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Former Zambian Defense Minister Defiant Following Ouster

  • James Butty

Zambia’s former defense minister George Mpombo says his expulsion from the ruling MMD Party is a decision of political desperation by the leadership of President Rupiah Banda.

Zambian President Rupiah Banda

Zambian President Rupiah Banda

Mr. Mpombo was expelled Saturday, along with former finance minister Ng’andu Magande, for what the party called “making incessant attacks on President Banda and the MMD.”

But, Mpombo said he has simply been trying to point out the shortcomings of President Banda’s administration, including the politics of tribalism and the president’s frequent trips abroad.

“I find the decision very outrageous and, at best, a political desperation act based on self-deception by the leadership of [President] Rupiah Banda. My stance on several issues has been that we should maintain the constitution of the party. But, since [Mr.] Banda came into office, he has embarked on the dangerous path of political vandalization of the constitution,” he said

Mpombo accused President Banda of refusing to hold the ruling MMD Party’s National Congress this year as stipulated in the party’s constitution and, instead, postponing it to next year.

“Also, he has embarked on a streak of tribal appointments, no respect to good governance, and the president is always on the move traveling all over the continent. He spends three days in the country and the rest of the days he’s out of Zambia. But, my position is that I’m not going to cave in. We will put up a vigorous fight against this form of dictatorship,” Mpombo said.

Local newspapers report that the expulsion of Mpombo and Magande has long been overdue. Information Minister Ronnie Shikapwasha reportedly defended the expulsion, saying Mr. Mpombo had no self-discipline.

Mpombo described Shikapwasha as a bankrupt political megaphone.

“What he’s saying amounts to some confusion in his mind because I’ve never insulted President Banda. But, I have told him [President Banda] openly, for instance, can you abandon your policy of tribalism, regionalism, and, also, can you stop travelling all over the continent? You are not the Secretary-General of the United Nations,” Mpombo said.

Mpombo is a member of parliament and the MMD is challenging him to show his popularity against the ruling party in the upcoming by-elections.

Mpombo said he has yet to receive the expulsion letter. But, he said he was ready to contest his seat in the by-election against the ruling party.

“I have not gotten my letter of expulsion yet, and I would make a decision as soon as I get the letter, read the contents, I consult my constituents, the grassroots, then I would make the appropriate move,” Mpombo said.