Sunday, February 20, 2011
By Ernest Chanda and Bright Mukwasa
Sun 20 Feb. 2011, 04:01 CAT
I will revive the system of dribbling, promises Frederick Chiluba. Speaking at the MMD 2011 card renewal exercise at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka yesterday, the second Republican president who was in an excited mood assured President Rupiah Banda of victory in this year's election.
Chiluba said he and other MMD members were prepared to go out and penetrate every area to ensure victory for the party.
"Let us see who will win this game between President Banda and us, and those who think they can distabilise us internally here. Our challenge is that we must prove that we have a united, strong party. We must be prepared to handle every challenge as it comes. And we should not win by small numbers to give people chance to go to court, no," Chiluba said amidst shouts of approval from cadres.
"We must go out and work for victory. Your Excellency, we are prepared to go and work for this party. To go door-to-door, plus a few international and national tactics we shall apply, we should be able to penetrate every area."
Chiluba accused police of mistreating MMD cadres at the expense of opposition party cadres.
He appealed to President Banda to provide a level playing field so that all could be well for MMD members in the country.
"Sir, we ask you to facilitate a level playing field because sometimes our cadres have not been treated like noble men and women. Sometimes in our ignorance we've been mistreated, even police officers have not been with us. They have treated us badly, allowing the opposition to walk freely as if it's their territory. We are ready, we are prepared and we will bring victory home," Chiluba said.
Whenever Chiluba delivered a point, cadres shouted even more in approval, with President Banda, Vice-President George Kunda and other senior party members nodding in approval.
And Chiluba through innuendoes accused late president Levy Mwanawasa’s leadership of sinking the MMD.
Chiluba who spoke with passion and vigour said because of bad leadership in the party a few years ago, MMD members were afraid of wearing party regalia in public.
"Your Excellency, you have done us proud. As the founding father of this great party, I cannot conceal the joy I have to see this party transform. You know that only a few years ago this party had sunk to its lowest ebb. Our loyal supporters and political observers had began referring to it as defunct. But look now, MMD is not defunct. The MMD is not dead. We thank God for this great nation. He has given us this President, the man who has brought us together. This man is a true democrat," Chiluba said.
"There is no democracy in tribalism. How can one claim to be a democrat when he is practsing tribalism? It's political robbery! Sir you have resurrected the fortunes of our party. Sir, you came, as one book in Shakespeare says: 'he came, he saw and he conquered.’
"Sir, you have resurrected the fortunes of our party. We never saw the uniform of our party in the street a few years ago. We were running away from the party every day. The opposition took advantage. Can you imagine the opposition having an upper hand over a party in power? No, no, no sir. Our party uniform was only seen at official functions and in the night, the party would go into political liquidation. As we go for the convention, let us resolve ladies and gentlemen. Pakwakana ubunga tapaba insoni. We have to brave the cold. Let us all resolve not to listen to destructive voices. Let us rally behind our President," Chiluba said.
And Chiluba said he could not give the Presidency to Michael Sata in 1991 because the latter was more corrupt than the word itself.
He said Sata should not even talk too much because he could have gone to prison for corruption.
"These parties you have seen like the PF, it's because I refused that man to become president. Now you have proved me right. If I was not magnanimous some of those people would not be talking today, they could have gone to prison for corruption. But I stood as father of the party so that we could move on. He was more corrupt than the word corruption," said Chiluba.
And earlier opening the exercise, President Banda said he would help stop quarrels in the party if members failed to do it themselves.
He said such quarrels had put the party to public ridicule.
"I urge those who wish to stand for various NEC positions to put the interest of this party above personal interest. I'm very saddened to see that all over the country leaders are opening up the party to public ridicule. They are quarreling every day. They must stop it. If you don't stop it, we will help you stop it. After opening this exercise I'm holding a press conference outside here because this is a bad time to allow challenges to come upon us without challenging them," said President Banda.
President Banda later held a press briefing where he announced the dismissal of works and supply minister Mike Mulongoti.