Chizyuka to explain the unexplained side of UPND/PF pact

Illas believe in spears

Illas believe in spears

Namwala member of parliament (MP) Robbie Chizukais says he will explain the issues surrounding the UPND and PF pact which have not been made public.

Major Chizyuka was suspended by the UPND last week for what they termed gross indiscipline and issuing derogatory remarks against PF president Michael Sata.

But now Chizyuka has decided to give his side of the story. He is scheduled to hold a press conference tomorrow (Tuesday) in Lusaka.

So far Chizyuka has expressed disappointment that UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has been ‘attacking’ him publicly and accusing him of being paid by the MMD to destabilise the pact.

Chizyuka says he is disappointed that the person he has been working tirelessly to make president of Zambia is the one fighting him.

Chizyuka, according to people close to him, has vowed that he and other UPND founding members will never allow PF leader Michael Sata to use UPND structures to ascend to power.

Chiayuka and other named MPs and senior party officials are convinced that Hichilema has ‘sold’ the party to Sata and that Sata will be the pact presidential candidate for 2011.

But who is major Robbie Chizyuka?

Illa by tribe, Chizyuka was Born in 1954 in Namwala district of Southern province. He hails from the same area as freedom fighter Harry Mwaamga Nkumbula.

He is an army officer who participated in actual battle during the liberation of Zimbabwe from Ian Smith in the late 1970s.

Chizyuka has a history of standing his ground and fighting to the bitter end.

Chizyuka came into prominence about 2003 when the regime of Levy Mwanawasa and Chief Nalubamba wanted to give land to some Italian businessmen in Moonze and Namwala districts for irrigation purposes.

The proposed irrigation project was to take up most of the cattle grazing areas that is used by villagers to graze cattle for Mbeza, Bweengwa and Kabulamwanda

The projeatc would have affected more than 3,000 people in three chiefdoms, Mungaila, Nalubamba and Haamusonde.

The Mbeza irrigation project, as it was called, aimed at cultivating various crops including rice, sorghum, chick peas in the plains of  the Kafue flats.

Villagers in these areas are mostly pastoral farmers who, during the dry season shift their cattle to Kafue flats where there is water and green grass for their animal to graze. At the end of the dry season, the cattle are returned. This has been going on from as long as these people have been living there.

The Mbeza project was a direct danger to this system as almost all the land in the plains was to become a farm for Italians. The people were confused and alarmed. The government and traditional leaders were on the side of the enemy. They had no one to lead them into battle.

Then suddenly stepped in one Major Robbie Chizyuka, hitherto unknown.

It is believed that he threatened to mobilse the people to arm themselves with spears as he engaged with government. He formed what he called Indigenous Peoples Rights Committee.

He was suddenly a hero in Namwala, Monze, Choma and Itezhi-Tezhi districts. The government felt the heat and within a short space of time abandoned the project. It was therefore not surprising that in 2006, when Chizyuka stood for election as MP, he sailed without difficulties.

But Chief Nalubamba of course was not happy. He went to court and sued Chizyuka for defamation.

But most relevant to the UPND/PF pact is that Chizhuka and PF leader Michael Sata have always had bad blood.

On April 28, 2004,  two years before Chizhuka became an MP, Sata said something about Illa dogs as he was trying to illustrate a point over corruption and Mwanawasa.

The PF leader was accusing  President Mwanawasa of shielding then deputy secretary to the Cabinet David Diangamo from being arrested for alleged plunder of the country’s resources. Sata said that President Mwanawasa had smelt a rat and was as scared as a rabbit fleeing an Ila dog.

Robbie Chizyuka responded the day after and warned to desist from issuing remarks that demean Illas.

He said Sata’s remarks were derogatory and wondered why a man who was aspiring for the high office could use such vulgar language.

“What have we done to Mr Sata to deserve such unpalatable, derogatory reference? After all the achievements the Ila and the Bantu Botatwe have contributed to the well-being of this nation, it raises passions which might
be too difficult to manage,” he said.

Maj Chizyuka said it was difficult to realise all the years Mr Sata had been in leadership under UNIP and the MMD he considered other tribes as dogs.

Maj Chizyuka said despite Mr Sata’s remarks the grouping would not refer to him in a derogatory manner but merely consider him a deeply entrenched tribalist.

He said no one on earth could save Mr Sata whom he described as a divisionist and separatist not worthy of the support of Zambians.

He warned that the grouping would make sure it campaigned against Sata as he was an example of a bad leader without the capacity to unite the country.

He said in other countries, wars had been fought on tribal lines arising from unwarranted statements of the nature made by Mr Sata.

But later while on Radio Phoenix’ Let the people talk’ programme a day later, Sata defended himself and said there were some dogs that Ilas had trained to catch only certain species of rats.

Sata explained that he saw the dogs when he campaigned for then Communications Minister Bates Namuyamba in Namwala during the 1991 general elections and referred to the dogs in that context.

He said he did not mean to insult the Ila people.

Share this post