Thursday, April 12, 2007

Liar Mwaanga gets the boot

Liar Mwaanga gets the boot
By George Chellah and Speedwell Mupuchi
Thursday April 12, 2007 [02:00]

PRESIDENT Levy Mwa-nawasa yesterday said that former information minister Vernon Mwa-anga's handling of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) assignment was extremely irresponsible. According to a statement issued by President Mwana-wasa's special assistant for press and public relations, John Musukuma, the President stated that he had decided to relieve Mwaanga of his duties because it was certain that his handling of the DRC assignment made his position in Cabinet untenable.

"His Excellency the President, Mr. Levy Patrick Mwanawasa SC has relieved Honourable Vernon J. Mwaanga of his duties as Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, revoked his nomination as member of parliament and removed him as chief government spokesperson and Parliamentary Chief Whip with immediate effect," read Musukuma's statement in part.

President Mwanawasa has also revoked Mwaanga's nomination as member of the MMD national executive committee subject to ratification by the party's central organ.

According to Musukuma, President Mwanawasa, in a letter to Mwaanga dated April 11, 2007, reminded Mwaanga of his instructions for him to deliver a letter to DRC President Joseph Kabila.

"I refer to my recent instructions for you to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and see President Kabila to whom I gave you a letter to deliver expressing my concern on the closure of the border between Zambia and DRC at Kasumbalesa for trucks going to collect or bring copper concentrates from that country," President Mwanawasa's letter read in part.

"Initial reports coming from that country and reported in The Post indicated that your handling of this assignment was extremely irresponsible and substantially departed from my expectations on you as my special envoy. My fears were unfortunately confirmed when I received a DVD which recorded one of the at least two press conferences that you addressed while there."

President Mwanawasa told Mwaanga that his handling of the assignment made his position in Cabinet or in any public or party office in his administration untenable.

President Mwanawasa said Mwaanga's letter to him giving an account of his trip to the DRC was discussed during a meeting at State Lodge on April 8. President Mwanawasa wished Mwaanga all the best in his future endeavours.

And PF president Michael Sata said Mwaanga had dismissed himself.

"Oh my God! VJ has been fired?" Sata asked when contacted for comment. "But VJ has fired himself because of his carelessness. Anyway, that must serve as a warning for him to be much more careful next time especially that Levy is firing him for a second time. He must be careful and ensure that he doesn't eat with both hands next time. But I doubt if there will be a next time because this might be the end of him. Let him know that eating with both hands is not safe, he should either eat with the left hand or the right one, not both."

And Luapula PF member of parliament Peter Machungwa - who raised the point of order in Parliament about Mwaanga's statement in DRC - said it was unfortunate that Mwaanga had been fired.

"Nobody feels happy when somebody loses a job. However, the
decision was inevitable. When you travel as a special envoy of the President, as chief government spokesperson and as chief whip you carry a lot of weight in terms of statements," Machungwa said. "If you make statements in a foreign country and come and deny in your own country, what credibility is Zambia going to have internationally? VJ refused and gave a fabricated statement in Parliament. If a parliamentary chief whip can do a thing like that, where is the credibility of Parliament?"

Machungwa said President Mwanawasa's decision to dismiss Mwaanga had brought credibility to Parliament.
"We can't allow such a thing. I feel sorry for the former information minister but it was inevitable. Unfortunately, he has to go," he said.
Machungwa said there was more that needed to be known over the DRC trip.
"We shall just watch this very closely and see where it goes," he said.

And United Liberal Party president Sakwiba Sikota said President Mwanawasa had no option but to act against Mwaanga since no one could believe him as information minister and chief government spokesperson.

"President Mwanawasa had to act to restore the credibility of his government and that of the MMD," Sikota said. "To further restore the credibility of his government, it does not end with firing VJ, he (President Mwanawasa) now has to give Zambians full disclosure of the whole saga of Katumbi being owed, and who got us involved with Katumbi."

Sikota also said President Mwanawasa should tell Zambians the government's way forward on whether Katumbi would eventually appear in the Zambian courts and how they would handle diplomatic issues since Katumbi is a senior member of the Kabila government.

"He has to issue an honest statement on the issue. If Katumbi is owed, corruption is a two-way process, who on the Zambian side was involved?" Sikota asked.

He said everyone in government should learn to come out with the truth no matter how unpleasant it might be.

Mwaanga told journalists in the DRC that the Zambian government owed DRC Katanga Province governor Moses Katumbi US $7 million for the maize he supplied in 2001.

He later denied his statement, claiming that it was highly distorted. But video evidence confirmed what Mwaanga denied. The video further exposed Mwaanga as saying that the Zambian government did not consider Katumbi a criminal because it had nothing against him.

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At 11:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks levi,
for getting rid of this liar and long lasting government criminal, how long can a man lie through his teeth, and whilst we are at it whats the truth about the 7 million.
zambias money does not have wings it can just be flying at the rate it is.


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