Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rupiah wants to eat with both hands - Sata

Rupiah wants to eat with both hands - Sata
By Lambwe Kachali and Patson Chilemba in Kafue and Mutuna Chand
Saturday September 13, 2008 [04:00]

RUPIAH wants to eat with both hands, Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata has charged. And PF spokesperson Given Lubinda observed that president Levy Mwanawasa's legacy was buried with him at Embassy Park.

During a mammoth rally at Zambia Compound in Kafue on Thursday, Sata said it was sad that Vice-President Rupiah Banda would contest elections on the MMD ticket when he had not officially resigned from UNIP.

Sata said most Zambians did not know Vice-President Banda before he was appointed by the late president Mwanawasa and therefore it would be scandalous for the country to elect him.

He said he had earlier challenged Vice-President Banda to publicly tell the nation when he officially resigned from UNIP, saying as far as Zambians were concerned he was still carrying UNIP blood.

"Rupiah wants to eat with both hands. He has one leg in UNIP and now wants to put the other in MMD. Rupiah ate alone in UNIP without regard for poor majority Zambians. And now that Levy appointed him as his Vice and that Levy is no more, Rupiah wants to take advantage of that to eat in MMD again," Sata said.

Below is an excerpt from a profile interview former Post news editor Webster Malido conducted with Rupiah Banda in 2003. "Question: Where do you stand in terms of politics at the moment?

Answer: I am really a UNIPIST, what people call UNIPIST. So it's very difficult for me perhaps at my age to join another political party... Q: And your views about the previous government?

A: The previous government? I went to prison under the previous government (Chiluba government). I was one of the Zero Option people and up to now my case is not over yet. We won the case in the lower court and the government appealed and the same government did not go to defend the case. They have been staying away and the case is taking nearly seven years to sort out.

Q: So where do you place the previous government in terms of performance? A: You know as an active UNIPIST, you know we tried our best but you know let us also add something positive. They brought pluralism at great risk to themselves.

Q: What do you mean at great risk to themselves? A: It was not easy to tackle UNIP at that time. We were very strong that time, we were very categorical; if you opposed us, we normally dealt with you. It paid to belong to UNIP. But they brought pluralism, they brought press freedom and opened up he country to new investment.

In 1991 the economy was almost on its knees but they brought in new investments. And the credit must go to the MMD."

And Sata, during the Kafue rally on Thursday, said mockingly that Vice-President Banda had the fortune of being given leadership positions on a silver plate when others worked hard to attain positions.

He said even his presidential candidature for the MMD was given to him on a silver plate. Sata said Vice-President Banda had no interest in serving Zambians because he was a failure by nature.

"The evidence is there. He failed in UNIP. That's why he packed himself at the farm to shield his failures," Sata said. "Thank God for allowing Levy to poach him from the farm because Zambians have now known who this Rupiah is, with his failures."

Sata said he had a proven track record as opposed to Vice-President Banda. "Rupiah Banda was MP in Munali for 10 years, me I was councilor in Bauleni. I built a school and a hospital. Rupiah Banda went away with a big tummy," he said.

Sata said Zambians should not be cheated into thinking that Vice-President Banda would continue with president Mwanawasa's legacy because the two were different in principles and vision for the country. He further said that Vice-President Banda had never said anything on how the government would keep former first lady Maureen Mwanawasa and her family.

"What he is focused on is eating well and growing his cheeks. President Mwanawasa and the family are Zambia's property but no one is talking about looking after the orphans," Sata said.

He also said that MMD kept on attacking him on his age but questioned the initiative behind their adoption of Vice-President Banda.

"When they brought NCC National Constitutional Conference, they said I am old but they brought Rupiah Banda who is three years older than me. In the eyes of MMD, that is young age," Sata said.

He also bemoaned the deplorable state of Kafue and Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ).

And Sata indicated that the proposed electoral pact between PF and UPND might not materialise. He said he will contest the presidency just as UPND president Hakainde Hichilema would do. He said PF and UPND were different political parties with different symbols.

And Given Lubinda said Vice-President Banda and those surrounding him could not match the standing of late president Mwanawasa.
"The legacy of Levy was buried at Embassy Park because Rupiah and the people surrounding him are not even capable of passing the first phase," said Lubinda.

PF vice-president Dr Guy Scott urged Kafue residents to correct the mistakes of MMD by voting for PF. He said government would try to distribute fertiliser on time and try to lower fuel prices but that people should not be deceived by such temporal arrangements.

He said immediately after the elections, prices of goods would sky rocket again.

"So don't be fooled we beg you please," said Dr Scott. PF national chairman Chitalu Sampa said the lies of MMD were too many such that there was no room left to accommodate them.

Sampa said Kafue was littered with many problems and that NCZ was one such example. At the same rally, former Lusaka mayor John Kabungo announced that he had resigned from FDD to join PF.

Meanwhile, Sata claimed that the MMD was so divided that district leaders on the Copperbelt Province were in solidarity with him.
Reacting to Vice-President Banda's comments on Thursday that he hoped the PF leader would go to sleep so that he could have a field day in campaigns for the national presidency, Sata described as wishful thinking hopes that he would go to sleep now because he knew what he was fighting for.

He said he had received calls of solidarity from MMD leaders from all the districts on the Copperbelt, a sign that there were divisions in the ruling party.

"MMD is very divided," Sata said. "I have been receiving lots of calls from the MMD leadership on the Copperbelt.

I have received calls from MMD leaders who were in Lusaka recently when they were choosing Rupiah Banda. I have received calls from MMD leaders in Luanshya, Ndola, Masaiti, Lufyanyama, Kitwe itself, Mufulira, Chingola and Chililabombwe. Even from the Eastern Province."

Sata said MMD NEC officials from the Copperbelt elected Vice-President Banda as presidential candidate although they did not have confidence in him. He said all they were interested in was money they were offered.

"They even told me of the bribes that they were given. It was K30 million each," Sata said. "They were just interested in the money. Some of them are in rent arrears and some them haven't finished paying for the houses they bought so they just wanted to get the money from Rupiah."

Sata said the MMD leadership on the ground had lost confidence in their party. He also dismissed talk by MMD deputy national secretary Jeff Kaande that Copperbelt Province was no longer a PF stronghold.

"If Copperbelt is not a PF stronghold how did they greet Rupiah when he went to watch football?" Sata asked. "Was MMD there? We had a by-election in Nchanga and we beat them. MMD has surrendered the party to UNIP."

Sata charged that MMD was raising funds from the communities that it had neglected.

"MMD is going to the Muslim and Hindu communities to raise money," said Sata. "These are people that they have let down before and I have been saying this from 2001 that these people, their grandfathers and fathers are buried here. They have been with us."

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