Saturday, February 22, 2014

Andrew advises UPND, MMD to form alliance
By Stuart Lisulo
Sun 01 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

ANDREW Banda says UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and his MMD counterpart Nevers Mumba should 'cease-fire' and form an alliance if the opposition is to win the 2016 polls.

But Mumba says it would be 'premature' to speak on the matter now. In an interview, Banda, who is a member of the MMD, said the time was right for both parties to put aside any differences, unite and form an alliance if the country was to have a strong opposition.

"I am actually flabbergasted that at a time when the country needs a strong opposition, some people are saying they can do it on their own. Nobody can do it on their own - none of the two can do it on their own. So mutual respect is very cardinal here; appreciating one's strength and weakness, and those that are in it for themselves (that is what is being exhibited) must be isolated," Banda said.

He said the country had now reached a level where strong 'checks and balances' were needed in order to hold the government to account.

"We need a strong, united opposition. We are all affected by a lack of delivery of farming inputs, lack of employment, load shedding and these issues of HIV/AIDS and strikes; that should be what bring us closer together as Zambians. So, when you see opposition leaders who are not agreeing to work together to check the PF, the responsibility will be now for Zambians to separate those that are selfish so they can lead on their own. What is happening now is very sad; one day you hear somebody from MMD attacks the UPND, then there's a counter-attack; in who's interest are they doing this? Meanwhile, the majority of the people are relishing for a strong opposition," he said.

Andrew, one of Rupiah Banda's sons, said it was important for the electorate to analyse and watch the two leaders in the opposition and assess whether they truly had the nation's interest at heart.

"If leaders in the opposition are failing to work together, they must be identified so that they can lead themselves. Zambians must pull towards uniting and rallying behind one leader that has the capacity to deliver the country to its rightful place," he said.

And in analysing recent by-election results, and the 'regional politics' at play, Andrew said it only 'made sense' for both opposition leaders to engage positively.

"I don't have any doubt that the MMD's strength lies in the East province, but if that is not managed properly (in Vubwi) and if they don't talk to each other, definitely they will split the vote. Eastern Province is a different ball game to Mansa. They still need to continue dialoguing about how to approach Vubwi and Malambo," he said.

But Mumba said speaking on the matter now would 'jeopardise' any opportunities around the issue.

"Of course our members can speak, just like Andrew has spoken and even from the UPND they'll speak, but I cannot speak now because we are going to be the final people to make a statement. So if I speak now, it'll be premature," said Mumba.

And when contacted, Hichilema said he could not comment on the issue of forming an alliance.

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