Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's political incest for UPND to poach MMD MPs - Kaingu
By Agness Changala and Mwala Kalaluka
Sun 07 July 2013, 14:01 CAT

DORA Siliya says she is still a member of the MMD, a party she is proud of. And MMD vice-president for politics Michael Kaingu says it is political incest for the UPND to continue poaching MMD members of parliament whose seats have been nullified.

But the UPND says there is nothing strange about the party's overtures to former MMD members of parliament to stand on its ticket during by-elections arising from the nullification of their parliamentary seats.

Responding to revelations by sources that UPND wanted Siliya and Maxwell Mwale to stand on the party ticket in Petauke Central and Malambo respectively,
Siliya, whose seat was nullified by the Supreme Court, denied having any links with the UPND.
"I don't know at what point somebody said me I was linked to UPND and who told you that information, because as far as I am aware, I am still MMD and that is where I have links," Siliya said in an interview.
Siliya, who said she had returned from the constituency, explained that she held talks with MMD there.
Siliya said her concern now was to try and attend to problems people were facing in Petauke Central Constituency.
She said Petauke has had no fuel for two weeks and there was no maize in the sheds.
Siliya said people in Petauke were also complaining because they did not get any fertiliser and could not afford three meals a day.
"They eat one meal a day. They have even given it a name. They call it one teleka (one pot) and they are saying now, we don't have three teleka but one teleka because there is real hunger. That is what I found in Petauke and that is what concerns me now," she said.
Siliya said when she was in Petauke, she also spoke with the general public and what she found were queues for ARVs because they were in short supply.
Siliya said patients were on monthly and weekly rations of drugs instead of three months in advance.
And commenting on revelations that the UPND wanted Siliya and Mwale, Kaingu yesterday wondered why the UPND had opted to start scoring in the MMD's goal when they were supposed to be a team.
"I am actually aware through The Post that our colleagues have approached our members for possible standing on their ticket in the forthcoming by-elections," Kaingu said. "The UPND have not discussed with us, to my knowledge. Unless they discussed with the other vice-president."
He said even if they discussed the issue with MMD leader Nevers Mumba, he would have been kept in the know because the matter fell directly under his political jurisdiction.
He said the UPND's argument that it worked well for the opposition when a member of the opposition resigns from his party and joins the UPND was questionable.
"I can't change their view but my views are that we are pockets of the same trousers. Does it really make sense? Does it make you change your position by taking money from one pocket into another pocket?" Kaingu asked. "Time will tell whether these modalities can work for the opposition because what is happening now is acrimony that is creeping into the opposition."
Kaingu said there was a ploy by the UPND and the PF to finish the MMD and he wondered why some of his members had made themselves vulnerable to being poached.
"We would not want to lose our members. If you were my relative, I don't think it would be good for you to be the one impregnating my children; let me use that metaphor. What I want from you is to be able to help me take the children to school," he said. "Our colleagues, they think that if we lose a member then it will be better for them. I have no evidence, they are enticing our members to join them."
Kaingu, who is also Mwandi MMD member of parliament, said the PF was going to consume the opposition parties if they continued operating in that manner.
"We constitute a team and then because someone believes that we must score then they start scoring in our own goal. I don't think that is a good team. Us and UPND are a team and I don't know why they are scoring in our goal," he said. "You saw that statement on TV by Bowman Lusambo and others. I don't know whether now the view of some of our members are such that we must interact with PF. Will it help our colleagues in the opposition if some of our members start speaking in the manner they are speaking?"
And UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa said the issue of approaching members of parliament from the MMD whose seats had been nullified to stand on the UPND ticket was not unprecedented following what transpired in the recently held Kapiri Mposhi and Lukulu West by-elections.
"It is not something new. There is nothing special about it," he said. "There is nothing strange about these overtures and these approaches. It is something that is normal to the two parties."
Mweetwa said these were stubborn facts that would remain like the reality that sunlight always appeared every day.
"It is also factual that in some constituencies when you go for by-elections, it is easier for PF to decampaign MMD as a party than it is for them to decampaign UPND as a party because UPND has never been in government but MMD was in government for 20 years," he said.
Mweetwa said by getting former MMD members of parliament to stand on the UPND ticket, it would reduce the effects of the anti-MMD campaign messages that the PF would be unleashing.

"It is too early and pre-emptive for us to say we can give it Petauke Central and Malambo to the MMD for now because we believe our party is strong. It is growing. Our party stands a better chance in terms of campaign messages on the ground," said Mweetwa.

"We can't cannibalise MMD. They are our partners in opposing the PF. I do believe that UPND is not going to act unilaterally. If the UPND is desirous of fielding any of the former MMD members of parliament, it is something which they will not do in the dark because you can't hide such things. They will have to negotiate."

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