PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has said Zambia is not at war for the Government to procure arms worth US$100 million.
He challenged former Defence minister George Mpombo to prove to the nation that he resigned from Government because he could not agree with the alleged decision to award an arms supply?contract to his son’s South African business associates.
Responding to questions from journalists at City Airport in Lusaka yesterday shortly before his departure for Solwezi, President Banda challenged the Kafulafuta member of Parliament (MP) to produce the letter where he was instructed to procure the arms.?He said allegations by Mr Mpombo were false because no such transaction ever transpired.?
“I have refused to answer that man because I think there is some insanity in him. The letter he wrote to tell us that he was resigning doesn’t have that.?“He should tell you, prove to you because I am not the one who said that. Let him prove to you that there was something like that.
Besides that, you know very well that we have not procured arms worth US$100 million,” he said.?He said Zambia was not at war for the Government to procure arms worth US$100 million.?“Ask him to give you a letter in which he resigned. What did he say in that letter? Or let him produce a letter where I told him that we should procure arms worth US$100 million.
“Where would we get US$100 million for arms? Our country is not at war to procure arms,” he said.?President Banda wondered why Mr Mpombo was a bitter man when he resigned from Government on his own.?“He left on his own now chimubaba, yamunokola njala (meaning: he is hurt, he has been stricken by hunger),” he said.?
But Mpombo told the Post newspaper athat, this “chap” Rupiah Banda lies through his teeth.
Mpombo said it was actually President Banda who had gone bonkers. “He is the one who is actually mad.
And very clearly he is degenerating into a situation called senile-dementia and the man has no morality. It is a serious disadvantage to this nation. He wants proof to be produced, obviously he won’t get that in my letter of resignation but there is enough proof both at Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Defence,” Mpombo said.
He said President Banda permitted him to travel to South Africa to negotiate the deal because no minister could travel out of the country without the President’s permission.
Mpombo said he travelled to South Africa with army specialists and the defense attaché Brig Gen Chapewa. He said the leaders of the group from South Africa were Miles Chambers and New Business Development president Sally Gallagher.
“In fact, when we were in South Africa, the Mail & Guardian newspaper reported that this same company was involved in the arms supply scandal in South Africa and we were warned to be careful,” Mpombo said.
“This was brought to our attention by people in South Africa that ‘this is a very dirty company and these are very good friends to James Banda President Banda’s son’.” Mpombo said finance minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane was aware about the deal because there were documents at his ministry on the arms proposals.
He said Ministry of Defence permanent secretary Nicholas Kwendakwema and then deputy minister Dr Eustarkio Kazonga warned that they smelt a rat in the deal.
Mpombo said President Banda was therefore just bluffing by attacking him instead of responding to the issues he raised. He said the nation knew the role President Banda played in other deals like the one involving RP Capital Partners.
Mpombo said the nation also knew the role President Banda’s other son, Henry played in the deal. “To say that njala President Banda’s attack on him that he was hungry is the clearest sign that the President has gone bonkers, because since I left government I have been able to look after myself.