically that there was no government contract on maize with the DRC Katanga Province governor Moses Katumbi or Chani Fisheries. He said everyone knows that Katumbi supplied maize to MMD which was used in the 2001 election campaigns.
“In spite of my views, I continue to believe that our nation needs healing. Such healing cannot or will not take place in the face of cover-ups if leaders continue to believe that Zambians are fools with no eye or ear and with such low intelligence, that it does not matter how many times leaders lie to them, they will accept their lies,” he said.
Brig Gen Miyanda said President Mwanawasa should not act as though he knew nothing of what transpired in the 2001 elections. He challenged the President to disclose the person who authorised the payment of billions of kwacha to Katumbi during his early years in office.
Brig Gen Miyanda urged President Mwanawasa to own up and admit that he knew what transpired in 2001 elections and seek forgiveness. “What I am saying has nothing to do with legal defences. I am simply saying some of us are tired of quarrelling in newspapers over this matter, which can be ended by an apology,” he said.
And Emily Sikazwe commended The Post and Zambians for putting up a gallant fight against Mwaanga’s double-dealings.
“We are also pleased to note that we have been vindicated as well as The Post for constantly saying that the fight against corruption is a people’s fight and not a fight championed by a few politicians. We know that our politicians are double dealers in many ways...this is why we should continue as a people to safeguard our resources which are jointly owned by all Zambians; those alive, those gone and before us and the unborn,” Sikazwe said. “We believe that many more issues have been revealed by the VJ-Katumbi saga. These too need to be followed up.”
She reminded Zambians that former vice-president Nevers Mumba got fired over the DRC.
“What is it that got our vice-president and now information minister fired?” she asked. “What is it about DRC that gets people fired? Is it about the dealings during the 2001 elections?”
Sikazwe asked Zambians to demand for the truth so that all those involved in the plunder of the country’s resources could be exposed.
“The struggle continues...we want to see more fired and issues followed just like those involved in the Vulture Fund scandal,” said Sikazwe.