President Edgar Lungu has brought back Japhen Mwakalombe to stand as PF in Chongwe I a by-election Lungu is plotting to cause.
Lungu wants Mwakalombe to start an early campaign to ensure that Sylva Masebo loses her seat at all costs. Mwakalombe is currently in the country and is supposed to start meeting traditional leaders in Chongwe to kick start his campaign.
But Mwakalombe has no backbone. In 2011, Rupiah Banda rigged elections for him in Chongwe but he resigned after a few days and accused Rupha and others of forcing him to stand against his cousin Masebo. Late Sata then gave him a job as ambassador to Mozambique.
Below is what Mwakalombe said after resigning.
NEWLY-elected MMD Chongwe member of parliament Japhen Mwakalombe yesterday resigned and declared that he will not recontest the seat. Commenting on yesterday’s Post story that former Chongwe member of parliament Sylvia Masebo had directed her lawyers to petition the results of the September 20 parliamentary election, Mwakalombe said the story was now overtaken by events because he had decided to resign as member of parliament.
“Yes, I have seen that article in the newspaper but I can say the article has now been overtaken by events because I have decided to resign as member of parliament. I want to concentrate on rebuilding my relationship with the family,” Mwakalombe said.
He said anyone had the right to petition election results whenever they were aggrieved.
“But I want to mention that it is very imperative to understand that Hon Masebo is my first cousin. For that reason, I feel that it is not good that I go with my elder sister in court with regards to elections,” Mwakalombe said.
“It is very important that this should be resolved at a family level, especially that in the first place it was not hundred per cent free will for me to stand for elections. But now, since the people who wanted me to stand are not there, I feel that it is imperative that I understand that yes I could have won the election but how am I going to deliver?
“There are a lot of people in Chongwe who need development and I feel that because of this, it is time for me to go back to reality. And the reality in this case is that I need to harmonise my personal relationship with my elder sister Masebo and Her Royal Highness senior Chieftainess Nkomeshya who is our mother who has guided us from the time we were born to today.
“I actually feel haunted that my relationship with my blood relatives has gone sour. At this point in time, I want to take this opportunity to announce, from my personal feelings, that I have today resigned as member of parliament for Chongwe and will not re-contest the seat on any party ticket.
I want to ensure that the people of Chongwe are served by a member of parliament who is going to come. And I want to appeal to the people of Chongwe that it is important that they vote for Hon Masebo since she is the person who is very well known in that constituency. She has worked with the people well.”
Mwakalombe also said it was important to understand that Masebo understands the problems that people have in Chongwe.
“Therefore, I would like to urge all our MMD councillors to work with the incoming member of parliament Hon Masebo so that they can bring development to the people,” he said. “The MMD government lost the elections and since we lost this election, there is no other way that development is going to come to Chongwe.
In Chongwe there is a problem of tarring Chalimbana and Leopards Hill Road. And there is no member of parliament who can use his pocket to do this. This means that there is need to have good rapport with the member of parliament who is going to have access to government resources so that she brings development to the people.”
Mwakalombe said another issue of great concern to the people of Chongwe was the lack of high schools in the area.
“All these things can only be done by the government. That is why for me I am saying that I would like to dedicate my time to reconcile with my sister and the Royal Highness and also to take this opportunity to apologise to the Soli Royal Establishment and all the chiefs in Lusaka Province,” Mwakalombe said.
“Yes, during the campaigns I could have injured their feelings in one way or another. I could have injured the feelings of Hon Masebo. But I want to take this opportunity to apologise for I know that blood is thicker than water and it is important that we live in harmony for the betterment of our people.
“If the royal establishment, if my sister Hon Masebo feels that at some point she wants me to come and take over from her, I would do that. But next time, I would like to have the blessings of the royal establishment so that when I take the position my conscience would be very happy because I would have not antagonized anyone.”
Asked about Masebo’s contention in her petition that the MMD abused public resources, Mwakalombe said the abuse may have taken place although he was not aware of any.
” But you should also remember that I didn’t have any intention in the first place to contest the Chongwe seat so I am not aware of any abuse of public resources,” Mwakalombe said. “This could have happened but I want to mention that it happened without my full knowledge. If it happened indeed, then it is so saddening. Even on that ground, morally as a good leader, you can be happy that you have won but there are contentious issues.
On moral ground, the good thing to do is to resign so that the law can take its course. Being a member of parliament is being a representative of the people so you need to be widely accepted by the people. In short, you must be appreciated by the people, not just to be put as a stooge. These are some of the things I feel I should not be encountering if I have to work better for my people.”