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Councillor’s bribery accusations against Lungu mustn’t be taken lightly – MMD

SINDA MMD chairperson George Mwanza says the allegations of bribery that UPND councillor Newstead Phiri brought out against President Edgar Lungu shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Phiri, the Chilongozi ward councillor, alleged last week during a media briefing that Sinda independent member of parliament Masauso Tembo had taken him to State House where he met President Lungu who coerced him to resign from UPND in exchange for a job.

He also alleged that he was further given K20,000 to influence his decision to resign.

Phiri has since written the Sinda district council saying he did not author the resignation letter and was only forced to sign it by the PF.

But Tembo has denied taking Phiri to State House and challenged him to disclose who took him to Lusaka.

Commenting on the revelation, Mwanza said if what Phiri had revealed was a lie, he must be prosecuted.

“It’s very unfortunate…and this case shouldn’t be taken as politics, this is a big issue where the councillor is alleging that he was bribed by the President and this is a serious opportunity to solidify the plan of the opposition to impeach the President. The councillor said he was given a brown envelope by the President and this is truly corruption which should call for every lawmaker, be it from the opposition or ruling party, to support the impeachment process in Parliament. No policy maker should sit idle in Parliament about the matter,”

Mwanza said.

“And if Phiri was mouth-fed by the unknown to accuse the President of corrupting him, then he should be prosecuted because there are people who have been arrested for some baseless statements saying they are defaming the President. So this is a serious issue that needs prosecution.”

He said President Lungu must clear his name from the allegation.

“And the ruling party has been looking for opportunities and avenues to clear the picture of the President away from corruption and this is the time they can clear that by prosecuting the councillor for defaming the President on corruption grounds if indeed what he told us isn’t true. People are arrested for small statements against the President but this is a big issue which should see the councillor behind bars if truly he was fed by some people to state false statements against the president.”

He said there should be further investigations on the matter to ascertain the truth.

“Newstead and the President are everywhere, in every media house, social media, they are there, meaning that worldwide, the issue is known hence we call for you the media to continue probing this matter so that we ascertain the truth between the two. We want to hear more about this matter,” Mwanza said.

When asked about his party’s absence in Chiwuyu ward by-election, he said the MMD had a better candidate who could beat PF and UPND but decided to stay away that due to their alliance with the ruling party.

“If some PF or any party think MMD is dead for not filing a candidate in Chiwuyu, then they are making a mistake. MMD is not dead and you have to know that PF is too junior to MMD to know the strength of it. We respect them because we are in alliance. When we respect PF, it doesn’t mean we are weak. We have not fielded a candidate in Chiwuyu to avoid meeting the party we are in alliance with on the ground because we can criticize them on the platform but for respect, we say let them field the candidate. Our candidate cannot be challenged with those, they can be overpowered at once but we respect the agreement but if top people say ‘field a candidate’, ndithu muzamvako kuti nkhumenkhume zakumana ku Chiwuyu but for now, we have not picked anyone yet,” said Mwanza.

The Patriotic Front has accused MMD of strengthening its structures in readiness for the 2021 general elections, saying the alliance was valid in 2016 only.

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