Monday, September 01, 2008

Maureen is right on Levy's preference - Sayifwanda

Maureen is right on Levy's preference - Sayifwanda
By Joan Chirwa and Mwala Kalaluka
Monday September 01, 2008 [04:00]

AGRICULTURE minister Sara Sayifwanda yesterday said first lady Maureen had rightly stated that President Levy Mwanawasa preferred finance minister Ng'andu Magande for a successor. And lands minister Bradford Machila said Maureen's revelation that her late husband preferred Magande as his successor was an opportunity for ministers that want to twist facts to honestly state what they know.

Meanwhile, a member of MMD's national executive committee (NEC) Japhet Mwakalombe said he will defend President Mwanawasa's wish while those who wanted to betray him were also free to do so.

And defence deputy minister Elijah Muchima yesterday said one of the MMD presidential candidates has booked some MMD members at Lusaka's Chrismar Hotel and paid them an initial K2 million with K16 million to be paid to each member after giving him victory this Friday.

Commenting on Maureen's revelations that President Mwanawasa had settled for Magande as his potential successor among two other ministers, Sayifwanda said the first lady had explained the matter clearly.

"She has explained clearly and I can't make a comment further," Sayifwanda said.

Maureen said yesterday that information that President Mwanawasa preferred Magande for a successor and a few ministers were aware about it.

And Machila said Maureen's sentiments effectively collaborated with what he said earlier that there were some ministers that the President had talked to on his preferred successor and yet they had opted to remain quiet.

"The first lady's statement clearly highlights that and I have no doubt that those ministers who are aware will not try and embellish the truth, as to try and basically deny that this is a fact," Machila said.

But Vice-President Rupiah Banda's campaign team manager Mbita Chitala pleaded that those campaigning for the MMD presidency should wait until Zambians had finished mourning President Mwanawasa.

"I think for me, it is difficult to make a comment on the President's widow's comment," Chitala said. "But the sentiments were said at a very wrong time by a wrong person and the whole nation is mourning. We should respect our culture as Africans."

Chitala said it would be unfair for anybody to place the NEC under duress as they decide who the party would float in the forthcoming presidential by-election.

Local government and housing deputy minister Benny Tetamashimba, who is Vice-President Banda's campaign manager in the presidential race, said he would comment on the issue of succession after the President is buried.

Tetamashimba said he had noted that Maureen had chosen to speak out openly on the issue of succession when the nation was still mourning her husband but that his team would wait until after the President’s burial before they could make any comment on the matter.

When pressed to comment further, Tetamashimba said the comprehensive statement that would be issued a day after President Mwanawasa's burial would answer all the questions raised.

However, Tetamashimba started the succession debate on August 20, a day after President Mwanawasa died, when he featured on Radio QFM where he said it would be a mistake for the MMD not to pick Vice-President Banda as MMD presidential candidate.

Tetamashimba's call was later supported by Chitala and veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga who have since featured on radio and television on several occasions.
Last week, Tetamashimba reinforced his statement and declared that he was campaign manager for Vice-President Banda.

And Machila said whether Maureen's statement was made before or after the burial, its factuality would not be diluted.

"Whether it was stated before or after the burial, it will still remain the same," Machila said. "Anyway, this discussion follows some interviews that Tetamashimba had on QFM. If you look at the genesis of all this discussion, you can trace it to that.

The timing may be inappropriate or unfortunate but the fact still remains that the President had talked to some people about his preferred candidate and it is them who started this succession discussion, so they can't turn around and say they are now mourning when they started this talk before burial."

And finance deputy minister Jonas Shakafuswa, who has backed Magande in the presidential race, said some ministers were trying to be economical with the truth on President Mwanawasa's preferred successor because they were only interested in protecting their jobs, seeing that the President was gone.

"I have no further comment, the people of Zambia should be the ones to comment. We were just trying to say what the President wanted. We know what we shared with the President," Shakafuswa said.

"I am not looking for a job. My conscience is very clear because I am saying the things the way they were then...for me I will not forget President Mwanawasa and that is why I would rather say the truth."

And NEC member Japhet Mwakalombe said he would at all cost support the candidature of Magande to fulfill President Mwanawasa's wish. He said he was quiet because he was waiting for a clear position on the matter which Maureen has now clarified.

Mwakalombe said MMD wanted to continue President Mwanawasa's legacy by improving the economy and therefore needed to elect an economic manager as President Mwanawasa's successor.

"Those who want to disregard the President's wish are free to do that but in doing so, they will be betraying the man they claimed to support and be loyal to," Mwakalombe said. "Clearly, a lot of people and ministers have betrayed Mwanawasa even before he is buried.

But this is a lesson to the Vice-President that he will also be betrayed in the same way Mwanawasa has been betrayed by the people singing praises for him now. As for me, I will remain loyal to Mwanawasa. If it means Magande receiving one vote in NEC, I will give it to him because loyalty to individuals is important. The job and favour-seekers are free to betray Mwanawasa the way they have done. Let them get those jobs and favours."

And Mwinilunga West MMD member of parliament Elijah Muchima said there were a lot of dirty politics going on in MMD where members were forced to endorse Vice-President Banda's candidature.

Muchima, who is also defence deputy minister, said most members were forced to rally behind Vice-President Banda as they were threatened with expulsions from the MMD. He said party members in North-Western Province were not given a chance to collectively decide on who should be the MMD presidential candidate in the forthcoming by-election.

Muchima also urged MMD members to reject corruption because it was President Mwanawasa's enemy number one.
"We know that some people within MMD have been camped at Chrismar Hotel and they are being paid K2 million each and have been promised K16 million each if they win," Muchima said.

"We don't need corruption. I think the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) should move in and investigate what is going on in the MMD. In my view, the democratic process should be undertaken when choosing the candidate to stand in the by-election.

We don't need a government full of corruption because that is what President Mwanawasa fought against. We need a government which is corrupt free. Otherwise, what is happening in the MMD now is dirty."

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2 Comments:

At 12:08 PM , Anonymous mukupa said...

so is this from the state owned paper which has also been anoited by the family tree, please give us a break.(THE POST)
as fed up as i was of reading about zim on this blog now i think MR K may have had a point so this darling of the west never even got a second on the so called western media during the funeral can you imagine if it was mugabe who died.
do we have a choice on our peril over the so called zambia.
I dont care what comes as long as its not a mornach zambia will go on weve been ok even when we all knew the man was long dead.

 
At 7:31 PM , Blogger MrK said...

Hi Mukupa,

I'm glad you're reading this blog.

It is true that the western press paid virtually no attention to Levy Mwanawasa's funeral.

I think it has to be remembered that the attention paid to Zimbabwe has to do with western economic interests. They use dead white farmers to whip up antipathy to Zimbabwe, but the money comes from the likes of LonRho, Anglo-American and the US State Department.

They want to get hold of Zimbabwe's part of the Rift Valley and it's mineral riches before the Chinese do.

Otherwise, you would hear as much about Zimbabwe as you hear about the dead white farmers in South Africa.

But for SADC and Africa it is very important that we do not allow any single country to be picked off at the whim of this or that western policy. Which is why Zimbabwe is so important, and why it is so important that their land reform is seen to be highly successful.

Cheers.

 

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