Monday, July 22, 2013

Rupiah pumping money in Mtolo's campaign - Mangani
By Moses Kuwema in Lusaka and Christopher Miti in Chipata
Tue 09 July 2013, 14:01 CAT

LAMECK Mangani says former president Rupiah Banda has pumped a lot of money in Mtolo Phiri's campaign to ensure he loses the Chipata Central seat.

In an interview, Mangani, who is the Patriotic Front candidate for the July 25 Chipata Central by-election, said Banda was still interested in seeing him lose the seat.

"The message we are getting as PF on the ground is that MMD have got enough resources and these resources are from the former president. Remember, prior to the general elections in 2011, the former president swore that I will make sure that Lameck Mangani loses, so that interest may still be there this time to ensure that I lose the seat. In short, I am saying I cannot rule out the possibility of some money sneaking into this by-election," Mangani said.

Mangani also said each time the former president visited Chipata, he had always met with the MMD candidate Mtolo Phiri.

"There is nothing wrong with meeting Mtolo but it is easy to speculate that these meetings are meant to strategise for the Chipata Central by-election," he said.

Mangani, however, said with or without money, he was optimistic of winning the seat because the PF's message to the electorate was that of development.

"The message we are giving to the people is that you are sending a representative who is going to speak for you on issues that are affecting you. We are not changing government, there will still be a president called Michael Sata and there will still be a government running, so we have to associate ourselves with a government that is already there. I think that message is going on very well with the people," he said.

Meanwhile, the PF has accused the Chipata District Conflict Management Committee of sitting on their complaint about the use of former president Rupiah Banda's campaign regalia by the MMD in the ongoing campaigns in Chipata Central Constituency.

But conflict management committee chairperson Josphat Chipandwe says the PF's complaint will be tabled today.

In an interview yesterday, Bonnie Tembo, a member of the PF election committee said they wrote the conflict management committee last week but that there was no feedback.

Tembo said it was shocking that in Feira, the conflict management committee was very decisive on the similar matter and the issue was resolved.

"Here (in Chipata) we are told that they (conflict committee) are consulting Electoral Commission of Zambia. How long are they going to consult ECZ? I was just reading the story (in The Post) concerning the torn campaign materials. Now the question is when are they giving us the hearing concerning the Rupiah Banda regalia because he is a retired man. According to the presidential benefits act, it's a taboo for someone or an agent to start appearing as if someone is still in active politic," he said.

Tembo said the PF was just following the precedent set by Feira (Constituency in Luangwa district).

He said the PF would not sit idle but would engage the district electoral officer on the matter.

"If the conflict management committee will continue sitting on the reported conflict, then it won't help us. What will help us is dialogue. So that's the issue that we are waiting for as PF and we think that it's not fair for the committee to keep quiet. Coming from the advocacy and lobbying background, we don't just sit idle at all because we are also answerable to the higher authorities; they are also waiting," Tembo said.

He advised the conflict management committee to sit up because dialogue was key.

But Chipandwe wondered why the PF were complaining on the matter.

"Don't allow people to disturb the programme or distort the issue, they (PF) know very well they are coming tomorrow (today) maybe the one who is talking (complaining) would like to make issues out of nothing. Treat that as a dead issue, we are on it," said Chipandwe.

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