Sunday, May 30, 2010
By George Chellah and Amos Malupenga
Sun 30 May 2010, 03:10 CAT
SIAVONGA UPND member of parliament Douglas Syakalima yesterday said there is no sane person or political party that can align themselves with the ruling MMD.
Reacting to MMD parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga’s claim that UPND members in 11 districts in Southern Province want an alliance between the UPND and MMD, Syakalima refuted Mwaanga’s statement.
However, Mwaanga yesterday said at no time did he suggest that he represents all people from Southern Province.
“Just like HH is saying, VJ Mwaanga was forgotten a long time ago in Southern Province. He has actually no place in the politics of Southern Province. VJ does not exist in Southern Province. He only exists in Lusaka and in particular Olympia township where he resides,” Syakalima said.
“I don’t think that any sane human being or political party would like to align themselves with the MMD at this hour. The MMD is finished. It has no grassroots. If VJ thinks this is the only way he can continue eating, he will never eat under the UPND.”
Syakalima said Mwaanga had no moral right to link UPND to the MMD.
“The choice of who to work with lies with our morals ourselves as UPND. I don’t think it will be moral for any normal party to align themselves with MMD,” Syakalima said.
“MMD has been a danger to our society; talk of the health sector, education sector, agriculture sector and the rural road infrastructure. All those have been very painful to the people of Zambia.”
Syakalima said Mwaanga should not over-glorify himself that he can be a kingmaker.
“VJ’s hay days are finished and he must come to terms with that reality. At his tender age, he was given chance which he eventually spoiled himself,” Syakalima said.
“We want a president who will look after the people and not some these characters we know today who are self-confessed drug traffickers.
“We should not forget about the past and what people did in the past. We shall continue to remind them. I would advise VJ to tame his tongue.”
On Wednesday in Livingstone, Mwaanga said his recent trips and meetings with Southern Province chiefs, the business community and other stakeholders revealed that people wanted an alliance between the MMD and UPND.
Mwaanga said Southern Province could only successfully produce a Republican president in 2016 through an alliance between UPND and MMD.
“I have travelled to ten or so districts in Southern Province and I have met chiefs, many headmen, farmers and the business community and the general view I have gathered is that people of Southern Province want to see an alliance with the MMD as opposed to PF. This is a general view I have gathered as a result of the consultations I have had,” said Mwaanga in an interview at Zambezi Sun Hotels.
Asked whether or not he would push for a coalition between the UPND and MMD if approached, Mwanga said he would encourage the MMD to go into such an alliance as long as the UPND agreed.
“I would encourage my party to enter into talks with the UPND as long as the UPND shows willingness. It is not about personalities, it is about Zambia,” he said.
Mwaanga also said the UPND’s manifesto was stolen from the MMD as the people who wrote it came from the ruling party.
“The general view of people is that the MMD and the UPND have similar policies, as opposed to the PF who are threatening to nationalise companies such as Zamtel to name a few,” Mwaanga said.
“The MMD and the UPND have similar policies because the UPND manifesto was written by people who came from the MMD. They stole ideas from the MMD. So the general perspective is that the only way we can have a president from the province is for UPND to go into a coalition with the MMD.
“If you recall what President Rupiah Banda said when he went to open the Nickel mine in Mazabuka, he said that Southern Province had the right to produce a president in future.”
But UPND president Hakainde Hichilema dismissed Mwaanga’s assertion saying a Pact between UPND and MMD was not possible. He advised Mwaanga not to overstep his limits because he did not run the UPND.
However, Mwaanga yesterday said his comments were based on the discussions he had had with various people from Southern Province who volunteered their views to him.
“They expressed personal preferences about the kind of electoral alliance they would like to see in 2011,” Mwaanga said.
“It was their view that an MMD/UPND alliance was more natural because of the similarities in the policies of the two parties. It was also their view that such an alliance would be more re-assuring to investors in that it would point in the direction of protecting the growth and economic gains made by the MMD government under both presidents Mwanawasa and Banda.”
Mwaanga said the people of Southern Province, by and large, recognised that although the MMD and UPND still had political differences in such issues as the Mufumbwe by-election events and violence in general, there was room to bridge these differences in the interest of putting Zambia first by doing what was right for the Zambian people.
He said his fifty years experience in politics had shown him that politics was a practical subject and leaders must respond to realities on the ground if they are to remain relevant.
“I am deeply conscious that I have had a different political experience from HH who is relatively new to the politics of Zambia and Southern Province,” Mwaanga said. “He will learn with age and more experience, being the intelligent person he is and who enjoys my utmost respect.”
Mwaanga said that in a modern society, leaders have to listen to all views whether or not they agreed with those views.
“This is one of the functions of enlightened leaders as they steer our country into the globalised 21st century which demands and new and progressive approach to politics,” Mwaanga said. “I may not be there personally. But I owe it to the future generations of Zambians to help lay a solid foundation for their future and that of generations yet unborn.
It is part of my patriotic duty and I will not shy away in performing it for the sake of our common future and values we share as Zambians. It is not about me. It is not about any individual leader. It is about our future, our people, our country now and always.”