President Rupiah Banda on Sunday appealed to politicians to avoid using the name of the late President, Levy Mwanawasa, to gain political mileage.
President Banda said he was shocked to read comments attributed to opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema that President Mwanawasa was a good leader. He said Hichilema and his supporters called the late President all sorts of names and refused to work with him when he was alive.
President Banda said the late President had asked to work with Hichilema and the UPND when he was alive but the opposition leader refused, saying President Mwanawasa was an incompetent leader. President Banda observed that Hichilema abused the late Mwanawasa when he was alive by constantly attacking his performance and personality.
“It was, therefore, surprising that Mr. Hichilema was now trying to exploit the name of the late President to advance his political career, reads a statement from presidsent Banda’ office.
President Banda said he has information that Mr. Hichilema has now agreed to be Vice-President of the UPND/PF pact, allowing the PF leader, Michael Sata, to be the presidential candidate in the forthcoming general elections in 2011. The President said that this was contrary to what Hichilema had promised the people of Southern Province. He said it was clear that Hichilema has now become very desperate and power-hungry to the extent that he has forgotten what he used to say about the late President Mwanawasa.
President Banda, however, advised Hichilema that the people of Southern Province have the right to choose a leader of their own choice.
“Mr. Hichilema cannot, therefore, decide on behalf of the Southern Province and impose his political preference for a President on them,’ said president Banda in an email statement sent from Nice, France where he is.
He said there was nothing wrong with the statement attributed to Parliamentary Chief Whip Vernon Mwaanga, that some Districts in Southern Province have resolved to support the ruling MMD. He said Hichilema is not the spokesperson of the people of Southern Province. Therefore, he should not impose his political views on innocent people.