MAJOR Richard Kachingwe says the UPND and its alliance have crossed the red line and he has severed his relationship with them.
But UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa says Maj Kachingwe’s emotional reaction is understandable since he is defending his son who has been named among those to be reported to the International Criminal Court for a violent attack on UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
Maj Kachingwe, who accused Hichilema of growing levels of desperation in his bid to get into State House, said “I am not prepared to lose another son because of politics”.
“For me now the UPND and its’ alliance have crossed the red line, henceforth I have severed my relationship with them as my stay is no longer tenable given the circumstances,” he said. “They have deliberately, over falsehoods, endangered the life of my son and his family including my own, they have tarnished his image with total disregard for common human decency! Whilst I will remain active in politics, going forward, I will adopt the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend! And anybody friendly to my enemy will no longer be my friend. I shall endeavour to work with men and women of good will who mean well for common good of Zambia and Zambians.”
Addressing the media at SAROVAR Hotel yesterday, Maj Kachingwe said the entire country had heard or seen the irresponsible allegations peddled by the UPND and its Alliance parties relating to an alleged assassination attempt on Hichilema in Sesheke.
He said the UPND, through its Alliance, made very strong allegations against his son, Mpange Kachingwe, claiming that he was a member of “an imaginary armed militia grouping trained by the Republican President to assassinate opposition political party leaders, and that he is the same person seen in a now viral photo with a pistol in hand allegedly assaulting a UPND cadre.”
“First and foremost, I must make it clear here and now, that this is a terribly dangerous lie and Hakainde Hichilema knows all too well that his desperate and irresponsible allegations against my son are completely false,” he said.
“In the year 2000 to 2001 when the late former President Frederick Chiluba was championing a third term campaign, I came out strongly against it. At that time my third born son was admitted to hospital undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer under government sponsorship. My political stance led to the then President ordering that my son’s treatment be terminated midway and by the time the differences in opinion were resolved it was too late and the cancer had progressed too far and we lost him. I am not prepared to lose another son because of politics.”
He said two weeks ago he received a call from Mpange, asking whether he had seen photos on social media along claims that he was the person pictured with a pistol in what appeared to be a scuffle with a UPND cadre in Sesheke.
“After the phone call I went on to some of the UPND WhatsApp groups that I have been member of and saw what my son was referring to. Anyone could easily see with their two eyes that it was not even my son in the picture in question, as was the lie being peddled within and outside the UPND. After examining the photograph and being satisfied that it certainly was not my son, I posted publicly on multiple UPND platforms and personally called various leaders within the UPND to clear my son’s name. Majority saw reason and agreed with me as they were able to see it was not my son in the picture. HH knows it is not my son in the alleged picture. The party leadership knows it is not my son in the picture. Charles Milupi can equally see it is not my son in that picture but the UPND chose to ignore my counsel and went ahead to draft a speech bearing the dangerous and desperate malicious allegations tying my son to their entire wild ICC case, a speech which was handed to the UPND’s opposition alliance chairman Charles Milupi, who went ahead to spread the malicious accusations without digging for facts or consulting me,” Maj Kachingwe said.
He said he called the UPND vice-president [Geoffrey Mwamba] to express his displeasure and that he agreed with him and advised him to contact Hichilema directly but that the opposition leader did not pick calls.
“I then called someone in the UPND media team who equally agreed that the picture in question was not of my son, Mpange, and he was being wrongly accused. The young man connected me on a conference call with Clayson Hamasaka, who was said to be responsible for drafting the malicious propaganda powerpoint and pictures where my son’s head was circled and labeled as being the same person allegedly captured with a pistol in hand in a scuffle with a UPND cadre. To my surprise, immediately Hamasaka learnt that I was on the line, he cut the call and immediately called HH to complain. This UPND media person and I agreed to meet in person and find a way of dealing with these malicious allegations,” he said. “To my surprise once again, immediately we met, HH phoned this very person to castigate him for cutting Hamasaka and connecting him on to a conference call with me. This action to me exposed HH who went on screaming at this person for close to 30 minutes. The media person advised HH to call me directly and iron it out, that is the only time HH finally saw it necessary to return my calls and I was very frank with him about the irresponsible lie he chose to run with. My position in the UPND has been that of advisor to Hakainde Hichilema, but he could not even engage me to discuss the lie he was creating about my son. I told him directly that I would choose my son in a heartbeat over the UPND and the alliance. To my dismay his next question to me was that would I choose my son over his life. What kind of man endangers his advisor’s son’s life in that manner and without even talking to me?”
Maj Kachingwe said Hichilema went on to insist that his life was in danger for over eight hours in Sesheke.
“But my question to HH is: why create such malicious and dangerous falsehoods against my son who he clearly knew was not the same person in that picture? And surely if HH’s life was truly in danger, how was he able to constantly videotape himself in some bush? HH and I agreed that we needed to have a big meeting with other leaders of the party over this matter as it was very serious,” Maj Kachingwe explained. “But to date he has not called me to have any such meeting. HH and the alliance’s allegations have tarnished my son’s image! Selfish, careless politicians have put the life of my son in danger, they have tarnished his name and to be honest, I am not sure whether he is even employable in any institution with such accusations of attempted assassination and being a member of an alleged armed militia organisation set up to murder politicians.”
Maj Kachingwe said the actions had made it clear to him that there is no end, “there is no limit to how far HH and the UPND’s opposition alliance will go in destroying lives all for his selfish pursuit of the Presidency.”
“To consciously manufacture such dangerous and irresponsible lies, and give them to his shadow alliance and broadcast them in broad daylight as they did, knowing too well the allegations were false is extremely shameful,” Maj Kachingwe said.
He said Hichilema knew that Mpange was a qualified civil engineer and not the imaginary armed militia thug he wishes to portray him as.
“Treading in such lies by leaders who are vying for higher office is very dangerous, what more if they were given the instruments of power, what greater lies would they tell and how many more lives would be endangered?” he asked.
“There are no words to describe HH’s growing levels of desperation! Why must so many lives be destroyed and tarnished just to get one man into State House? Zambians must be wary of politicians who have serious traits of peddling lies whilst disguising themselves as well-meaning victims. Zambia must reject desperate politicians who can peddle such dangerous lies. Politics must never be about hatred, lies, slander and malice but about service to the people.”
Maj Kachingwe, a former diplomat, charged that only a desperate and twisted psyche could contrive a plan to taunt and dare a Head of State’s security detail for the sake of manipulating public sympathy.
He also said only warped minds of sycophants and stooges could support such irrational and irresponsible behaviour.
“A Prime TV cameraman was in the midst of the UPND entourage in Sesheke throughout and could see all the offensive weapons carried by the UPND cadres even as they closed off the very road that the Presidential security detail was scheduled to drive through as they were proceeding from Mulobezi into Sesheke (see pictures from the very Prime TV cameraman’s video), who are these and what are they carrying? These are UPND cadres with pangas, catapults and all sorts of offensive weapons with a Prime TV cameraman right in their midst, but the reporting is extremely skewed. Some of you the pressmen who choose not to report truthfully can put this country on fire by working like cadres who only want to tell leaders what they want to hear and not as things happen,” Maj Kachingwe said. “I have no option but to conclude that the violence in Sesheke was an elaborately planned yet poorly executed television stunt by HH and a cast of poorly trained performers, intended to give the impression that he was being pursued and escaped an imaginary assassination attempt. Mind you on the very UPND WhatsApp blogs I watched as members of the party celebrated and congratulated one another over the Sesheke formula of violently torching other parties’ camps whilst as a matter of strategy blaming only the other side for all acts of violence.”
Maj Kachingwe said it was ridiculous for the press to be part of a scheme to perpetrate violence and portray the instigator as a victim with a stage-managed foray into the bush in order to manipulate local and international sympathy.
“Meanwhile an opposition alliance is hoodwinked into going to ICC, this is akin to beating somebody and running to police that I’ve been beaten,” said Maj Kachingwe.
But Mweetwa said Maj Kachingwe’s reaction to the issue was regrettable.
“He is defending his son and in the process he has put aside political lenses to see exactly what transpired in Sesheke and be able to give a measured response in accordance with facts,” he said. “I think that he is a parent and as a parent when you are overtaken by emotions, because of the naming or alleged involvement of your child, it is normal to expect a parent to react emotionally. Everybody saw what transpired in Sesheke, both locally and internationally and it’s not fiction. But when you were not in Sesheke and you are commenting or reacting from hearsay, it is expected that sometimes you will be commenting on things that you haven’t apprehended, things you don’t have facts on.”
Mweetwa said if one chose to react from hearsay, “it depends which side you want to take in order to base your argument and anchor your debate or submission.”
“I don’t think there is something very serious that Major Kachingwe whom so many people and myself have so much respect for has said other than to request Zambians not to judge him politically but recognise him that he was speaking like a parent. And when a parent is speaking on defence of his child, emotions always take centre-stage,” he said.
“The people watched what happened in Sesheke. We think that truth cannot be hidden regardless of who is peddling which political position or family position.”
Mweetwa asked Maj Kachingwe whether he meant that the officers “we believe are from the presidential guard unit” conspired with UPND to stage-manage the attack.
“Is that what he is trying to tell the nation or that the PF people who came to attack us together with the police were also in conspiracy with the UPND? Maybe those clarifications need to be made. As a person who was on the ground, it’s total lies and anybody should be ashamed to continue to peddle lies that UPND had blocked a road. Unless one is speaking from a very strong point of ignorance or being misinformed. There was no roadblock that UPND staged,” he said.
Mweetwa said when one was misinformed, they should not comment on things they least understand.
“The vehicles that were on the presidential motorcade they by-passed us maybe an hour before HH came. HH was behind the presidential motorcade which was coming from Mwandi and not from Mulobezi because we were told President Lungu had to pay a courtesy call on Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta,” he explained.
“The presidential motorcade bypassed us where we were waiting to receive HH an hour or more before HH could arrive. And it passed quietly and peacefully and no one did anything. At what stage can someone say UPND blocked the road?”
Mweetwa said the only blockade was one mounted by the police to stop Hichilema from entering Sesheke until President Lungu was airborne to Livingstone.