Sunday, December 16, 2007
By Brighton Phiri and Amos Malupenga
Sunday December 16, 2007 [03:00]
MMD aspiring presidential candidate Professor Clive Chirwa recently held separate private talks with opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema and Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata. Hichilema confirmed meeting with Prof Chirwa at his Kabulonga residence to forge partnership in preparation for the 2011 presidential and general elections. Sata could neither deny nor confirm meeting with Prof Chirwa. "I am yet to meet Prof Chirwa," Sata said.
Hichilema defended his meeting with Prof Chirwa, saying there was nothing sinister about it as it was his party's policy to meet anybody. However, Hichilema declined to discuss the details of his private talks with Prof Chirwa.
"Yes, we met here. Prof Chirwa was here to say hello. And I met him because as a party we have an open door policy," Hichilema said. "We will meet anybody who is interested in meeting us."
According to Hichilema, his private talks with Prof Chirwa were held about three weeks ago when the latter was in the country to drum up support for his bid to contest the MMD presidential seat and later the Republican presidency.
According to sources close to both Prof Chirwa and Hichilema, the two agreed to support either of them who would scoop the 2011 presidential election.
"They noted that it was time for the new generation to take over leadership and agreed that whoever wins the 2011 presidential election should work with the other," said the source.
Prof Chirwa has declared his intention to contest the MMD presidency before going for the Republican presidency.
Hichilema said it was not strange for him to meet anyone from either the ruling MMD or opposition PF.
"We mingle with a lot of people. Just last week, I was on a minibus trips within Lusaka to meet our people and hear from them what sort of things do they want their government to do for them," Hichilema said.
He said the country was in urgent need of solutions to the problems facing its people, hence his intensified consultations with Zambians. Hichilema said the country required an economic manager to retrieve it from its current economic and social crisis.
"We seriously need an economic manager. We don't need stone throwing leadership. We had leaders who led us into independence and those who brought about multiparty system, but it is time for us to seek the services of an economic manager," Hichilema said.
"We need to move speedily to ensure that many Zambians contribute to the wellbeing of our people. These are some of the things occupying our minds as UPND."
Hichilema said it was retrogressive and counterproductive for the country to focus on ethnicity.
"You can't eat your tribe. We must focus on Zambia as our country. We must ask ourselves...what is it that we can do together to improve the lives of our people?" he said. "We must provide the best team to deliver for our people. Time has come to lift the lives of our people."