Tuesday, September 23, 2008
By Patson Chilemba
Tuesday September 23, 2008 [04:00]
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Michael Sata yesterday revealed that he has received reports that former president Frederick Chiluba is being courted by Vice-President Rupiah Banda's campaign team, seeking his support during the October 30 presidential election.
But MMD campaign committee chairperson Mike Mulongoti yesterday said that while Vice-President Banda had not met with Chiluba, there were people in MMD who felt that Chiluba should support Vice-President Banda.
In an interview, Sata said many people had informed him that Chiluba was being courted by the MMD.
"So many have come to me about Dr Chiluba's involvement with the Rupiah campaign. But Chiluba is an individual with his own rights and he has inalianable right to use his influence the way he likes," Sata said.
"I have got nothing against Chiluba supporting Rupiah Banda. He has seen the reason why he is supporting Rupiah. I can't stop him. When I was his so-called number three, he by-passed me.
When I was MMD national secretary, he by-passed me in favour of Levy, and to me there is nothing strange and abnormal about it. I have received complaints from Luapula, Northern, Copperbelt and Lusaka provinces. So these complaints, I have not dismissed or complained about them, but FTJ has got his own right."
However, Sata warned Chiluba over supporting Vice-President Banda.
"He doesn't know Rupiah Banda very well. Rupiah Banda is much more vicious than the former president Levy Mwanawasa, and as I told him in 2001 about picking Mwanawasa, this man is vicious. It's good luck to him," he said.
Asked if Chiluba had offered any moral or financial support to PF since the campaigns started, Sata responded: "No."
Chiluba openly exposed his support for PF and Sata in 2006 during the presidential and general elections.
And when contacted for comment, Mulongoti said Chiluba was a citizen and free to join any political party of his choice.
"Dr. Chiluba still carries influence in the country and any party which is wise will want to have him around. You mean Dr Chiluba hasn't got interest in whoever becomes president?" Mulongoti asked. "I have not met him (Chiluba), the candidate Vice-President Banda has not met him but there are others concerned that he needs to be brought closer."
Reminded that Chiluba left MMD in 2006, Mulongoti responded: "Are you saying that people don't move from party to party? If there are some points he feels unhappy about, he moves away and then comes back when he feels things are right."
Chiluba's spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba said he would study and follow up the matter. He said Chiluba would respond if need be.
But last week, Chisamba MMD member of parliament Moses Muteteka urged Vice-President Banda not to embrace plunderers and to state his position on assertions that he had surrounded himself with wolves who were getting ready to loot the country.
Muteteka said Vice-President Banda should toe late president Mwanawasa's line.
"People are talking, raising issues. So RB should be reacting to issues and if he doesn't, people will end up believing that things have been agreed in dark corners," said Muteteka.
And addressing a rally in Lusaka's Ngwerere area on Sunday, Sata said National Milling managing director Peter Cottan had declared war against the people by politically reducing the price of mealie-meal by K2000.
"You Cottan are in the political firing range," he said.
Sata said Cottan came to make money in Zambia and not to interfere in the country's internal politics. He said it was better for Cottan to go back to the United States of America rather than disturb the peace of the nation. Sata said National Milling was built using taxpayers' money, although Cottan bought it for a song. He warned that PF would march to Cottan’s office if he continued to interfere in the country's internal politics.
"Cottan was given National Milling for nothing..." Sata said. "What Cottan is doing is trying to force African millers to go bankrupt because Rupiah Banda has given him money. Rupiah Banda has given him more maize to mill, then he can reduce the price to say 'we have reduced the price of mealie-meal'. So comrade Cottan, you have declared war."
Sata said he would make investors respect the Zambian people if elected.
"The dogs in Cottan's house, they are fatter than people who are feeding them," said Sata.