Friday, September 07, 2007

MMD is the only viable party, says Gen Tembo

MMD is the only viable party, says Gen Tembo
By Patson Chilemba and Nomusa Michelo
Friday September 07, 2007 [04:01]

MMD is the only viable party, former Republican vice-president Lieutenant General Christon Tembo has said. And United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema has welcomed UK-based automotive aerospace expert Professor Clive Chirwa to the political arena, saying politics is a serious commitment. But UPND Copperbelt Province chairman Joe Kalusa described Prof Chirwa as a hypocrite.

Commenting on Prof Chirwa's decision to join the MMD, Lt Gen Tembo - who is also former opposition Forum for Democracy and Development president - said it was only logical for Prof Chirwa to join the MMD because of its sound policies and direction.

"As at now if you look at all the parties in the country, there are only two or so who are active who can give some sort of direction," Lt Gen Tembo said. "First is the MMD and then the Patriotic Front (PF). Others are as good as dead.

Now with the recent quarrels in PF, MMD is the only party which gives you some direction. Under the circumstances as on September 6, 2007, really you don't have much choice. As at now, the MMD is the only party that is viable with direction and it's only logical that he (Prof Chirwa) joins it."

Lt Gen Tembo said people were joining MMD not because they were job seekers but because it was the only viable party.

"If you look at future development, I would be in difficulty explaining what development these other parties may come up with," he said.

Lt Gen Tembo said Prof Chirwa was a citizen and had the right to associate himself with any party he deemed fit.

"As a citizen, he can contribute in any capacity or in politics. The new politicians can change the politics of insults," he said.

Asked if he had any intention of returning to active politics or rejoining the MMD, Lt Gen Tembo said rejoining politics required thorough consultations.

"It's not just a question of waking up one morning and say I want to join that party or this. You have to consult your family and those close to you. For the time being I will be farming, I like growing tomatoes. I haven't done any consultations," said Lt Gen Tembo.

And Hichilema said every citizen had a democratic right to belong to a party of his or her choice.

"It is good as long as one is able to commit to service and not doing it for personal gain," he said.

And in a separate interview, Kalusa said it was shocking that Prof Chirwa who only on Monday during a newsmakers' forum organised by the Press Freedom Committee of The Post was condemning the MMD's policies, was now citing the same policies as the reasons for his joining the party.

"This is a man we were together condemning government policies. I'm shocked to hear that Prof Chirwa has moved to join MMD especially that on Monday we were together in Broadway (Cinema) where we were listening to this man giving academic talk to see how Zambia can regenerate," Kalusa said.

"We are surprised that barely two days later, he has switched to join the MMD. Even after Mr Mutayachalo challenged him that the way he was talking was like a politician, he denied that he had no intentions of joining politics."

He said Prof Chirwa at the Ndola discussion stated that the various sectors such as agriculture, education, health and transport were dead. Kalusa wondered how Prof Chirwa could say the MMD government had good policies.

"He was even telling us that from the time he came, he has not seen a train because the rail system had collapse," Kalusa said. "He was even saying that the health system in this country has collapsed and today he says they have proper policies? Where do the morals of this man lie?"

And Kalusa said Prof Chirwa's move to join the MMD did not pose a threat to the UPND.

"As UPND we are not scared of this man, we will meet him in the battlefield. He's a hypocrite. He should have been bold enough to admit rather than say he is an academician," said Kalusa. "We know he is leaving to make some money. Let him make some money, we will meet him when he comes back. He is just like Nevers Mumba.

From word go, he has shown us how dishonest he is. We will meet him in the political arena. He was the one saying the people in government are mediocre, now he wants to work with the people he is calling mediocre."

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