Friday, September 19, 2008

Namugala lied on Rupiah's sugar donations - TIZ

Namugala lied on Rupiah's sugar donations - TIZ
By Lambwe Kachali
Friday September 19, 2008 [04:00]

TRANSPARENCY International Zambia (TIZ) executive director Goodwell Lungu yesterday charged that community development minister Catherine Namugala should be embarrassed for priding on lies. And Lungu has urged Vice-President Banda to be careful with ministers like Namugala because they had the potential to bring him down politically.

Commenting on revelations by The Post that Vice-President Banda indeed campaigned when he donated sugar and mealie-meal to Vulamukoko residents in Katete last week contrary to Namugala's position that he did not campaign but only performed an official government function, Lungu said it was extremely unfortunate that Zambia had dishonest ministers who could lie in broad daylight. Lungu said now that The Post had published Vice-President Banda's campaign speech delivered at a function that was non-political, it was necessary that the law took its course.

He said if Vice-President Banda was committed to the fight against corruption, he should publicly invite law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations against him. Lungu said it was now clear that Vice-President Banda used the donation to win political support from the people of Katete.

"Even when Namugala was refuting the media statement, we knew that she was telling lies because information had already reached us. People like Namugala have the capacity to mislead Acting President Banda to continue committing crime," Lungu said. "The giving of sugar and mealie-meal to those villagers was confirmed by himself the Acting President, Mr. Banda. This is why he has chosen to keep quiet on the matter."

And Lungu urged the government ministers to be honest when conducting national duties and not to tell lies. He said Namugala's tendency of twisting facts was dangerous to Zambia's democracy and should be condemned by all well-meaning Zambians.

"We would like to advise the Acting President Mr. Rupiah Banda that people surrounding him can do such things in order to embarrass him. So, he should be very cautious with them. Not everyone who supports or talks good of you is a friend. These are the same people who can tarnish his image and bring about his downfall," Lungu advised.

He said it was important for politicians to heed Attorney General Mumba Malila's advice to defer all donations until after elections.

On Tuesday, Namugala said the handover of food by Vice-President Banda in Katete was not a campaign gimmick but an ongoing arrangement to assist the vulnerable under the Social Cash Transfer Scheme.

Namugala was reacting to a picture published in the Sunday Post depicting Vice-President Banda distributing sugar and mealie-meal to women in Katete. She said government's programmes could not be stopped simply because of an election as people needed to eat and take their children to school.

Namugala accused The Post of giving negative publicity to a well-intended programme because the Vice-President was not on a campaign trail but was in Katete to perform an official function which was not political in nature.

But yesterday, The Post published a verbatim of Vice-President Banda's speech at Vulamukoko village, confirming that he was in fact campaigning in very plain language.

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