Friday, June 15, 2007
By Noel Sichalwe
Friday June 15, 2007 [04:00]
SOME prominent personalities from Western Province have resolved that it is time for a Lozi person to become Republican President. According to the minutes of the Western Province consultative meeting held on March 4 2007, the chairman Siyoto Kunyanda stated that the meeting was convened to discuss among other things unity amongst people of Western Province and a roadmap for the identification of a credible candidate with the capacity to mobilise resources to float for the position of president of MMD and ultimately Republican President.
According to the minutes of the meeting, the participants during the deliberations agreed that there was need to cultivate unity amongst the people of Western Province so that they could work together and support each other.
The participants further recognised that the people of Western Province made significant contributions to the struggle for independence in the pre-1964 period, the fight for reintroduction of plural politics that ushered the MMD into power in 1991 and that they had continued to support the MMD government over the past 16 years.
“Thus resolved that having supported Presidents Dr. K.D Kaunda, Dr. F.J.T Chiluba and HE. L.P Mwanawasa SC, respectively, it was now opportune for a president from Western Province,” the minutes stated.
“Therefore, appointed an ad hoc sub-committee to draft a clearly defined roadmap for the accomplishment of this cause and the under listed were appointed as members: Mr. W. Lisulo, Mr. A. Luhila, Dr. M.W. Lewanika, Mrs. M. Zaloumis, Mr. M. Wakumelo, Mrs. N. Mutti and Mr. M. Mutukwa.”
The adhoc committee would consider the proposed roadmap that would include the mission and/or vision, objectives, strategy and/or methodology and monitoring and review mechanism.
The participants further agreed that the proposed roadmap was supposed to be considered by the full committee at the date to be proposed by the adhoc committee.
They further resolved to consult widely while at the same time maintaining trust and confidentiality and that people with useful information should pass it on to the adhoc committee.
The meeting also observed the need to be practical and open with President Mwanawasa, recognise the past and present leadership and interest groups like the Barotse Royal Establishment, churches and professional groupings.
They further promised to urge people that were not members of MMD to consider joining the party.
According to the minutes obtained by The Post, among the people that attended the meeting were Kunyanda (chairman), Michael Mabenga, W. Lisulo, A.C Luhila, M. Kaingu, labour deputy minister Austin Liato, education minister Geoffrey Lungwangwa, M. Kaingu, C.L Milupi, M. Mwangala, R.S Mwapela, H.L Imasiku, D.N Mbangu, L. Mwiyakui, F.N Mulonda, C.A Mulonda, S. Simwinji, M. Likukela and M. Akakandelwa.
Others were N.B.K Mutti, Dr. M.W Lewanika, M. Wakumelo, M. Zaloumis, J. Songolo, F. Liboma, F. Luhila, G. Mununka, S. Mukwalikuli, S.M Kalaluka, Lioko Mbaimbai and M. Mutukwa.
And Kunyanda who chaired the meeting confirmed in an interview yesterday that some people from Western Province had a meeting but that the purpose of the meeting was not merely to consider the candidate to float for the MMD presidency.
He said what was important was to identify a leader who could rule the entire country and not specifically focusing on the province.
He said the meeting dealt with issues of unity among people from Western Province and how best they could develop the area.
Kunyanda said when considering people to float for the MMD presidency, they were not only looking at Western Province but that people from other provinces were also trying to identify possible candidates.
“If there is a credible candidate from other provinces who will be floated for the MMD presidency, we will support that one and if that candidate will come from Western Province, we will support that person,” he said.
“At the next meeting, we will not discuss the issue of MMD presidency because the President has banned discussing the party presidency.”
But Mbaimbai confirmed that the meeting discussed the issue of the MMD presidency. He said after President Mwanawasa banned campaigning for the MMD presidency, the next meeting seemed unlikely.
“Whether he will lift or not, I don’t know,” he said. “It’s normal to identify a candidate. You can’t live in a society where you can’t know who is supposed to be a leader. At least you need to identify who can be a leader. So far we haven’t spotted anyone and even those who were interested seem to be dragging their feet. This is not new because it happened when we started UNIP in Matero and Chilenje and that is how we came up with KK.”
Nellie Mutti confirmed attending the meeting but that they met as members from Western Province not from any political party.
Mutti said she was out of the country for some time and did not know if there was any development after the last meeting.
Another participant Lisulo confirmed attending the meeting but said they were discussing family issues.
Lisulo said the discussion focused on development issues and fostering unity in the province.
Alexis Luhila confirmed the meeting of people from Western Province in trying to promote peace.
Luhila said during the meeting, some people tried to push the issue of identifying somebody to float for the MMD presidency but that people were not ready to discuss it.
Austin Liato said he has had several meetings to discuss unity and development in the area but could not remember attending where they discussed the MMD presidency.
Mwiyakui said she attended a meeting where they were discussing unity in the province.
However, Mwiyakui said she was not engaged in politics and she had nothing to do with politics.
Wakumelo referred all queries to Kunyanda who chaired the meeting.
MMD chairman Michael Mabenga who also confirmed attending the meeting said there were various people that participated in the meeting and not necessarily from the MMD.
Mabenga said they were discussing matters of development and that somebody tried to push an issue of the MMD presidency but he personally objected to the agenda item.
He said it could not have been right to discuss the MMD presidency because there were people from UNIP and Forum for Development and Democracy (FDD) that attended the meeting.
“You see, we were trying to see how we can receive development projects as a province,” he said. “We said people must be able to work together to receive this development. Somebody pushed on the agenda, the issue of the MMD presidency but I said that was a wrong item because there were people from different parties like UNIP and FDD. I was very categorical and said let us not discuss things that will divide us.”
However, Mabenga said the MMD presidency was not an agenda item and that there was no ad-hoc sub committee to come up with the roadmap on how to achieve the agenda items that included the identification of a Lozi candidate for the MMD presidency.