Monday, December 17, 2007

Mahtani gives MMD K101m

Mahtani gives MMD K101m
By Noel Sichalwe
Monday December 17, 2007 [10:21]

LUSAKA businessman Rajan Mahtani and a Chinese mining company, Zong Gu Mining, on Saturday pledged K212 million to the MMD during the party's fundraising dinner. And MMD spokesperson Benny Tetamashimba yesterday disclosed that the party raised over K1 billion in pledges and sale of tickets for the dinner. Meanwhile, President Mwanawasa has said he gets disappointed when MMD members criticise the fight against corruption and embrace those being pursued for corrupt activities.

During the MMD fundraising end-of-year dinner at Taj-Pamodzi Hotel, MMD national treasurer Suresh Desai invited pledges from everyone in attendance. In response, Mahtani pledged K101 million while Zong Gu Mining Limited pledged K111 million.

Other people and organisations that pledged were National Milling Corporations managing director Peter Cottan, K10 million, Zambezi Oil Trading Company, K10 million, Union Gold chairman Mark O'Donnell, K10 million, APG Milling K40 million and Saro Agri Equipment, K10 million.

Others included Suban Petroleum, K15 million, Shraz Limbada, K10 million, Wasawange Lodge and Lisulo Bwalya & Company, K10 million, Vice-President Rupiah Banda, K5 million, sports deputy minister Angela Cifire, K5 million, Auto World managing director Michael Pasquine, K10 million, finance deputy minister Jonas Shakafuswa, K5 million and The Health Journal, K1 million.

And Tetamashimba said a lot of people had bought the tickets that were pegged at K1 million for the dinner and that tables were full.
"There were too many people at the dinner and I think we had over 100 delegates," said Tetamashimba.

And delivering a keynote address, President Mwanawasa said it was disappointing that some MMD members did not embrace the fight against corruption. He said sometimes he felt disappointed by party members who aligned themselves with people being pursued for corrupt activities just because they might have been given some money.

"They want to embrace the corrupt and those who have stolen from them. Just because they have been given a K10,000 in their pocket, they start criticising or even withdraw support from those doing public good. People want leaders to be straight, be accountable and above moral reproach, to be the first to respect the law and to do good and not evil" President Mwanawasa said. "They expect politicians to hold the public trust with honour and enthusiasm. When that is done, the taxpayer will trust that leaders in politics can be custodians of his hard earned tax money for the general good.

"When people are suffering, we must feel affected. When injustice is inflicted on any person, it must hurt us. When glory is upon one of us in any field of competence, we must not pay back with envy and hatred but happiness and support. As politicians, we must know that politics which lacks compassion makes other achievements less pronounced."

President Mwanawasa also called for unity in the party. He said they could not afford to be divided over matters they could easily address and that MMD would not manage to meet the aspirations of people if they concentrated on issues that might not add value to people's lives.

"If there should be any difference amongst ourselves, it must be over issues that add value to the party and above all, our country Zambia," President Mwanawasa said. "There is no need for squabbles and divisions. Remember united we stand, divided we fall. We have achieved a lot from the time we came into power and this has earned the party a lot of respect and trust by the people. Let us strive to maintain the hard earned and prestigious status."

President Mwanawasa said he had heard many calls that the political environment had been negative and that there was need to rekindle the spirit of Zambia, love and compassion. He said this period being a Christmas season, people needed a good feeling Zambia.

"Let us speak forcefully with compassion but only with truth," President Mwanawasa said. "Let us account our action with honour. Let us respect fellow Zambians."

President Mwanawasa said a political party needed friends who laboured, earned a decent income and felt strongly about the need to support a political party which shared their ideologies. He said the MMD wanted to raise resources for the smooth operations of the party because no party could compete effectively in a multiparty political dispensation without a strong financial base.

"As MMD, regardless of the fact that we are a political party in power, have the principle that we will not at any point stretch our arm into government coffers for our operations," President Mwanawasa said. "We must work hard to raise our finances because we do not have the right to abuse public resources. Instead, we are there to ensure that public resources benefit the people they are intended for. We are the party in power and must therefore, lead by example."

President Mwanawasa said when he assumed office in 2001, he promised to rule by law rather than by men and that his promise was still alive. He said he wanted MMD to uphold its integrity and be accountable to the people. He said as a party in power, their challenges were greater than those in opposition political parties.

President Mwanawasa said people were looking up to the MMD for solutions to many challenges they were facing and that the party had the key to a better life of people.

He said there was no time to relax and watch citizens wallow in poverty, disease, despair, uncertainty and hopelessness.
"We must put people above our own selfish interests," he said.

President Mwanawasa said if the MMD had to remain relevant, members needed to understand that political parties were not personal to holder vehicles but institutions in public life accountable to the public. He further said he was aware that mistrust existed in society regarding the role of politics and political parties and this could even be justified by specific history.

He said in Zambia, the introduction of multiparty politics had not translated into a sudden positive embrace for politicians and political institutions.

"We must understand that politics is about leadership. When leaders drive people's emotions positively towards the range of enthusiasm, performance in society rises. If people are driven by leaders towards animosity and anxiety, the country would be thrown off stride," he said.
President Mwanawasa said as a party in power, they needed to create political resonance as opposed to spawning political tensions. He said Zambians expected leaders to respect each other.

Suresh Desai said the money raised would be used to pay off debts and meet operational expenses. Desai said Zambia has become an investment destination of choice and that the current state of good policies could succeed if there was public support.

Desai said many party members worked hard on a voluntary basis to keep the party going. He said the MMD wanted to maintain its dynamism in the country and that was why the party needed money to operate or else it might be overtaken by another party with better policies.



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