Soldier responds to General Miyanda

The following statement was sent to the Watchdog by State House.

Maj. Gen. V.B. Banda, the writer of this statement was deputy army commander under Kenneth Kaunda.

Brig. Gen. Miyanda was a very senior member of the Army. He was also a very senior member of the MMD Government where he was a Vice President. It can therefore be safely concluded that he was privy to what President Chiluba was doing in as far as defence and security matters were concerned. It is therefore disturbing now to pose as a champion of righteousness while he did nothing to prevent the precedence being set on such matters. He is being hypocritical by pretending that he has not been aware that some opposition party leaders have been trying to get political mileage over senior officers who were perceived to have overstayed at the expense of the advancement of the juniors.

Brig. Gen. Miyanda is misleading the nation that there is no law that empowers the President to retire officers in the manner he has done. Even the conditions of service he is referring to are governed by the law.

There are a number of examples to substantiate the above statement as follows:

About a week before elections in 1991, I, Maj. Gen. V. B. Banda, received a call from Mr. Michael Sata on my direct line in the office complaining that we were harassing their supporters in the barracks and that when they form Government the following week, I would be fired. I made a verbal report to my Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Francis Sibamba.

Retirement of senior officers – 1991

People may not be aware that about a week or so, after MMD came into power in 1991, President Chiluba summoned Commanders of the Army, Zambia Air Force and the Zambia National Service. The Deputy Commanders of the three services were also summoned. From the Army were Lt. Gen. Francis Sibamba and his Deputy Maj. Gen. Villiano Banda, from Airforce were Lt. Gen. Herbert Simutowe and Maj. Gen. Haabula Kaipi Mudenda, from Zambia National Service were Maj. Gen. Dickson Zulu and Brig. Gen. Francis Mulenga.

When we got to State House, we were met by Brig. Gen. Godfrey Miyanda who I later came to conclude that he was there to confirm that the right people had come to meet the President. The meeting with President Chiluba had no agenda and Gen. Miyanda did not attend the meeting. The President opened the meeting by merely stating that he wanted to merely meet us and be given a general overview of the defence forces “after that the President gave us the last supper”.
About a week after the meeting with the President, we woke up to a rude shock. As we got to our offices, we found they were occupied overnight by the new appointed Commanders and their Deputies. Two Brigade Commanders from the Army had their offices also occupied overnight and their names are Brig. Gen. Harry Phiri and Brig. Gen. Eric Wamunyima. From the Air Force an equivalent of Brigade Commander Col. Aggrey Simpito had his office also occupied. Later in the afternoon, he retired Maj. Gen. Tom Fara, Maj. Gen. Weston Chanda, Maj. Gen. George Zyongwe. In total, more than 12 Generals were retired.

If that was not the precedence set by the Government in which General Miyanda was a senior member with a worth of military background then one wonders what else.

General Miyanda’s statement also smacks of hypocrisy. Many a times starting from the Late President Mwanawasa, some opposition political leaders have openly castigated the President for keeping officers in the defence forces on contract at the expense of their juniors progress. Since officers as Miyanda says serve according to conditions of service as he claims, how come he has not challenged such leaders for making statements that are tatamount to demoralizing members of the defence forces.

Maj. Gen. V.B. Banda

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