There decision by the ruling PF to endorse commerce minister Margaret Mwanakatwe as parliamentary candidate for Lusaka Central Constituency has angered former vice-president Dr Guy Scott.
And Dr Scott says he will not go to the end of the world defending the PF for doing things which are contrary to what the people of Zambia want.
In an interview, Dr Scott said there was a lot of crap going on in his party, where Rupiah Banda was using his influence to push his agenda.
Dr Scott wondered what was so special about Mwanakatwe for the party to bend rules for her.
“What is she? Is she a central committee member? I think she has been made a member of the central committee, which is actually contrary to the rule. Our party rule is that you have to be a member for two and a half years to become member of the central committee; so what you are seeing here is obviously the [Rupiah] Banda push. This is Banda demanding payment for his electoral support last year and he is pushing his people,” Dr Scott said.
“So if she is now throwing her weight around, you can see there is a lot of potential for conflict in there. For example, what am I supposed to say? ‘Oh no please give me the seat?’ I haven’t been treated in a dignified way, so do I respond in a dignified way?”
He said some PF members who are close to President Edgar Lungu were bullying and frustrating others.
“These are the kinds of things that some of these people who are new to the game are not alert to. They think you can just bully and push anybody around just because you are in the central committee or you are in the so-called presidency office. How can they say ‘we have taken your seat’ and given someone who has nothing to do with PF ever, as far as I am aware? Maybe in MMD, she had something,” Dr Scott said.
“My complaint is can you explain to me what basis Mrs Mwanakatwe, or whatever her name is, the well-dressed banker in Bauleni, very elegant, saying, ‘Vote for me’? Apparently, there is a squabble going on in the central committee between the people who support me and realise that PF wouldn’t even be in power if I had not campaigned for it five times, and the people who think we are going to get rid of Scott because he is an embarrassment. There is just a lot of crap going on.”
Crap mean, something of extremely poor quality, nonsense, unwanted articles; rubbish or excrement, which in local language is matuvi.
He warned that there would be confusion and differences within PF in the next two to three weeks arising from adoptions.
“If it is worth having a fight about it, then good luck but I am not going to go in there on my knees and say ‘can you get this lady out of my constituency before she embarrasses herself’. She met me in Parliament the other day and said, ‘I am still waiting for your blessing’: am I a priest to give out blessings? The issue of whether I want to stand is my business; maybe I even want to put an application without wanting to stand,” Dr Scott said.
“It seems Margaret is more important than me that I don’t even have to be told as a courtesy. I was not told this, she came and told me herself. She actually came here about two weeks ago and said ‘I want your blessing’. I said ‘blessings for what?’ She said, ‘For me contesting Lusaka Central’. I said, ‘listen, I can’t support you to contest Lusaka Central because there are all kinds of people, councillors and so forth that I feel are priority over you when it comes to considering that’.”
He also dispelled reports that his wife was interested in contesting the Lusaka Central seat.
“I don’t think Charlotte can stand. She has her professional work. She left the UN when I became vice-president. She lost her career job, but I don’t think she can stand,” Dr Scott said.
He also warned that confusion could soon start in Munali Constituency between PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri who has declared interest to stand and gender minister Prof Nkandu Luo – the incumbent MP – who has also announced that she still has the energy to continue.
“We have other cases where somebody is being sidelined. Talking about Munali, first of all, Mumbi was originally given Munali to keep the seat warm for Nkandu Luo. When we went for it in 2001, Michael [Sata] said he wanted Nkandu Luo there and she said she was too busy, she had some work or something. So we took Mumbi Phiri and I helped her until we held the seat. Five years later, Nkandu Luo wanted the seat or agreed to take the seat. We said ‘sorry’ to Mumbi Phiri and we gave her a nice job in Kenya,” Dr Scott said.
And the former vice-president warned that the PF would be humiliated in the August elections if it continued tolerating things that seem normal to the party but unacceptable to the Zambians.
“We have been trying to separate the outsiders’ perceptions of Zimbabwe, from being the perception of Zambia because they mix the two. They get confused,” Dr Scott said.
“You have to be very careful if you are going to start tossing tear gas around and charging people at the drop of a heart because you can lose that reputation which affects all kinds of things. If they won’t look after you when you are in the country, are you going to invest in a country where they cannot look after your money?”
He said it was difficult for him to leave the ruling party because he helped build it, but said he would not go to the end of the world defending wrong things.
“PF is not something that I can just walk away from, it is like my own baby – 10 years of really quite difficult campaigning without resources, without most things that people tell you would need. It is very difficult to just quit something. You always hope things can recover, but I can’t go to the end of the world for the PF if it is doing a lot of things that we are against,” Dr Scott said.
He said it was a pity that the PF was targeting the UPND.
“It’s obvious that the UPND is being targeted, only a child cannot see that and I think it’s a pity. You can spoil a country’s reputation very quickly. This is the perception we have been trying to separate from, because we are confusing the people outside. This is going to lead to a lot of trouble, that is my instinct about it. I am writing a letter to Davis Chama, the secretary general of the party, and I intend to first of all alert him that this grade 12 business, I deeply disapprove of it. This is going back to colonial time when we had voters roll for whites and the voters roll for blacks,” Dr Scott said.
“It’s almost tempting to form a party called the ‘Under-12s’ because you would have more members than anybody else. Most of you don’t have a grade 12. Practically, I did my exams outside in Zimbababwe and I haven’t kept the certificate. So I have had to write to Cambridge office that keeps the results from the 1950s. They will come. But I am very averse participating in a discriminatory election. Maybe there is someone out there with a grade eight or nine certificate who can beat me but they will not get a chance.”
He said the drafter of the amended Constitution did not do a good job.
“The lawyers who drew up the constitution amendment, they are great snobs. They think they are the most educated people. So they basically started putting all sorts of qualifications. But you can imagine how many people don’t have a connection to get the certificates from Cambridge,” said Dr Scott.