Thursday, January 28, 2010
By Patson Chilemba
Thu 28 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT
Ng'andu Magande yesterday said the MMD is a democratic party and those campaigning for him should be allowed to do so freely.
Reacting to MMD national chairman Michael Mabenga and party spokesperson Dora Siliya’s directives for him to stop the presidential campaigns or risk facing disciplinary action from the party, Magande, who is former finance minister and currently Chilanga MMD member of parliament, asked those who were opposing his campaigns to stop and focus on campaigning for their candidate.
“It doesn't concern me because that is how Mabenga operates. So if he makes a statement on somebody, I can't operate on his level. That is why you should ask him that question, 'why are you commenting on other people making comments on other candidates, and not people making comments on the other candidates?'” he asked.
Magande said he was not like other candidates who had decided to commence their campaigns by allowing MMD cadres to issue threats like “gang-raping” and “chopping off people's legs”, on their behalf.
“Yes, that is what they have decided, and to me I am saying I will not get my people to say those things because my character does not support that kind of behaviour,” Magande said. “How does anybody get offended, going to a radio station, Mano Radio Station in Kasama and talking about Magande? It should be Magande who should get affected because if you mentioned my name there poorly, and the people on the Northern Province don't know that that is the person, I will say 'next time you are on the radio station, you mention my name like this'.
But if you are going to say 'me, I am a follower of Magande, and I have come here to insult you people', I will immediately denounce you and say that is not what you are supposed to do on my behalf.”
Magande said although he had not instructed his supporters to issue campaign adverts on some radio stations, they should be allowed to do so because that was their democratic right.
“I haven't even set up a two man secretariat for my campaigns, but people are saying I have started campaigning...Zambia is a democracy...you haven't heard any of my fans saying 'on behalf of Magande, we will chop off other people's legs or gang-raping somebody,'” said Magande.
On Tuesday, Mabenga asked Magande to stop campaigning for the party presidency because the party had not yet issued directives for people to start doing so.
This was followed by another statement by Siliya in yesterday's edition of the Times of Zambia saying Magande risked disciplinary action if it was established that he had prematurely started campaigning for the party presidency through the placing of advertisements on some community radio stations around the country.