Friday, July 15, 2011
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Fri 15 July 2011, 14:02 CAT
EASTERNERS must understand that there are serious signs of wind of change, says former works and supply deputy minister Lameck Mangani. Featuring on Breeze FM’s Political Hour programme yesterday, Mangani said Easterners should not suffer the consequences of failing to be associated with the wind of change like was the case in 1991.
“In 1991, we UNIP all remained behind and when our friends formed government, we were blocked and we were outside. It had to take us more than 15 years to negotiate to find ourselves in government,” Mangani said.
“MMD has been in power for 20 years and when there is a serious competitor in politics, chances of a political party bouncing back after 20 years are very minimal.”
Mangani said UNIP survived 27 years because Dr Kenneth Kaunda was the first president and then within his reign he introduced a one party state.
“This time around, whether President Banda or somebody else in MMD to go beyond 20 years is extremely difficult,” Mangani said.
“You see this level of reaction and agitation because people say you have done your part but enough is enough.”
Asked by a caller Joseph Mbewe about the chances of MMD of scooping this year’s election, Mangani said the ruling party was in a very vulnerable position.
“The only support base of MMD is mainly in Eastern Province.
I have talked about Northern, Luapula, Copperbelt and Lusaka which are mostly the support base for the opposition and Western Province which used to be a support base of MMD is now a split province.
Others are supporting PF while some are supporting UPND. So the chances of MMD winning are very difficult to determine because the numbers are not favourable, unless they work very hard,” Mangani said.
He said the opposition PF would be going into this year’s election with 70 per cent average support from Lusaka, Copperbelt, Luapula and Northern provinces.
Mangani said he would weigh the strengths and weaknesses between PF and UPND before choosing a party to join if he has to remain relevant in politics because so far the only credible and respected political parties are PF and the UPND.
Mangani said this year’s election would be quite different from any other election but would be similar to the 1991 elections. He said the wind of change was blowing over Zambia and urged the people to respond to it.
“God will guide us properly that as we go to these elections, it should be peaceful and it should be free elections. Zambians have enjoyed peace and elections should not be anything different because it is just a mere competition of political parties.
I don’t see why people from the opposition and the ruling party should start fighting. That is old politics. Here we want mature politics where people can elect mature leaders and the people can decide where they want to go,” Mangani said.
On his perceived differences with President Banda, Mangani said some traditional leaders observed that there was a serious problem between him and President Banda at the MMD convention in April this year.
“So there was an initiative by our traditional leaders to go and find out ‘what is it’. So they travelled and there was an assurance that he (President Banda) was going to call me,” Mangani said.
“The traditional leaders called me and told me that ‘we had some discussions with the President; we want you to meet him and see what you can do’. I had hope, possibly the last hope was when we had the funeral here when he lost the uncle.
I thought during the funeral I would have time to discuss what the chiefs have been saying… But remember from the time when we had the convention up to this stage and interventions that have been done in between we never had the opportunity to meet. It’s either he was too busy or he discovered that the differences were too minor, but somehow as a human being they differences were eating into me,” Mangani said.
“Then there was a pronouncement by my sisters and brothers, that he (President Banda) didn’t want me. So I had this feeling that there is something wrong that is happening. Then came the interviews (for parliamentary elections). I decided to participate. I took part in the constituency, district and province.
I was happy that in all these structures they chose me as a preferred candidate. They put me on number one. All of a sudden, rumours started coming up that the President is looking for a candidate to stand in Chipata Central.
Then I said ‘no, no I don’t think you are fair to this man’. The next thing I heard was that some of the elections at ward level (in Chipata Central) that had passed through the ward, constituency and now are out of province were nullified.”
Mangani said he got a lot of reports on President Banda’s hunt for a candidate in Chipata Central.
“After these rumours were too much I checked from other sources and I found out that it was true, that there was a serious search for an alternative candidate. So I concluded that here there is a problem of trust, ‘our trust between me and my President is broken. There is no confidence and I felt so vulnerable that I cannot continue under those circumstances.
So I had to look at other alternatives. Hence my decision to resign as MMD candidate so that I give my President a free hand to do what he wants because these things have been brewing time and again and they were a source of worry to my supporters,” Mangani explained.
A lot of callers expressed happiness with Mangani’s move and about the works he had done in Chipata