Friday, September 19, 2008

Banda declares himself winner

Banda declares himself winner
By Chibaula Silwamba
Friday September 19, 2008 [04:00]

MMD presidential candidate Rupiah Banda yesterday declared that he will win the October 30 presidential election. And Vice-President Banda revealed that he has not assented to the bills seeking to increase salaries and allowances for constitutional office holders and will send them back to Parliament for re-consideration. Meanwhile, MMD national secretary Katele Kalumba declared that the party was battle-ready.

Launching his presidential campaign at Hotel Intercontinental in Lusaka, Vice-President Banda said it was his duty to continue the legacy of the late president Levy Mwanawasa.

"We have won this election come what may," Vice-President Banda declared. "Let the campaigns begin today. May I ask my colleagues to go out there and conquer. Conquer them all! On the 30th of October, think of the future. Vote for this man, Rupiah Bwezani Banda!"

He said as a chosen man of the late president Mwanawasa, it was his duty to continue the 2006 MMD manifesto and consolidate his president Mwanawasa legacy.

"That is the least that I can do to remember my friend and brother," he said. "So when the MMD NEC overwhelmingly endorsed me as party candidate, I was truly honoured and I thank them. But above all, I was chosen in order to win and win, I shall do so. I make this promise to my colleagues, party members and to the memory of Levy Mwanawasa, I will not fail you Mr president."

Vice-President Banda observed that the decision to endorse him as MMD candidate was based on his experience, knowledge and understanding.

"I have experience and knowledge of government at all levels; as member of parliament for many years, I have represented the needs and aspirations of all the people in my constituency at Munali here in Lusaka. I have been a foreign minister of this country, I have been an ambassador for Zambia in many countries including the United States of America and at the United Nations," Vice-President Banda said. "I have been Minister of Mines. I have been general manager of the National Agricultural Marketing Board and I have been chief executive officer of the Rural Development Agency of Zambia."

Vice-President Banda said he was also a farmer and a family man.

"I am a man of the land. I know what it is like when the rains are late and when a crop fails," Vice-President Banda said. "I am a proud husband and father I have eight children and like all families, we have had our ups and downs."

He, therefore, said he understood the needs of Zambians.

Vice-President Banda urged voters to look at his curriculum vitae (CV) and compare it with other presidential contenders'.

"Do not listen to what they may say; read with your own eyes what they have actually done in the past. Do not look at what they have done for themselves. Look at what they have done for Zambians," Vice-President Banda said. "Only when you know their true history, ask yourself, 'can this man lead Zambia?'"

He said he did not hide anything and was happy that voters would make up their minds on who to vote for.

"I know I have what it takes to fight for the expectations of Zambians. No matter which part of this country you come from, whatever business you are in or whichever faith you believe in, I will fight for what is best for all Zambians. My country comes first," said Vice-President Banda. "You have my word on that promise. During this election campaign, you will hear many promises, few of which will ever be delivered upon, that is not the case with the MMD."

He said the campaign must be fought on issues.
"...which comes on continuity on good governance and economic prosperity for all, it is a campaign which we will win because for the sake of Zambia's future, we have to win," Vice-President Banda said.

He pledged to continue the fight against corruption, which late president Mwanawasa started in 2002.

"Let us not return to the path of corruption and economic incompetence and personal greedy. Now is time for honest and genuine leadership," he said.

Vice-President Banda also said the MMD's good economic policies had gained the country good reputation.

"On Thursday, 30th October, the MMD will win because of our track record since 2001," Vice-President Banda said. "Over the past seven years, this government has worked hard to get our economy moving and we have been successful. Our economic policies have been praised by international organisations including the World Bank and many of our cooperating partners in the most developed countries of the world."

He said unlike other political parties, the MMD welcomed foreign investors to Zambia.

"We welcome all foreign investors as long as they obey the laws and regulations of our country, particularly those protecting our people and our environment," Vice-President Banda said. "This investment is the engine which will make our industrial and agricultural sectors more productive and more jobs and better wages."

He, however, observed that there were still many Zambians who were poor, therefore, there would be need to improve their living standards.

"We must continue with policies that will deliver prosperity," he said.
And Vice-President Banda said he had not assented to the bill seeking to increase the salaries and allowances for constitutional office holders and would send it back to Parliament for reconsideration.

"Let me assure you that I have listened to the concerns of the Zambian people. On that note, as you know I have still not signed the legislation concerning the salary pay raise of constitutional office holders. I will ask my colleagues to look at the legislation once again. I will be sending this legislation back to Parliament for re-consideration," said Vice-President Banda amid applause of the MMD cadres.
Vice-President Banda also assured former first lady Maureen that Zambians and the MMD would be on her side.

"I also pay tribute to the former first lady, she has borne her grief with dignity and honour. Her grief is not yet over but I assure her that we the Zambian people, particularly in the MMD, stand ready to come to her side at anytime," Vice-President Banda said.

Vice-President Banda also praised the late president Mwanawasa.
"Zambia recently lost one of our true sons, our own leader, our own father, our brother and my colleague. President Levy Mwanawasa was a man of inspiration in these difficult times, Zambia has been cruelly robbed of a fine man," Vice-President Banda said. "He was a man of vision; the Zambian people believed in him and returned him to office in 2006."

Vice-President Banda said the late president was a man of integrity who was not afraid to speak the truth even when others remained silent.

"His goal was to increase prosperity for all Zambians. Under his leadership, he once again made Zambia into a beacon of democracy, of truth, of transparency and of economic opportunity for all," Vice-President Banda said. " In losing our good friend and our dear brother and dear leader, we have all suffered greatly."

He paid tribute to Zambians for mourning president Mwanawasa in a noble manner.

Vice-President Banda thanked other MMD members that contested the MMD presidency.

"It could easily have been a divisive process as many hoped but instead it made us stronger, it made us more popular, made the whole world know that the MMD is a democratic party," Vice-President Banda said.

Among losing presidential candidates for the MMD who were present were finance minister Ng'andu Magande, former Republican vice-president Enoch Kavindele, Dr Ludwig Sondashi and home affairs minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha.

Before the launch started, Vice-President Banda asked Magande, Lt Gen Shikapwasha, Kavindele and Dr Sondashi to stand up and wave to the party members. The quartet stood up, waved at the members and shook hands with Vice-President Banda.

Meanwhile, Kalumba told Vice-President Banda that the MMD was battle ready to ensure that he won the election. He said the MMD would conduct clean and fair campaigns.

"We will make sure no one contests the elections when we win," said Kalumba.

Earlier, MMD chairman Michael Mabenga urged all party members to vigorously campaign for Vice-President Banda.

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