Monday, January 07, 2013

Sikwela under death threats from UPND

Sikwela under death threats from UPND
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Mon 07 Jan. 2013, 14:00 CAT

FORMER Livingstone UPND member of parliament Howard Sikwela says he faced death threats from some members of the opposition party's national management committee.

Reacting to demands by some UPND members for him to pay back money they donated for his election campaign, Reverend Sikwela said in a statement in Livingstone yesterday that, "Much as I apologise to the people of Livingstone over my resignation as MP, people must be made aware that I had faced death threats.

There is even a suspect from the national management committee of the UPND."
He said those threats were discussed in Parliament and even a police docket regarding the same threats was opened.

Rev Sikwela stated that at no time did he ever apply for a loan from UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa and he urged him to stop making malicious statements.

Rev Sikwela stated that Mweetwa should provide proof of such an agreement for financial assistance during the last Livingstone by-election.
"The ignorant young politician Mweetwa needs to be told to avoid making malicious statements such as those to The Post and Muvi TV because at no time did I apply for a loan from Cornelius Mweetwa.

If I did, proof of such must be produced in court. I further demand from Cornelius Mweetwa a well signed payment voucher on which I signed for the securing of the loan from him," Rev Sikwela stated.

He reminded Mweetwa that donations are never paid back.
Rev Sikwela wondered why the claim for monies was coming with insults after he had resigned from the UPND.

He said the UPND had exhibited hostility against him and the PF government, which forced him to resign.

"I did not handle any cash since I was a candidate. Let Mweetwa claim for whatever money from the office he paid such amounts," he stated.

Rev Sikwela added that other people who donated money to the UPND had not demanded repayment such as a K2.5 million donated by Bernard Muleya, who was chairman for election operations last year as he knew that he was donating and did not expect repayment.

Mweetwa on Saturday claimed that Sikwela's campaign cost K500 million (KR500,000) which was all contributions from the party and individual members.

He said he, in particular contributed K15 million (KR15,000) and wanted it back.

"But take this very seriously. I am demanding that Rev Sikwela gives me back not less than K15 million. I am looking for Sikwela but his phones are off and he is playing hide and seek. I am here (Livingstone) just to ask him nicely 'please the money I spent give it back to me'..." Mweetwa said.

And Rev Sikwela said his resignation would help other UPND members of parliament to reflect on working with the PF government for developmental purposes instead of just sitting and getting allowances in Parliament while the electorate had no access clean drinking water.
He recounted how he was violently treated by UPND cadres on the morning of September 26, 2012 at National Assembly Motel.

"They can call my resignation baseless but it would help reflect on the need for development in constituencies," Rev Sikwela said. "They say I have caused an unnecessary by-election but of what use is an MP who just sits in Parliament and gets a salary and yet the people who voted for him don't get clean drinking water and can't pay for school fees. It is raining now and the only clean water some people are able to get is from the roof top."

Rev Sikwela said the UPND should not think of 2016 but work closely with the PF government to develop even areas which were under the opposition.

"There is a time for politicking but when elections and by-elections are over, it is better to look at development," he said. "It's not good to just condemn the PF. Yes, the government has its mistakes but we should not condemn the good things being done just for the sake of politicking."

Rev Sikwela said he was new in the parliamentary circle of the UPND and did not know much about the underhand dealings by Hakainde Hichilema towards members of parliament.

He said the party seemed not to have been ready to support his close links with the PF on developmental issues.
Rev Sikwela said the UPND cadres who abducted him out of National Assembly Motel last September had seemingly been cleared by some UPND members of parliament.

"One cannot just walk into Parliament Motel and start hurling insults without clearance by security," he said. "The youths must have been cleared by some UPND MPs. They abducted me from Parliament Motel and whisked me to the party secretariat in a Jeep, where I was forced to denounce my presence at President Michael Sata's Link Zambia 8,000 road project and later received death threats on my mobile phone, which I reported to the police."

On the other hand, Mweetwa says Livingstone should always be in opposition hands as the UPND and MMD differ over which party should contest the seat vacated by Rev Sikwela.

But MMD vice-president Michael Kaingu asked the UPND to give the former ruling party a chance to contest the seat it had won in the 2011 general elections. The MMD lost the seat after an electoral petition.

Kaingu said the MMD met on Saturday at Victoria Hall to discuss the vacant seat.
He said the MMD was requesting UPND to give a chance to an MMD candidate.
"We discussed with my party officials over the forthcoming by-election and we have resolved that we field a candidate and our party officials are asking the UPND to help us this time around. What is important is that the seat was an MMD seat after the general elections… and their UPND member of parliament has let them down," Kaingu said.

He said if the UPND decided to contest, it was their fundamental right to participate in elections.
"Fundamentally, all political parties are supposed to participate in elections," Kaingu said. "Winning is a bonus. That is the beauty of democracy but at the end of the day, it is only one party that will win."

But Mweetwa said his party was poised to reclaim the seat.
"We stand very ready to reclaim the seat and we are poised to win. We want Livingstone to be always in the hands of the opposition," Mweetwa said.
He said it would be shocking to enter into discourse with the MMD over Livingstone.

Mweetwa asked Kaingu to be sincere over the matter.
"Ask him Kaingu because he waved at me yesterday and I know he is here in Livingstone… ask him about the mood of the people if he is sincere and I know him to be one. Ask him if he is for the preservation of the opposition. The mood of the people of Livingstone is that of anger," he said.

"We as UPND are more than ready to contest the seat even if the elections were held tomorrow because we started preparing a long time ago and we already have a candidate."
He also challenged the PF to field Rev Sikwela in the forthcoming by-election if he had a political muscle to flex.

"We dare the PF to field Sikwela," Mweetwa said.
However, he said the UPND had not yet met to discuss the vacant seat.
Mweetwa said the MMD should make its own internal decisions and not drag the UPND into their internal matters.

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