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Zambian President and Opposition Leader Trade Jabs Ahead of By-Elections

  • James Butty

Map of Zambia

Map of Zambia

Main opposition leader Michael Sata says President Banda is hallucinating because he's feeling the impact of the wind of change in Zambia

The political rhetoric in Zambia appears to be heating up as the country prepares to hold its parliamentary by-election April 29.

President Rupiah Banda has reportedly accused main opposition leader Michael Sata of promising to improve the welfare of the electorate if elected president when he Sata failed to build even a toilet while he was national secretary of the ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD).

Sata said President Banda is hallucinating because he’s feeling the impact of the opposition and the wind of change in Zambia.

Zambian opposition Leader Michael Sata

Zambian opposition Leader Michael Sata

“It is not the responsibility of the opposition to do any development, but it is the responsibility of the opposition all over the world to draw the attention of the government in power, because the government in power that’s the one which is overseeing the spending of tax payers’ money. And therefore it is not for me to build the toilets; it is Rupiah Banda who is supposed to build the toilets where there are no toilets,” he said.

Sata rejected President Banda’s criticism that he Sata did nothing about development when he held many government portfolios.

“The point is I was in government but not as a president. To start with today he (Banda) is president of MMD because I built that party to the strength it is today. If I would have not been national secretary of that party, Rupiah Banda would never be president of that party because Rupiah Banda spent all his time, especially in Eastern Province telling people not to join MMD,” Sata said.

He accused President Banda of making more foreign trips in the one year since becoming president than his three predecessors.

President Rupiah Banda of Zambia

President Rupiah Banda of Zambia

“Rupiah Banda in one year he has been president, he has traveled more extensively than Kenneth Kaunda’s 27 years in office, Frederick Chiluba’s 10 years in office, Mwanawasa’s seven years in office,” Sata said.

With just a week to go before the parliamentary by-election, Sata said President Banda was beginning to fear the opposition’s strength.

“Well, if you see the president start hallucinating the way he’s hallucinating, he’s feeling the impact of the thrust of the opposition. When I was national secretary of the MMD, there was no opposition. It’s when I left in 2001 then the first opposition party had 49 seats. And now the opposition it has got more than 60 seats in parliament. So he’s feeling the weight that’s why he’s hallucinating,” Sata said.

In preparation for the 2011 presidential election, Sata’s Patriotic Front party has entered into a pact with the United Party for National Development (UPND) of Hakainde Hichilema.

Sata denied claims the PF-UPND pact was not performing enough to be funded by the government.

“The government does not finance the opposition in Zambia. He’s so scared of the pact; he’s scared of everything. He’s scared of the wind of change,” Sata said.

Sata said it was not fair to ask who would be the presidential candidate of the PF-UPND pact in 2011.

“Are you in Washington? Now if somebody asks you how are you going to cross River Mississippi at any particular point, can you give him an answer when you have not reached River Mississippi? When you get there that’s how you would know how to cross it. So even in politics you can’t be hatching eggs or counting chicks before the eggs hatch,” Sata said.