Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sata says he has 'no brains' because he's 'not a thief'

Sata says he has 'no brains' because he's 'not a thief'
By Moses Kuwema and Kombe Chimpinde
Thu 28 Feb. 2013, 13:05 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says he has "no brains" because he is "not a thief". And newly-appointed commerce deputy minister, Richwell Siamunene, who is also Sinazongwe UPND member of parliament says he would have been dead by now because some UPND officials threatened him for taking a minister to his constituency last week.

But UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa has described Siamunene's action to join government as political misconduct.

Speaking at State House yesterday when he swore in Dr Effron Lungu as foreign affairs minister, Dr Rowland Msiska as Secretary to the Cabinet, Robert Kamalata as senior private secretary in the office of the Vice-President and Siamunene, President Sata said even his record showed that he had not been to prison for stealing but for defending people's rights.

"Gentlemen, you started from somewhere, they call you names and if what they are calling you is not something for you to worry, continue with what you are doing. They call you, that you have 'no brains', yes you accept I have 'no brains' because I am 'not a thief'. When they call you that you have 'no brains', you say yes I have 'no brains' because I started from an organ. I didn't come from nowhere and come and be head of an organisation. My record, I have worked. You can check my record, I have been to prison not for stealing. I have been to prison for defending your rights," President Sata said.

On Tuesday, UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema said President Sata had no brains and had failed to run the country.

This was after he was asked on the killing of Monze district PF vice-chairman Harrison Chanda in Livingstone by UPND officials.

And President Sata said stones would not convince people to vote for a particular party, but that only talking would.

"Why kill each other? When the blood is the same, you cannot tell that this blood is from this part of the country. We are all the same people. Why should we kill each other? Why are you fighting? In 2008, when we knew that they had robbed us the elections, I pleaded to the nation. The boys wanted to walk from Copperbelt to come and sort you out in Lusaka. I told them, please don't come. Zambia is very precious.We have just come and we will go. In this country, there used to be violence between Congress and UNIP. It had to take Kaunda and Nkumbula to go to Choma for the Choma Declaration. That's what brought one-party state but I don't want to bring one-party state," he said.

President Sata said the late Chanda was a human being just like anyone else.
"Let us do politics without violence. If you cannot convince people by talking, stones will not convince them. Stones will scare them away," said President Sata.

And speaking to journalists after being sworn in, Siamunene said President Sata had responded to people's calls for him to have voices from all over the country in his administration.

He said in order for the country to realise its goals, there was need to unite and work towards the people's aspirations.

"Whatever I am doing is for my people. I want my people to be served adequately. I was victimised for taking the minister just to see the bridge. There are even threats on my life and I thank the President for prevailing, I would have been dead by now," Siamunene said.

Siamunene said he became member of parliament for Sinazongwe in order to bring change in the people of his constituency and that was what every leader was supposed to do.

He said he did not expect his relationship with his party to be good following his appointment into government but that he needed the freedom to operate freely and initiate development in his constituency.

When asked about the possibility of being expelled, Siamunene said it he would rather be expelled for good reasons than to continue drawing a salary from Parliament when he was doing nothing on the ground.

"It is the people that matter. It is not about myself. If I am expelled and the people say it is okay, so be it. But I am convinced that whatever I am doing, I am not doing it for myself. It is better to be out of Parliament than see people suffering," he said.

Siamunene, however, said the expulsion of UPND members of parliament who join government would not help the party win the 2016 general elections.

"In my view, I don't think it will help in that we want more members. In order to win any election, you need more members. If you remove others, then it means you are losing the members and how are you going to win then?" he wondered.
Meanwhile, Mweetwa said Siamunene had defied UPND's position of going to Livingstone to campaign and opting to go to State House.

"This is political misconduct. Siamunene was allocated to go and campaign in the Livingstone by-elections. He decided to defy a party position to go and campaign. Instead, he has chosen to go and wine and dine at State House, with the same people who are persecuting the president of a party that took Siamunene to Parliament!" he said.

Mweetwa, however, said UPND was not surprised by Siamunene's appointment, saying it was long overdue.

He said it was regrettable for his party to have some young members of parliament who were leading a rebellion against party positions.

Mweetwa said young members of parliament were leading breakaway views, defiant and political impunity, something he said was not good for Zambia's politics.
Asked if the party would expel Siamunene, Mweetwa said there was no immediate action that would be taken against the parliamentarian.

"Siamunene has been facing a number of charges. It is not like UPND will cook up something because of this appointment. No! He has been a subject of disciplinary proceedings. It is something that the party will sit to look at.
We are not interested in a by-election, we think that these by elections that are induced arising from greed are totally unnecessary," said Mweetwa.

And members of parliament on the right side of Parliament yesterday jubilated when Siamunene entered the House.

Siamunene, who entered Parliament around 14:55 hours, was ushered in amid cheers and jubilation from members of parliament on the right, interrupting education minister Dr John Phiri who was on the floor. After the house paused for two minutes, Dr Phiri took advantage of his time on the floor to welcome Simunene.

"Pray that the 'Mapatizya formula' will not follow you," said Dr Phiri.

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