THE MMD in Eastern Province has unearthed a scheme in which Chipata Central member of Parliament and deputy minister for Works and Supply Lameck Mangani’s wife, Mary, has allegedly been promising a man challenging the current Chief Chikuwe, that the Patriotic Front (PF) will give him the throne if he campaigns for its president, Michael Sata to take power.
Mrs Mangani has allegedly been working with a member of the Eastern Province MMD executive committee to lure people in the chiefdom into defecting to the PF, using the dispute surrounding the chieftaincy, according to a government broadsheet the Daily Mail.
However, the two women’s mission is reported to have flopped after their major target, Mr Maron Mbewe, who has contested the Chikuwe chieftaincy in court, rejected their overture and informed MMD leaders about their attempt to lure him and other people to the PF.
And MMD Eastern Province chairperson Kennedy Zulu says the revelation has answered questions the party raised when Mr Mangani held a private meeting with former Minister of Lands Judith Kapijimpanga just a few days after the latter defected from the MMD to the PF.
It is alleged that MrsMangani has been working with MMD Eastern Province vice chairlady Deborah Kamanga in her campaigns for Mr Sata and that on April 14, the two were on a campaign trail in Chief Chikuwe’s area, trying to capitalise on the succession wrangle in the chiefdom to garner support for the PF leader.
Former MMD Chipata district secretary Samuel Phiri said on April 20 that Mrs Mangani and Ms Kamanga informed people in the chiefdom, located in Chipata’s Kasenengwa Constituency, that President Banda is not interested in resolving the succession wrangle or helping Mr Mbewe to become Chief Chikuwe.
Mr Phiri said the pair then told the people to vote for Mr Sata, whom they claimed will resolve the succession dispute, and that President Banda has done nothing in the last two years he has been in power.
“I challenge the two to prove their innocence on the matter because the evidence against them is overwhelming.
People in the chiefdom are upset with the behaviour of these two unreliable women and I urge the party leadership in the province to flash out such people because they are misleading people and tarnishing our party’s image in the province,” Mr Phiri said.
He said Mrs Mangani and Ms Kamanga’s conduct is unpatriotic and tantamount to being in bad standing with the party.
“They are bad seeds who can easily contaminate innocent MMD members. As MMD in Eastern Province, we will not tolerate the behaviour of the two. They don’t mean well for President Banda and the party, and I challenge them to show where their loyalty lies because they seem to be anti-MMD,” he said.
And former Kasenengwamember of Parliament Timothy Nyirenda confirmed that he was present when Mr Mbewe’s envoys reported the activities of the two women to the MMD leaders.
“Yes, it is true that the report was made and I was present when men from Mr MaronMbewe made the report,” Mr Nyirenda said.
When reached for comment, MrsMangani denied campaigning for Mr Sata.
She said her involvement in the running of women’s clubs since 2007 has forced her to go round the province and that some people mistook her frequent trips for campaign trails.
“I am not a politician, and I am not interested in campaigning for PF or MMD. We need to go round so that we can check on how these clubs are running, it’s not that we are campaigning,” Mrs Mangani said.
And Ms Kamanga said she is not aware of the matter.
And MMD Eastern Province chairperson Kennedy Zulu said the revelation has shed some light on Mr Mangani’s meeting with Mrs Kapijimpanga.
Mr Zulu said the MMD provincial leadership will soon meet and chart the way forward because Mrs Mangani may not be working alone.
He said the leaders will also summon Mr Mangani, who is also Deputy Minister of Works and Supply, because it is not possible that his wife can be involved in such activities without the husband’s knowledge.
Mr Zulu said the party leadership is also aware that Mr Mangani has allegedly been wooing his supporters in Chipata Central Constituency to follow him when he defects from the MMD.
He said it is sad that Mr Mangani can be seen to be fighting the MMD and President Banda.
“The fact that he lost an election at the MMD national convention doesn’t mean that is the end of the road. He should just concentrate on his constituency and continue serving as deputy minister.
These allegations are serious. We have verified them and found that they are true,” he said.
But Mr Mangani wondered how his wife could ask people to campaign for PF when her husband is a serving minister in the MMD Government.
He said it was not possible for Mrs Mangani to campaign in Chikuwe, which is in Chipangali Constituency, when he (Mr Mangani) is member of Parliament for Chipata Central.
“I really doubt that story. What I know is that she has been busy meeting women’s clubs. They got some money from the CEEC (Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission) and she told me she was going to check how far the clubs have gone with the balances on the loans,” he said.
Mr Mangani said nobody had told him anything about his wife trying to lure anyone to vote for Mr Sata, and promised to find out if it is true.
“I have spoken to my wife and she looked surprised. She told me the story seems to be a fabrication,” he said.
He said Mrs Mangani oversees 92 women’s clubs as patron while Ms Kamanga is the chairlady of the Chipata Central Women in Development Association.
“My wife was in Eastern Province for only a week, and has been accompanied by Ms Kamanga only once,” he said.