Saturday, July 11, 2009

Teta is empty - Mpombo

Teta is empty - Mpombo
Written by Zumani Katasefa in Kitwe and Patson Chilemba in Lusaka
Saturday, July 11, 2009 3:37:14 PM

FORMER defence minister George Mpombo has described MMD spokesperson Benny Tetamashimba as an empty intellectual shell. And Patriotic Front president Michael Sata asked what he termed as "good for nothing" ministers like Tetamashimba and Mike Mulongoti to leave Mpombo alone.

Reacting to attacks on him by Tetamashimba following his resignation from Cabinet, Mpombo said Tetamashimba was a big disaster on the political scene.

"Mr Tetamashimba is an empty intellectual shell. He is a big disaster on the political scene and he doesn't know what he is talking about, he is a liability to the party," Mpombo said on Radio Icengelo on Thursday.

He described Tetamashimba as a misguided political missile and a blind leader.

"When he left UPND and was adopted to stand on MMD ticket for Solwezi Central, I was the one that was picked as his campaign manager for the by-election. The first thing we did with the late President was to go and apologise to a lot of people, including senior chief Kapijimpanga whom he had aggrieved over his scandalous conduct. We had to plead to people so that they can come back. He is a disaster by nature," he said.

Mpombo said Tetamashimba wanted to be an expert even on things he did not understand.

"If we have such leaders then we know we are heading into problems. He is a very blind leader. He doesn't know what he is doing, it is a pity we have misguided fellows in those positions. He is a misguided political missile," Mpombo said.

He said people should not worry about Tetamashimba because he liked parroting all the time.

Mpombo said it was not true that he failed to organise MMD in Copperbelt Province, saying the MMD had better results in the rural parts of the province.

And well-placed government sources disclosed that the government was planning to launch attacks on Mpombo.

"They are planning to start issuing statements through Forum for Leadership Search (FLS) executive director Edwin Lifwekelo. They want Lifwekelo to start issuing these statements on Mpombo's resignation and alleging that the former minister has left a K100 million phone bill and unretired imprest," the source said.

But Sata said Mpombo was more honourable and responsible.

Featuring on Radio Yatsani's Good Governance programme yesterday, Sata said Tetamashimba and works and supply minister Mulongoti were not Mpombo's spokespersons.

He said Mpombo would blow out at the right time.

"Benny Tetamashimba's job as minister of local government is not to be insulting his friend. His job is to provide water in Bauleni compound. Mulongoti is supposed to come and grade roads in Bauleni, not talking about Mpombo. Mpombo has gone," Sata said. "Leave Mpombo alone, at least he is more honourable and a more responsible person, more principled than these mercenaries we have in the country."

Sata said Mpombo had just resigned from a very powerful job and the best Tetamashimba and Mulongoti could do was to sympathise rather than throwing mud at him.

He said Mpombo was highly principled and resigned without throw mud at his colleagues.

"At the right time, George Mpombo will speak out. But what is most important is there is no tribunal threatening Mpombo, there is no judicial review threatening Mpombo. He has resigned, he resigns without anybody pushing him," Sata said. "After all, the President has not picked Tetamashimba or Mulongoti to replace Mpombo. He has picked a sober person of integrity to replace him, the former Minister of Home Affairs [Dr Kalombo Mwansa]."

Tetamashimba last Thursday said President Banda would have the last laugh over Mpombo's resignation as defence minister because he would soon reveal whether or not there was corruption at the Ministry of Defence under the leadership of Mpombo.

Mulongoti reminded Mpombo that only the truth would set him free.

Meanwhile, Sata said the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) had run out of money.

He said of the more than K50 billion that was allocated to NCC, there was only K4 billion remaining to pay a few individuals.

Sata alleged that several NCC members had gone for almost two months without receiving their allowances.

He said officials from NCC recently met President Banda over the financial difficulties and the President told them that he would seek the assistance of donors.

"But some donors we have talked to have said they will not help especially with what is happening at Ministry of Health," he said.

On the presidency of the PF/UPND pact, Sata said there was still time to decide on the matter, saying even President Banda had nothing to show in terms of performance in the last nine months he had been President.

He said President Banda's government assumed office on false promises of reducing mealie-meal and fuel prices.

"[But] mealie-meal is getting more expensive," he said.

He said the PF and UPND could not reveal the strategy they would use to arrive at adopting a presidential candidate because they did not want to arm the enemy.

Sata said it was not up to him and Hichilema to maintain the pact but the people.

On reports that MMD had engaged some Chinese nationals in its campaigns in Chitambo, Sata said the Chinese behaved as if Zambia were a province of China because they carried on with their business as they pleased.

He said they were distributing MMD chitenge materials because President Banda had promised to give them the Nansanga Farming Bloc.

Sata said even "nashala neka" [one man] parties like UNIP and FDD had resurfaced in Chitambo in order to split the votes.

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