Saturday, December 20, 2008

Teta is very primitive – Sata

Teta is very primitive – Sata
Written by Patson Chilemba, Lambwe Kachali and Mutuna Chanda
Saturday, December 20, 2008 7:16:39 AM

TETAMASHIMBA is very primitive because he does not understand the local government Act, Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata charged yesterday.
And PF Mufulira councilors yesterday elected a mayor and deputy despite a standing postponement of mayoral polls.

But Lusaka town clerk Timothy Hakuyu said he would not conduct any election without the approval of local government minister Benny Tetamashimba.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Mumba Malila has written to Tetamashimba advising him on how the mayoral elections which have been postponed should be handled.

Commenting on Tetamashimba's statement that government would not recognise the election of Stephen Chipungu of PF as Kitwe mayor, Sata said mayors did not require to be recognised by the government.

“The mayors, as opposed to the Speaker, do not need any recognition from the government. The Speaker needs government recognition because he takes oath before the President. There is no oath when installing a mayor, it's just a mere ceremony,” he said.

Sata said it was sad that despite having been in the local government ministry for a considerable period of time, Tetamashimba had little understanding of local governance.

He charged that Tetamashimba could rig the elections but could not rig the local government administration.

“Tetamashimba must realise, in 2006 Levy Mwanawasa, [Sylvia] Masebo, we agreed to differ. We agreed to recognise each other that they were the government and we were running councils and they did not do anything stupid to provoke us,” Sata said.

“Sylvia knew local government because she was my first deputy mayor. She was arrogant but cooperative. But this man [Tetamashimba] is primitive and arrogant. He failed to run North-Western Co-operative Association. He should not think that local government is an association, it deals with laws.”

On Tetamashimba's challenge for Sata to tell the nation why he did not hold elections for four years when he served as local government minister, Sata said there was something wrong with Tetamashimba.

“Is Tetamashimba normal? The man is very dull. I was only minister for two years. He is so dull because if a certain minister committed a mistake, should he committ the same mistake also?” Sata asked.

Several PF councillors in Lusaka have pledged to obey Sata's directive to defy the government's directive not to hold mayoral elections.

Some PF councillors called on their fellow councillors to hold mayoral elections next week.

Mandevu member of parliament Jean Kapata said councillors should not waste time but elect a new mayor immediately.

Lusaka-Central member of parliament Dr Guy Scott said PF was in the process of organising elections.

He said the party would first try to have council officials conduct elections but should that fail then councillors would do it themselves.

Councillor Mwewa Musaiwale said councillors were wondering why Tetamashimba kept on postponing elections.

But Hakuyu said he would not conduct any election without Tetamashimba's approval.

“I believe where they have held elections without the chief executives, those elections are null and void. So if there are no council officials that would be considered as a caucus and not a council meeting,” said Hakuyu.

On Sata's statement that councillors should get rid of council chief executives who might attempt to prevent them from holding elections, Hakuyu said people should not be fired on reasons that were not noble.

And Mufulira has become the third Copperbelt town to hold mayoral elections even after Tetamashimba said that Kitwe polls which were held on Wednesday were illegal.

Mufulira councilors' action was seemingly an action on Sata's instructions to PF controlled councils to defy government's directive not to hold mayoral elections.

PF Mufulira district chairman John Katati confirmed that Thomson Ngulube of Mulungushi ward was elected mayor while Andrew Msiska of Hankey Kalanda ward was voted as his deputy.

Asked on the legality of the mayoral elections when officials of the council administration were not part of the proceedings, Katati said the new office bearers were elected legally and would operate as such.

When contacted, Mufulira town clerk Charles Mwandila expressed ignorance over the elections and said as far as he was concerned, councillor Stanley Kaluba was still the mayor.

Kitwe, Chingola and now Mufulira have defied the ministerial directive and held mayoral elections despite not having any council officer to conduct the polls.

Meanwhile, Mumba Malila - who could not disclose the details of the advisory letter to Tetamashimba - said the matter would be rested soon.

Malila said if it was any other matter, he would have disclosed details of his writen advice to Tetamashimba.

“I am sorry I am not able to help you. I have already given my advice to my client the government and in this case the minister. My advice at this time remains confidential, so I would expect the minister to make a public statement. If it was any other matter, I would have given you the position of the law. But on this, they [PF] have threatened legal action,” said Malila.

“So, those details should be given by the minister not me, and I hope the position should be clarified soon by the minister so that the public can understand.”

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