MATTHEWS Mwale says Levy Mwanawasa should have been given more time to live. And Mwale wishes the UPND used another plan when their candidate Dr Faustin Banda pulled out of the Kasenengwa race at the last minute.
In an interview on Mwanawasa’s 10th anniversary of his death which fell on August 19, Mwale, who served as Chipata Central FDD member of parliament from 2001 to 2006, said Mwanawasa faced the challenges as they came.
He said Mwanawasa was a rare leader who could sacrifice as the challenges demanded.
“If you look at Mwanawasa’s leadership, one wishes he was given extra time to live. I have always been a fan of Mwanawasa despite that when he was in power, I was in parliament. I wasn’t condemning him, I was condemning the system as it was as he found it. And I think he was taking steps to try and correct the scenario and this can be confirmed by him bringing the issue of removal of his predecessor’s immunity to Parliament,” Mwale, who was among the most vocal members of parliament at that time, said.
He said Mwanawasa was magnanimous enough to take to parliament the removal of immunity of the person who gave him the job.
“I was a lead debater in that debate and removed the immunity that speaks of a man, that defines a reality of a man. May his soul rest in
peace. The current leaders should emulate Mwanawasa by being magnanimous enough, to accept and recognize a wrong when it occurs and
to deal with it for the sake of the people, for the sake of the nation,” Mwale said.
He said Mwanawasa put personal interest aside and prioritised those of the general public.
“Mwanawasa mentioned that he saw the country taking a new direction and I agree that the country had begun to take a new direction, that’s why I am saying he needed to be given another five years by God; this country was going to be somewhere else,” Mwale said.
He wondered whether the past ruling party and the current one had built on the gains made by Mwanawasa.
“..thats what we need to ask ourselves. If they have, let them show proof. If they haven’t, let them be like Mwanawasa, be magnanimous enough
and say ‘I think we are not getting the drive and let’s get the right people and put into the job’. Issues like these are by-partisan, it’s not about opposition; it’s not about ruling party, it’s about the nation because the interest of the opposition and the ruling party is the well-being of our people and the development of our country,” Mwale said.
He said the big question that people have was whether the country was moving in the right direction.
“Now statisticians are there, they are giving us the indexes about where we are moving on the poverty levels, on issues relating to social and
economic emancipation. If the answers are positive, well and good. If they are negative, let us not pretend or sugar coat, let us accept that we have made a mistake and we must aim to correct our mistakes, that way the country can move forward,” Mwale said.
And Mwale said the UPND should have used plan B to ensure that it does not miss out in the Kasenengwa by-election where it did not field a candidate when Dr Banda pulled out at the last minute.
He said being an emerging democracy, people expected leading political parties to compete in Kasenengwa.
“By-elections like the Kasenengwa one are supposed to give temperatures about how emergent Zambia’s democracy is. The failure by the UPND to field a candidate in Kasenengwa was not good for the country’s democracy; that was a reverse gear,” said Mwale.