Monday, September 22, 2008
By Patson Chilemba in Lusaka and Zumani Katasefa in Mufulira
Monday September 22, 2008 [04:00]
OPPOSITION UPND president Hakainde Hichilema yesterday said Vice-President Rupiah Banda is inconsistent and should not be trusted with the affairs of the nation. And some Mufulira residents on Saturday greeted Hichilema, who went to address a campaign rally at Shinde ground, with Patriotic Front (PF) slogans.
Commenting on Vice-President Banda's statement that he joined MMD in 2002, contrary to the interview he gave to The Post in 2003 that he was a Unipist, Hichilema said it would be risky for the country to elect Vice-President Banda because he was inconsistent.
He said Vice-President Banda could carry the same inconsistency into government.
"I'm saying that that clearly shows that the man is inconsistent. If the facts Post interview with Vice-President Banda are true, which I believe they are, then it shows he's confused because he's finding it difficult to justify his current position. Probably he does not even understand the MMD manifesto," Hichilema said. "It clearly shows that Rupiah Banda has memory lapses."
On Saturday, Vice-President Banda said he is no longer a member of UNIP because he joined MMD in 2002.
But in a profile interview with former Post editor Webster Malido which was published in the Sunday Post on December 7, 2003, Vice-President Banda said he was a Unipist and could not join any other party at his age.
Hichilema further charged that Vice-President Banda was leading the pack in breaking the laws of the country through his desperate last minute attempts such as the distribution of sugar and announcements to reduce fuel prices.
"Obviously, your depicting him as a ‘sugar daddy’ is right. It shows that he won't carry on with the fight against corruption. Zambia is risking the anti-corruption fight if it picks Rupiah Banda. Rupiah has demonstrated corruption already," Hichilema said.
On PF president Michael Sata's statement that "under-five" politicians should not be trusted with running the affairs of the nation because they wanted to get rich quickly, Hichilema said Sata was jealous.
He urged Sata to appreciate the good privatisation work he Hichilema did.
Hichilema said Sata should retire because he has no manners.
On Vice-President Banda's decision to refer the emoluments bill seeking to increase salaries for constitutional office holders and senior government officials back to Parliament, Hichilema challenged Vice-President Banda to state whether he was for or against the allowances.
And in Mufulira, the residents shouted the PF slogans as the UPND presidential entourage drove through the town centre to the rally ground.
The residents, mostly youths shouted: amaka! (meaning power) while raising the fist - a PF symbol.
The youths were also shouting that Mufulira was a stronghold for PF and that UPND was just wasting its time and resources to even campaign in the area.
However, at Kamuchanga shopping centre, scores of residents gave Hichilema a thunderous welcome as some callboys shouted tulyemo! (meaning, “can we have a share”).
Hichilema took time shaking hands with the residents, some of whom said they were happy to see the opposition leader for the first time.
One of the residents, Pamela Kasonde, said Hichilema looked serious and honest, adding that he could make a good president for Zambia if given chance.
"I think to me, HH could be a better president for Zambia . This is my first time to meet him. He looks honest and approachable, I think Zambians should try him," said Kasonde.
And at all rallies he addressed in Kitwe and Mufulira, Hichilema urged people to vote for him as he was the best candidate in the forthcoming presidential by-elections.
And Hichilema, in an interview later, complained that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) had failed to deal with Vice-President Banda for vote-buying in Eastern Province where he was reportedly distributing sugar and mealie-meal to the people.
He said the UPND would not tolerate electoral malpractice and warned that their members would effect citizens' arrest on anyone found engaging in any form of electoral malpractice.