Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lupando could have probably succeeded me - Levy

Lupando could have probably succeeded me - Levy
By Amos Malupenga
Sunday October 21, 2007 [00:00]

President Levy Mwanawasa has said former vice-president Lupando Mwape could have probably succeeded him had the people of Northern Province voted for him as member of parliament in last year’s elections.

And President Mwanawasa said MMD would support the 50 plus 1 per cent proposal by the Mung’omba Constitution Review Commission for a popularly elected president as well as the 30 per cent of women’s representation in decision-making positions.

Addressing Kasama MMD officials in a closed-door meeting on Friday, President Mwanawasa said he was consulting with all lower organs of the party for him to understand better what kind of a leader they would want for his successor. He was addressing provincial, district and constituency officials.

President Mwanawasa paid glowing tribute to Lupando Mwape whom he said was a committed, hardworking and humble leader. He said he was disappointed that the people of Northern Province decided not to retain Mwape even after he appointed him Republican vice-president and did a lot of work for the country.

President Mwanawasa blamed some MMD officials whom he said undermined Mwape’s campaign and therefore caused him to lose.

He said had Mwape won parliamentary elections, he was going to re-appoint him Republican vice-president “and probably hand over power to him”.

And in their response to President Mwanawasa’s request for them to state their preferred qualities and calibre of his successor, the MMD officials encouraged President Mwanawasa not to settle for a corrupt leader but one who would continue his anti-corruption crusade.

They said President Mwanawasa’s successor should be a God-fearing man, committed to the people of Zambia and gender sensitive. They also said President Mwanawasa’s successor should not be tribal or a regionally based leader.

Some provincial officials urged President Mwanawasa to identify his successor because he knew all his leaders better. The official said this was important for President Mwanawasa to do because some corrupt MMD leaders could manipulate cadres with money in exchange for support.

The official said this had happened before, especially at MMD conventions, where some corrupt leaders used money to corrupt leaders for support. The official said this was a real danger for President Mwanawasa to guard against.

And President Mwanawasa asked the cadres to reflect over his proposal not to stay a day longer in his position as party president after his successor is elected as Republican President.

He said he would prefer to hand over the party presidency almost at the same time as his successor is being sworn in so that the successor could have both political and state power. President Mwanawasa said this would be necessary so that his successor did not feel undermined.

And President Mwanawasa said MMD would support the 50 plus 1 per cent proposal by the Mung’omba Constitution Review Commission for a popularly elected president as well as the 30 per cent of women’s representation in decision-making positions.

He wondered why the Non-Governmental Organisation Co-ordinating Committee (NGOCC) had decided to stay away from the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) where they were expected to push for the cause of women. He said by staying away, NGOCC would not help the cause of women in Zambia.

President Mwanawasa also said he was disappointed with the confrontational stance by the Catholic Church in the constitution-making process, particularly with Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu considering that almost all their demands were met by the government.

President Mwanawasa said his government had in particular agreed that he would not choose NCC members and that he would not even choose NCC chairman and vice-chairman. He said the government agreed to do this even when ordinarily as Republican President, he would have been allowed to choose the chairman.

President Mwanawasa said that was why he was surprised and disappointed that even with all this give and take on the part of government, the Catholics had continued to claim that he had too much power just because of one clause in the NCC Act that empowers him to dissolve the NCC when it fails to perform its functions in accordance with the Act.

President Mwanawasa wondered why this should be an issue considering the fact that the Republican Constitution gives him overall executive powers over the Republic of Zambia and that all ministers acted on his behalf.

He said the Constitution also gives him power to dissolve even the National Assembly if it fails to discharge functions. He said he also had powers to call for a state of emergency when the country becomes ungovernable but he has never used all these powers before.

President Mwanawasa said he was convinced that all the arguments against the NCC by the Catholics and others were a deliberate ploy to undermine his government. He said it was politics at play and hatred driving all those opposed to NCC.

President Mwanawasa regretted that many MMD members were Catholics and yet there were these misunderstandings on the constitution-making process. He hoped that those Catholics in MMD and government would find time to explain to their Church leaders the government’s correct position on the matter.

President Mwanawasa said it was his desire as a leader to leave Zambians with a good constitution that will stand the test of time.

Meanwhile, President Mwanawasa directed works and supply minister Kapembwa Simbao not only to terminate contracts for road contractors whose works were shoddy but also to report them to the police. He said he had received disturbing reports that some contractors got money in advance but did shoddy or no work at all.

President Mwanawasa said he was equally disappointed to learn that local contractors were the most culprits in doing shoddy work. He said this was disappointing because government was eager to empower and support local contractors.

And President Mwanawasa directed all cadres to work with their members of parliament in implementing government policies. He said MPs were making a monthly contribution of about K400,000 and K600,000 towards the running of the party.

He said this was a good contribution and cadres should not expect MPs to be dishing out money to them as individuals because they did not have money to dish out. He said this is why MPs sometimes avoided visiting constituencies because they were always asked to dish out money.

And President Mwanawasa reiterated that he would never allow government money to be used for party operations because it was wrong to do so. He urged the party to get involved in fundraising activities but warned that he would not involve himself in such activities if they lacked accountability.


APOLOGY:
In our lead story yesterday under the headline ‘Levy hints at successor’, we inadvertently misinterpreted President Mwanawasa’s statement that the one to succeed him should have farms like him. It has come to our attention that the Bemba word (Ifibala) used by the President, actually means spots or scars and not farms as stated in our story. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused by this misinterpretation.

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3 Comments:

At 3:42 PM , Blogger Cho said...

"APOLOGY:
In our lead story yesterday under the headline ‘Levy hints at successor’, we inadvertently misinterpreted President Mwanawasa’s statement that the one to succeed him should have farms like him. It has come to our attention that the Bemba word (Ifibala) used by the President, actually means spots or scars and not farms as stated in our story. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused by this misinterpretation."


The Post are a complete shambles!

But what does this mean? Who in MMD has scars?

I'll do a blog on the issue of handing over power tomorrow.

 
At 5:03 PM , Blogger MrK said...

Cho,

I don't think this is such a bad screwup. Plus, they printed a retraction/clarification in no time.

I would say The Post is pretty good. Certainly the best newspaper out there.

 
At 7:33 PM , Blogger Cho said...

Mrk,

In terms of quality - here is my take:

Best Website: The Post
Best Coverage: Daily Mail - such good stories!
Best Editorial: The Times - very well researched. Compare that to the post which just rants.

By the way, I think the Post is just as dangerous to press freedom as the Times and other state owned papers.

See my exchange with Nkhula21 on "Zambia's corruption...whose to blame?"

 

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