Friday, January 29, 2010
By Zumani Katasefa in Kitwe and Ernest Chanda in Lusaka
Fri 29 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT
UPND vice-president Richard Kapita has refuted allegations by MMD spokesperson Dora Siliya that members of the UPND vigorously pushed for the presidential qualifications at the NCC.
And Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Garry Nkombo challenged Siliya to name the so-called members of the pact who pushed for the inclusion of the degree clause in the constitution as a requirement for one to run for Republican presidency. In an interview on Wednesday, Kapita said Siliya had started on a very bad note as MMD spokesperson.
“As UPND we have always been against that degree as minimum qualification for a presidential candidate,” he said.
Kapita said no attempts by the MMD would destabilise the PF-UPND pact.
He said there were several attempts by the MMD to cause confusion in the pact.
“The pact would remain strong, we had people who were so close to the pact, who have been going to the MMD telling them all our plans as a pact, but that would not work. The pact is strong and will remain strong, that is why the MMD are not sleeping,” he said.
Kapita said it was totally wrong to set a degree as a minimum qualification for a presidential candidate.
“The MMD are now trying to bring politics to the elite, which is not okay. Basically they are trying to fight one individual but they will fail,” he said.
Kapita wondered what made the MMD think that PF leader Michael Sata had no degree.
“It is totally wrong for them to think Mr Sata has no degree and it is wrong to enshrine a degree qualification in the constitution. I can assure you that will not go through,” Kapita said.
UPND Copperbelt Province chairman Elisha Matambo said it was nonsense for Siliya to accuse UPND members of having vigorously pushed for presidential qualification clause.
“Not everyone with a degree can be a good leader and not everyone without a degree can fail to run the country,” he said.
Matambo urged Copperbelt residents not to be scared of former president Chiluba who is currently campaigning for President Banda in the province.
“They should not be scared of Chiluba, Chiluba is like a snake that cannot bite anyone. He is no longer a poisonous snake,” Matambo said.
And Nkombo said Siliya was hallucinating.
“Let me remind her that being a spokesperson doesn’t mean hallucinating. It was so hypocritical for her to lie to the nation that UPND members at the NCC strongly supported the degree clause for a presidential candidate,” Nkombo said.
“We in the UPND ask Honourable Siliya to go a step further by mentioning people in the UPND who pushed for that clause. I for one debated against that clause and the records are there for all to see. And I know that there are many other UPND members who opposed that clause. I also appeal to our colleagues in the PF Patriotic Front not to listen to such spoilers. Let us continue to strengthen our pact.”
According to the verbatim from NCC, which Nkombo brought to The Post, he had described the clause as discriminatory.
“…I do recognise the progressive nature of this clause, save for a few concerns, and in trying to air my concerns I would like to summon the consciences of all the honourable commissioners in this particular activity,” Nkombo debated.
“…This will amount to discrimination, positive or negative, it is up to your consciences to determine that. But there are certain points that I have regarding this matter and some are that this provision would have been very, very ideal in 1964 going on to maybe the early 80s when access to education was free of charge. This particular clause would have made absolute sense…”
And his Siavonga counterpart Douglas Siakalima warned of bruising Siliya politically.
Siakalima asked Siliya to remember how she messed up at the Ministry of Communications and Transport.
"What I’m saying is that MMD and its sponsors should not take advantage over us in the pact. Dora Siliya is trying to purport that it is the UPND who were trying to lobby for a degree clause. Personally when we started hearing about a degree, I said it is not a prerogative to good leadership. Dora was put there to spread propaganda for the MMD," Siakalima said.
"Dora cannot counsel anyone. Who is she? Let me warn her, she is too young; this is politics, she will be bruised. People have not forgotten the way she messed up at the Ministry of Communications and Transport. And for her to become spokesperson of the MMD she has just come in the firing range and she is not going to contain it. We are not her size."
On Tuesday, Siliya charged that UPND members sitting at the NCC vigorously pushed for the degree clause in the qualifications of a Presidential candidate.