Thursday, April 23, 2009

Step aside, Teta tells Katele

Step aside, Teta tells Katele
Written by Patson Chilemba
Thursday, April 23, 2009 8:51:03 PM

MMD spokesperson Benny Tetamashimba on Thursday asked party national secretary Katele Kalumba to step aside after being put on his defence to answer corruption charges by magistrate Edward Musona.

In an interview, Tetamashimba asked Kalumba to step aside until his corruption charges were disposed off. He said MMD would not allow a person who had been put on his defence to continue administering the party and later on contest the MMD presidency.

ÒYou know when you are put on your defence by the court it means the court has been convinced by the prosecution that there is merit that you did wrong things. So you are put on your defence. They are now telling you that the onus is on you to prove otherwise. As at now the court is saying they [accused] are guilty until they prove otherwise and Katele is one of them. He should have stepped aside,Ó Tetamashimba said.

He said Kalumba and former finance minister Ng’andu Magande were inconsequential to the MMD because President Banda lost elections in their constituencies. Tetamashima further maintained that despite arguments from the other party members, President Banda was the only best and credible candidate and that MMD would lose elections in 2011 should they fail to adopt him.

ÒKatele was not being frank by that statement that there were other candidates because he told me when I was campaigning for Rupiah Banda that ÒI will be standingÓ. We are not going to allow a person who has been put on the defence to be president of the party,Ó he said.

Tetamashimba said in the event that Katele or any other person won the presidency at the party convention, it would not be guarantee that they would be adopted to contest the Republican presidency because the national executive committee (NEC) would have a final say. He said President Banda enjoyed overwhelming support with ministers and NEC officials.

Tetamashimba said opposition leaders like Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata and UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema would capitalize on the Eastern Province vote should the MMD not adopt President Banda in 2011. He said he would fight to ensure that President Banda re-contested the presidency.

ÒPresident Banda is not like Katele and others who have not been categorical to the public over their presidential intention. He has said the first thing is to work and if he works well and the party feels that he should go ahead, then he will,Ó said Tetamashimba.

Ruling on the matter recently, Musona said he was satisfied that the prosecution had laid a prima facie case against Katele and the other accused persons requiring them to be put on their defence.

On calls for former communications and transport minister Dora Siliya to cease being a member of parliament for breaching the Republican Constitution, Tetamashimba said MMD would vote against such a proposal if it were to come before the table in Parliament. He said others could talk about SiliyaÕs resignation but Sata and Magande were wrong individuals to talk about the matter.

On President BandaÕs push to reorganize the Attorney GeneralÕs chambers over accusations that they misled Siliya, Tetamashimba said Attorney General Mumba Malila and Solicitor General Dominic Sichinga should own up if it was proved that they misled Siliya.

He accused the judge Dennis Chirwa tribunal of having gone beyond their mandate by calling on Malila and Sichinga to testify on Siliya.

Tetamashimba said the tribunal brought in the issue of the Constitution when they had cleared Siliya on the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct.

On Tuesday, Siliya resigned in view of the tribunals findings. The judge Dennis Chirwa tribunal found that siliya breached Article 3 of the Constitution when she selected RP Capital Partners Limited to value Zamtel assets.

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