Sata to dangle vice presidency to Lozis

A SCHEME has surfaced in which Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata is dangling the republican vice-presidency to the Lozi people of Western Province as a way of gaining electoral favour when he has reserved the position for a fellow tribesman who has heavily financed the party, according to the Zambia Daily Mail.

But the MMD has dismissed the ploy as politics of desperation, which will not succeed in deceiving the people of Western Province.

Sources close to Mr Sata’s family said the PF leader has pledged to keep the two top party positions within his family circles, but has seen Western Province as a fertile hunting ground for votes, buoyed by a tabloid that is fomenting Lozi hatred against President Banda’s administration.

“As a family, we are keeping this under wraps. We are all saying “don’t kubeba” (don’t tell them) until we win this year’s election, which we can’t win without the help of the Lozi people. So, the idea is to use them as much as possible, and then we get what belongs to us,” said the source, who is MrSata’s nephew.

Mr Sata’s scheme in Western Province is reported to include promising that he will restore the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, which he has previously opposed.

But because of the contentious nature of the Agreement, Mr Sata’s overtures in the province are said to have touched off angry reactions from non-Lozi people in the region who have ganged up to campaign against the PF.

“Upon realising the perils of relying on the Barotseland Agreement as the focus of our campaign in the Western Province, we have changed our stance by promising to hand the vice-presidency to the Lozi people, and this has so far gone very well,” the source said.

He said it was for the same reason of trying to please the Lozis and laundering MrSata’s tainted image among the people of Western Province that the PF leader appointed Mrs Inonge Wina as the party’s national chairperson.

Among the purported front-runners for the republican vice-presidency, should the PF win this year’s presidential and general elections, are Mrs Wina and a chief executive officer of a local tabloid which has been orchestrating a daily smear campaign against President Banda.

Also in contention is Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) president Charles Milupi, whom Mr Sata is reported to be frantically trying to coerce into an alliance following the collapse of the PF-UPND pact.

Mr Milupi, who is Luenamember of Parliament, is seen as a strong political force capable of helping the PF penetrate the province, which historically has had difficulties accepting MrSata.

After the collapse of the PF-UPND pact, Mr Sata was quoted as describing UPND president Hakainde Hichilema and his fellow Tongas as people who used their tribe to think and assume positions of influence.

This remark sparked a bitter outcry among the Tonga people, some of whom have vowed to ensure Mr Sata is not allowed to hoodwink the Zambian people.

Tongas are traditional cousins of Lozis and share close ties, politically or otherwise.

It is not clear whether MrMilupi would agree to work with Mr Sata, given the PF leader’s highly publicised acrimonious relationship with Mr Hichilema.

“Whatever the case, we are on course, and the veiled message in our strategy is that the Lozis give us the votes and we deliver the republican vice-presidency to them. But because the Lozi people can be quite unreliable, the big man (Mr Sata) cannot entrust them with the vice-presidency,” said MrSata’s nephew.

The man earmarked for the republican vice-presidency in case of a PF victory is a Lusaka-based businessman, who has soundly financed the PF and has gained public notoriety over his record of gender-based violence.

“We are too smart for the Lozi people. Mr Sata is usually frustrated to realise that the Lozis want to hold Zambians to ransom and behave as though the country owes them a fortune. He has told us in confidence that he will just dribble them for votes as he is under no constitutional obligation to appoint any specific person as vice-president.

Last week, PF members were angered by reports that Mr Sata has allegedly imposed his son, Mulenga, to contest the Lusaka Central parliamentary seat in the forthcoming general elections, with most of them wondering why the party is being turned into family property.

And MMD national secretary Richard Kachingwe said it is clear that Mr Sata is practising politics of desperation.

Major Kachingwe said the people of Zambia will elect their leaders based on performance and not promises.

He said President Banda has performed well, and has some projects to point at in his campaign.

“While some people are promising to put more money in the pockets of Zambians, President Banda has already done so by buying crops from farmers, empowering citizens in various ways and has also constructed schools and hospitals,” Maj Kachingwe said.

He wondered why MrSata’s politics are based on tribe.

“If he thinks he will get support because of these unnecessary promises, it will not work. The people of Zambia see beyond that, and they will decide to vote for a leader of their choice,” he said.

Maj Kachingwe said MrSata was part of a Cabinet committee that opposed the independence of the Barotseland and, therefore, should not turn around for the sake of votes.

He, however, said the people of Western Province are educated enough not to fall prey to sugar-coated false promises.

And DORIS KASOTE reports that MMD spokesperson Dora Siliya said the people of Western Province will not be cheated by Mr Sata because they can see through him and Mr Milupi.

ZAMBIA DAILY MAIL

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