PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has a small brain, UPND president Hakainde Hichilema charged yesterday, accroding to the Post newspaper.
And Hichilema wondered whether the MMD wants opposition political parties to train their own armies to protect them from violent ruling party cadres.
Reacting to President Banda’s statement in Milanzi last week that he was deceiving himself that he would be the presidential candidate of the PF-UPND pact when in fact Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata is the one who is going to be the Pact’s candidate, Hichilema said the PF-UPND pact was itching President Banda.
“The issue of Sata being a president is not there. It’s a non-issue. The man President Banda is ignorant; he is ignorant in the way he talks. We have already told the people of Zambia that when the time comes to choose a presidential candidate, we will sit down, we will negotiate, we will choose a candidate. We have not done that,“ Hichilema said in a telephone interview from Kasempa district in North Western Province where he was campaigning for the UPND in local government by-elections.
“Anybody who tells you that somebody is a candidate; if he tells you Hakainde is a candidate, he is lying. If he tells you Sata is a candidate, that person has a small brain because we have said this over and over again, again and again. Only a dull person, only a person with a small brain may not understand that this is the position we have given. The only reason that Rupiah talks about it Pact is because he is scared. I am in Kasempa where they are saying it is their stronghold, people want change.”
Hichilema advised President Banda against passing derogatory remarks against younger politicians because they would retaliate.
“On the issue of Rupiah Banda insulting us and criticising us, the first comment I want to make is that there is an old man called Rupiah Bwezani Banda who goes out on platforms insulting us and when we respond he claims that we are insulting him. He is hiding behind old age to abuse his political competitors. That is unacceptable,” Hichilema said.
“Rupiah Banda is preoccupied talking about the Pact. If the Pact is useless, why is he spending time talking about it? It means that the Pact is itching him. He knows that the Pact is taking him out of government in 15 months’ time.”
Addressing a campaign rally at Kawaza in Milanzi constituency last Thursday, President Banda said: “If you take Mr Sata the president of the PF and the one who is going to stand for the PF-UPND Pact who is going to be the presidential candidate is Mr Sata. It is not Hakainde, he may deceive himself and think he will be the next president. The one who is going to stand is Sata.”
On political violence in Mufumbwe, Hichilema said the MMD with the help of the police were perpetuating violence.
“The MMD with the help of the police have been attacking our campaign camps where they have stolen diesel, food and basically items that they should have not taken from our camps,” Hichilema said. “Yesterday Monday, when I arrived, there was a court session for our cadres.
When we raised the complaint to the police, the police locked up the complainants, our cadres. It’s quite a strange behaviour. It’s quite unfortunate that the police are being a department of the MMD.”
Hichilema revealed that UPND cadres, who were arrested by the police after a fracas last Friday in Matushi area, were released on bail on Monday after a court appearance.
“After that I went to the police to complain that the people that were attacked were the ones that were locked up. One of the attackers was the MMD councillor in Mufumbwe but when we were at court this councillor showed up. Even when there was a docket opened up against him as an aggressor, the police were just looking at him and our cadres had to apprehend the councillor and we took him to the police station,” Hichilema explained.
“Frankly speaking, there is degeneration of law and order coming from the police and MMD cadres, which is very unfortunate. I don’t know what the MMD wants us to do. They want us to protect ourselves by training our own armies. I don’t know. I don’t know what they want this country to be? To break down into a chaotic country, I don’t know?
Hichilema said the MMD was showing signs that UNIP had just before it lost power in 1991.
“Citizens must understand that if the party begins to behave like that, their time is up. That is how UNIP was behaving in the late 1980s, in the early 1990s,” Hichilema said. “Basically, MMD has experienced a bloodless coup because UNIP has staged coup d’état by taking over MMD; William Banda, Rupiah Banda these are the mannerisms that they have brought to MMD.”
Hichilema also claimed that the MMD had illegally set up campaign camps at about 25 polling stations out of 40 polling stations in the constituencies.
“They are occupying schools that are designated as polling stations. They have put their campaigners there. The electoral Act does not allow that,” Hichilema protested. “Yesterday Monday, I went to the police to raise that complaint and you will be surprised that the police said that was beyond their control because the Ministry of Education has allowed the MMD to occupy polling stations.”
Hichilema called on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to remove the MMD because if they do not do that, the PF-UPND members would remove the MMD campaigners by force, which might lead to confrontations.
“Everybody is only allowed to camp 100 metres away from the polling station but in this case the MMD are occupying the polling stations themselves, cooking from there,” Hichilema said. “What law and order are the police protecting?”
UPND and MMD cadres fought in Mufumbwe last week and several people, including police officers, were injured and property damaged.
On ECZ spokesperson Chris Akufuna’s dismissal of his condemnation of President Banda’s campaign-driven directive to ministers to expedite the tarring of Mutanda-Chavuma road, Hichilema accused Akufuna of siding with the MMD.
“Who does he work for? Rupiah Banda or the people of Zambia?” asked Hichilema. “Chris Akufuna is partial, he is bias. He has started taking sides. What has Akufuna has to say about MMD occupying polling stations? The MMD are cooking from the polling stations.”