Saturday, October 02, 2010

Accept junior status, Nawakwi urges UPND

Accept junior status, Nawakwi urges UPND
By Patson Chilemba
Sat 02 Oct. 2010, 04:00 CAT

FDD president Edith Nawakwi yesterday advised the UPND to calmly accept their status as a junior partner in the PF/UPND pact. Commenting on the popularity arguments involving the PF and UPND, Nawakwi said UPND did the same to FDD in 2006 when they asked them to accept that UPND was bigger than all the parties which were in the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

“I hope that the UPND will accept that they are the junior partner. I hope that my colleagues in UPND calmly take the statement that they have fewer seats, they are younger because that is how we felt. I hope that they are not feeling as bad as we felt when we were being told we had 12 seats in the House and that we didn’t have enough money,” Nawakwi said.

“They should take their status calmly and accept it just as they expected us to accept it because we were being told that we couldn’t provide helicopters and we only had 12 seats. It is the same language which is being played on them that they played on us.”

Nawakwi said the UPND had now felt how the FDD felt at that time.

“Knowing that we had a lot to contribute, all the experience that we had having worked in government, knowing that really our CVs are unbeatable and then we were being told, ‘no, you don’t have helicopters’,” she said.

Nawakwi said an alliance could not work where there was deceit, dishonesty and selfishness. She said there could only be one leader at any given time.

“You see in UDA, while we had the late Anderson Mazoka we had our own problems but there was a lot of respect towards each other at the time, until the demise of late Anderson Mazoka. That is when the ugly head of selfishness and self-conceitedness came into the politics of UDA,” Nawakwi said.

“It is not possible that some leaders feel that they are the best for this country. I think leadership is something that is given by the people. You can’t impose your leadership on a nation, people, family, community.”

Nawakwi said those who felt they were leaders should first look within themselves if they were humble because leadership was about humility.

“UDA failed because some people within UDA thought they were richer than others. I had colleagues from UPND asking me, ‘do you have a helicopter? Do you have billions because some of your colleagues can even put K10 billion on the table for the campaigns? If someone else is elected we will have everything’?” Nawakwi said.

“My dear when things were done, that statement only came to pass. I never saw the choppers nor the billions of kwacha for the campaigns. So we need to be truthful. I think that this country has come a long way in 45 years.”

Nawakwi said the independence liberation struggles such as Cha Cha Cha were not fought with helicopters but with bare hands.

“So those who have money must realise that money will not buy them the road to State House. If you follow the leadership of seniority and experience and the most capable leader, and the fact that we were going to have Anderson Mazoka as leader and myself as vice, it followed then that in the absence of the elder brother I should have followed to be the next candidate,” Nawakwi said.

“And if you heard the New Africa magazine 2006, July they actually were looking at the possibility that ‘if Nawakwi is chosen as a candidate of the alliance, Mwanawasa is going to have a run for his money’.

But here at home I was being told ‘you are only a woman, you worked with Chiluba, you don’t have a helicopter and indeed you don’t come from a tribe which is larger in the house’. So since my late brother was from my province in Southern Province, I was told it follows that the successor to be president needed to come from the province.”

Nawakwi said she expected that either herself or Sakwiba Sikota would be the presidential candidate after Mazoka died. She said people would not have minded if either herself of Sikota were picked as candidate.

“They people took great exception to having a new person and I think that was the demise. I think that is critically the reason why the alliance did not succeed,” Nawakwi said.

She said having worked with the UPND, she was not surprised at the turn of events in the PF-UPND pact. Nawakwi said people should have taken time to ask about her experience in UDA.

“For me what I thought was that 2006 was an era passed and was really praying and looking forward that people have matured, they have changed, they have learnt from their mistakes. That is what I was praying for that for once I trusted and hoped that Zambia will be given something different than what we had in 2006,” Nawakwi said.

“I think we are still at an era before 2006. Habits experienced with UDA are still manifest today. We agreed that each of the parties in the alliance was going to get 50 seats. We experienced a situation where our colleagues decided that even for seats such as Chasefu and Sinda, they wanted to take them away from us. I think you recall that FDD only ended up with two seats. It is the same selfishness I am talking about.”

Nawakwi said the same selfishness was experienced in Munali, where she was a sitting member of parliament.

“Before we woke up, we found that people were printing certificates away from the secretariat of UDA to give to their members to file. You cannot sit on the table, transact one thing, go off the table transact another thing. It can’t work. Alliances must be based on understanding, respect and following a very, very high degree of honesty. Your objective must be the future,” she said.

Nawakwi said even after the 2006 elections, she was still being told that she was a woman by people who were not experienced.

“I look at these people, they will tell you they are experienced but they have no experience. They have never rescheduled a single debt, never met a single head of state outside the borders of this country. They have never negotiated any strike with the labour union in this country and they tell you ‘you are a woman’,” Nawakwi said.

“One day the Zambian people will realise that women are better leaders than men. I think that Zambians are now looking for alternatives and the alternative is the leadership of women, credible, alternative leadership.”

Nawakwi said she was abused together with her members in 2006. She said FDD members were asked to get materials for campaigns from her when they went to the UDA secretariat, saying the abuse was from top to bottom.

“The country is in limbo because I think that a lot of hope was pinned on this pact but as far as I am concerned I knew from day one that it will end the way it has ended, insincerity and self-conceited behaviour. ‘I am the best’. When they are choosing a captain in the class, do you install it upon yourself?” Nawakwi asked.

“Mazoka never said to me, ‘Edith you can’t be a leader’. Late Mazoka was so gracious. There were moments and days when late Mazoka would come to my house and ‘my sister can we make a decision on this matter’? He had the courtesy and the respect. Insincerity only crept into the UDA after he died.”

Nawakwi said UPND members told her that they had to take the leadership to themselves after the demise of Mazoka.

“They had to even bring outsiders who are less experienced than me. If you talk to my brother Sakwiba Sikota, he will probably have the same views. I mean they had to leave because they couldn’t stand the entrance of new people who had no experience. I put the interest of the country first,” said Nawakwi.

“I said well if I have to leave the UDA, Zambians will say ‘look at Edith she wants to be president at all cost. Let me give this thing a chance’. I had to step aside and I am waiting. I think Zambians will say, ‘one day it is my turn’. I think it is in 2011.”

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