VJ is overstepping his limits – Hichilema

UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema yesterday said a pact between the MMD and UPND is not possible.

Reacting to MMD parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga’s statement that UPND members in 11 districts in Southern Province want an alliance between the UPND and MMD, Hichilema dismissed Mwaanga’s assertions.

“It is not possible because MMD is on its way out. UPND is on its way in with PF as a pact. So why would I be a prostitute? When Levy Mwanawasa was alive, Levy Mwanawasa may his soul rest in peace, in my assessment was a better president than Rupiah Banda. Levy Mwanawasa offered me to work with him, I declined,” Hichilema said. “Why should Hakainde work with Rupiah Banda when I have less confidence in his ability to run the country? I had more confidence in Levy to run the country yet I did not agree to join Levy. I did it on principle! There are times that you are in opposition. There are times that you are put into public office. Our time is coming. We are patient enough, it’s only 15 months from now.”

He said Mwaanga does not run UPND.

Hichilema said the UPND national management committee (NMC) made a conscious decision to go into a pact with PF.

“Mwaanga must learn to know his limits. He is overstepping his limits because the decision to go into a pact with PF is not his. He must also know that in the national management committee of UPND there are people from Southern Province who come from the grassroots,” Hichilema said. “Unlike him, he doesn’t know the grassroots. He left the grassroots about 50 years ago. UPND decides using its democratic structures who to go into a pact with and Mwaanga shall not change that. Mwaanga is divorced from the people of Southern Province. After 50 years today, he wants to represent the people of Southern Province. I don’t think he understands how Southern Province works. He detached himself 50 years ago I don’t think he understands Southern Province. He may have relatives but it doesn’t mean he understands… those people endorsed the pact.”

He maintained that the UPND held a general assembly, which endorsed the pact.

“The general assembly sent representatives from Southern Province and they generally endorsed the pact overwhelmingly, the minutes are there. So which people of Southern Province is he representing now? Which village is he representing?” Hichilema asked. “I don’t think he understands what those people want. Those people like other Zambians, they want development. I don’t think VJ understands those things. I am being polite, I choose to be polite in answering VJ, that’s the choice I make so I hope he will not misconstrue me.”

Hichilema said it was clear that the MMD was having sleepless nights over the pact.

“VJ was saying that pacts or alliances in Africa don’t work. But in the same vein he says UPND and MMD must work together. Isn’t that a contradiction? What did they have with those parties in 2008?” Hichilema asked.

On Wednesday in Livingstone, Mwaanga said his recent trips and meetings with Southern Province chiefs, the business community and other stakeholders revealed that people wanted an alliance between the MMD and UPND.

Mwaanga said Southern Province could only successfully produce a Republican president in 2016 through an alliance between UPND and MMD.

“I have travelled to ten or so district in Southern Province and I have met chiefs, many headmen, farmers and the business community and the general view I have gathered is that people of Southern Province want to see an alliance with the MMD as opposed to PF. This is a general view I have gathered as a result of the consultations I have had,” said Mwaanga in an interview at Zambezi Sun Hotels.

Asked whether or not he would push for a coalition between the UPND and MMD if approached, Mwanga said he would encourage the MMD to go into that alliance as long as the UPND agreed.

“I would encourage my party to enter into talks with the UPND as long as the UPND shows willingness. It is not about personalities, it is about Zambia,” he said.

He said Zambians must scrutinise all leaders ahead of next year’s general elections so that they could vote for those that did not insult others.

“As we prepare for the 2011 elections I hope that the Zambian people including the media will scrutinise the leaders on what they say in terms of content and substance instead of calling each other names. Zambians are not interested in insults but service delivery. They are interested in what leaders will do in the agriculture, road infrastructure, Zambians are not looking for people who are insulting others,” Mwaanga said.

He added that coalitions or pacts had greater chances of failing in Africa due to political parties’ differences in ideologies and policies.

“Coalitions and pacts are not easy especially with issues of policy and ideologies. Coalitions or pacts have greater probability of failure on the African continent as the manifestos are diametrically opposed. Others would be championing socialism, while others want us to return to nationalisation. These have to be harmonised to sell one common agenda,” he said.

Mwaanga also said the UPND’s manifesto was stolen from the MMD as the people who wrote it came from the ruling party.

“The general view of people is that the MMD and the UPND have similar policies, as opposed to the PF who are threatening to nationalise companies such as Zamtel to name a few but there are many others,” he said. “The MMD and the UPND have similar policies because the UPND manifesto was written by people who came from the MMD, they stole ideas from the MMD. So the general perspective is that the only way we can have a president from the province is for UPND to go into a coalition with the MMD.

“If you recall what President Rupiah Banda said when he went to open the nickel mine in Mazabuka, he said that Southern Province had the right to produce a president in future. In my view the only credible thing for Southern Province to produce a president probably by 2016 is to go into an alliance with the UPND as opposed to the PF.”

He said Zambia had recorded gains economically which should be sustained by making the private sector the driving engine.

“We need to improve the roads, we need to see the agriculture sector develop, we need to see growth in commerce, public financing, road development and general infrastructure in the entire Zambia. Zambians are looking for service delivery,” Mwaanga said.

On the appointment of Lundazi UNIP parliamentarian Mkhondo Lungu as home affairs minister, Mwaanga said the Constitution stated that the President would appoint ministers from within Parliament.

“I would like to congratulate my brother Honorable Lungu on his appointment as new Minister of Home Affairs although he is not MMD. Unlike what is being portrayed in some sector of the media that the appointment was not constitutional, I would like to say that the appointment was done in the confines of the Constitution,” said Mwaanga.

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