Thursday, August 12, 2010

VJ admits helping President Wa Mutharika win polls

VJ admits helping President Wa Mutharika win polls
By Kombe Chimpinde
Thu 12 Aug. 2010, 14:00 CAT

MMD’s Parliamentary chief whip, Vernon Mwaanga, has finally admitted to traveling to Malawi to help President Bingu wa Mutharika ‘secure’ a second term of office. And Mwaanga has described himself a master election tactician and not a vote rigger.

Speaking when he featured on Frank Mutubila’s 'Frank Talk' programme on ZNBC on Wednesday night, Mwaanga, who claimed to be Malawi President’s long time personal friend, said he provided ‘methodological and articulate planning’ advise on the elections.

“Frank, am glad you brought that issue up. I know it’s been an issue. I have heard people talk about it. The truth of the matter is am not an election rigger but am a master tactician,” Mwaanga said.

“I was the election advisor to President Bingu wa Mutharika during last year’s election. First of all Bingu has been my friend for 40 years now. We have developed in the political system together. I assure you there were no under hand methods used in the election. If there were underhand methods the people in charge of the electoral system in that country would have mentioned so. But there was nothing except for the time Bingu talked about it when he came to Zambia,” he said.

This is the first time that Mwaanga has admitted having traveled to Malawi in connection with ‘helping’ in Malawi’s election.

During President Wa Mutharika’s recent visit to Zambia, the Malawian leader hailed President Rupiah Banda for the help he rendered in securing him a second term of office.

But reacting to the revelation, Malawi’s main opposition Malawi Congress Party leader 77-year-old Tembo, a legislator for Dedza South and leader of the opposition in Parliament said there had been rampant reports of electoral fraud and rigging in last year’s presidential polls in that country.

“There was a lot of rumour prior to the election and after the election that he was being assisted by his colleague from Zambia. He President Banda sent some people to tie up with the agents in Malawi to try and help in the rigging of elections,” Tembo said.

Tembo petitioned President Wa Mutharika’s victory but the Malawi High Court dismissed it on a technicality because the challenge was lodged after the stipulated 48 hours after election results were announced.

During his visit President Wa Mutharika said: “Talking about political development, let me also disclose without embarrassing my brother Rupiah that he assisted me quite a lot in the campaign that just passed. As a result I had a landslide victory.”

Before the May 2009 presidential and parliamentary elections in Malawi, Tembo had told The Post that he was worried that “some Zambians” were in Malawi to help rig elections in favour of President Wa Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

“We are also worried by some Zambians who have come allegedly to help the government to rig the elections. They were in Lilongwe, now they went to Blantyre. They are in Ilovo Building,” said Tembo at the time.

And sources in Malawi had said MMD parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga was there to meet President Wa Mutharika at the time.

Efforts to contact Mwaanga for a comment had proved futile at the time as his Zain Zambia mobile line, which was roaming, was just ringing without response.

However, when the phone went unanswered the message at the other end sounded: “Pepani amenemukuwaibelao sakuyankha. Chonde yetsanintso nthawi ina. Malawi chewa translated into English as: The mobile subscriber you have dialed is not answering, please try again later.”

Mwaanga’s secretary at his parliamentary office said he was not there.

“He is not in the office at the moment; he has gone for a meeting in town,” the secretary responded but could not tell when Mwaanga would return.

But when contacted, the secretary at his company office in Lusaka town said Mwaanga was at the parliamentary office.

But when reminded that the secretary at Parliament said he was at his office in town, the secretary responded: “He just passes through in the afternoon.”

Asked when Mwaanga was last there, the secretary responded: “He was here about two days ago.”

Meanwhile during the programme, Mwaanga said whenever there was an election, there was need to have plan.

“You have to take things like statistics in previous elections and voting patterns on all levels into consideration. Put all that together and come up with a strategy to extract votes. If I had rigged, I would have been cited to appear before the High Court in election petitions but my name has never been mentioned,” Mwanga said after the programme’s host, Frank Mutubili, referred to him as indispensable VJ.

This was after Mwaanga boasted that four successive Republican presidents had solicited for his services because of his outstanding qualities when it comes to planning for successive elections.

He maintained that the victories of all the Presidents that he had helped campaign had no underhand methods attached to it.

He also noted that those in the opposition parties accusing him of having facilitated rigging of various elections were just obsessed with coming into power by making unfounded accusations.

Asked if he had any dreams of becoming President, Mwanga he understood the agony of being a Republican President because he had spent a lot of time around the four presidents and for this reason he has always preferred to take an advisory role.

Mwaanga who also acknowledged having disagreed on important issues with all the four Presidents could not state which of the four Presidents had benefited massively from his tactics the most.

“Every President must be allowed to make their own mistakes. We don't share their mandate. And our governance system will only thrive if Zambians understand that. Each President cannot be the same as others but the objective of ‘whichever President comes in power is to serve everyone’ remains the same,” he said.

“My personal policy is not to criticize government publicly as that is considered political taboo for those of us that have been in the political field for a long time as it negates principles of collect responsibility. You don't do that! If you do that, you are writing a prescription of anarchy.

Commenting on his four failed past marriages Mwaanga said that he has no regrets but about that people have to leave some things to fate as fate always wins.

Mwaanga who become a diplomat at the age of 21 also served as Director General of the Zambia Intelligence Security Services,Times of Zambia editor-in-chief, Cabinet minster in all four governments and now parliamentary chief whip.

Labels: , , ,


At 5:59 PM , Blogger MissBwalya said...

I like how he describes himself as "a master tactician and not a vote rigger". The old man is clearly high on his own's unfortunate Zambian politicians don't know the meaning of retirement and bowing out respectably.

At 5:36 PM , Blogger MrK said...

Hi MissBwalya,

I think Malawi opposition politician John Tembo said it best, when he said:

"In a telephone interview from Malawi on his way to one of his campaign rallies on Sunday, Tembo said it was strange that ballot papers were printed and transported to Malawi from the United Kingdom without political parties' representatives witnessing the process.".

No potential for rigging there.

it's unfortunate Zambian politicians don't know the meaning of retirement and bowing out respectably.

The problem is that politics is the one game in town, when you're not a foreign miner or owner of a chainstore.

And they are keeping the nation poor, by not taxing the mines and using that money to diversify the economy. So meanwhile, they are busines protecting their 'friends' in the mining industry while they steal the people's resources.

Something has to change in how politics are conducted.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home