Monday, February 10, 2014

Canisius refuses to give UPND details

By Kombe Chimpinde-Mataka
Fri 29 Nov. 2013, 14:01 CAT

UPND Kalomo member of parliament Request Mutanga says it is wrong for Dr Canisius Banda to go to State House and have a meeting with President Michael Sata without clearance from party leader Hakainde Hichilema.

And Dr Banda, who is UPND vice-president for politics, says he cannot divulge what he discussed with President Sata to UPND members because he holds the office of the President in very high esteem.

Meanwhile party deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa says he understands the speculation generated by Dr Banda's visit to State House as he (Mweetwa) had faced similar circumstances.

Muntanga, who is also UPND chairman for agriculture, said yesterday that Dr Banda was a senior member of the party who was aware of the party's position on such matters.

"Banda is a very senior member for our party and he knows that for him to go to Nkwazi House, he must inform the party. I want to hear from him. Why did he do that? He was telling the party only after they had known about it. He didn't tell us," Muntanga explained.

"Now if senior members like a vice-president can go to State House without clearing with his immediate boss,and report back, it is a problem. I have not spoken to him yet, but what I am saying is that he is causing this (speculation) on himself. You see, someone must be able to state clearly why they are going there. That is the problem."
Muntanga said that the PF, while in the opposition, did not tolerate such matters and that members that would even be seen receiving dignitaries from the government, would be punished.

"He has caused speculation because he knows our stand that if you are going to start going to State House,it would appear as though you have some links. It is very bad. Even during the time when the PF where in the opposition, them even the mere receiving of dignitaries at the airport, members were disciplined," he explained.

"You know this issue, is an issue of trust. We should be able to trust one another. It is a question of being clear what one is doing and them (party) to be sure of what you are doing. The question of clearance cannot be ignored. Mind you in government,even for the minister to leave Lusaka, they must seek permission from the President that they are travelling from Lusaka. Even at home, the husband will have to tell the wife that I am going this side. If everyone was to go to any party every time or to State House to consult, it is going to be a disorderly thing."

And Dr Banda said that he had resolved the issue of him going to State House where he met President Sata.

"I hold the office of the President in very high esteem. I cannot divulge the contents of the report that I submitted. I trust the Republican President, in his own time will act on it as he deems fit," Dr Banda said. "As far as I am concerned,this matter was discussed thoroughly at various levels and resolved."

Meanwhile Mweetwa, who is also UPND Choma member of parliament said Dr Banda's issue should be an internal matter.

"Many of us find ourselves insituations that from the perception of a by-stander or on-looker, appears to beat variance with the party position and what some members would have loved to see or not to see. It is normal," Mweetwa said. "For me who is in the media,there are several times I have issued statements that I have been accused of issuing because I am supporting PF. Out of parliament or within parliament and the party has called to enquire of statements that appear to be putting the party into ridicule. I have on several occasions been a subject of that."

Mweetwa said that he was not worried because he knew what he stood for.
"That has not dampened my morale because my role again requires me to defend the party while others are quiet. Those who keep quiet just evaluate what I say. I think this is also a time to also understand party philosophy. I am also aware that Dr Banda is a doctor, he has a profession. Now it is just a question of marrying professional undertaking by somebody and wearing a party gown," said Mweetwa.

Dr Banda met President Sata on November 15 to discuss national issues.The UPND leadership wants to know why Dr Banda did not inform them of the visit and what he discussed.But Dr Banda said he would not tell them.

Dr Banda recently ditched MMD for UPND where he was given the portfolio of vice-president for politics.

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