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Alarming statements shouldn’t come from leaders – Wina

VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina has cautioned leaders against issuing alarming statements.

Last month, information minister Dora Siliya told traditional leaders in Sinda district in Eastern Province that government was not ready to hand over power next year.

Speaking to about 300 village headmen and indunas at Mwala Hills, Siliya said at times those in government go wrong but they need to be forgiven and prayed for.

She begged them to sensitise the people not to vote President Edgar Lungu out next year because it would disadvantage development in Eastern Province, which was in the pipeline.

“We shouldn’t relax that Edgar azawina (will win) since he is an Easterner but if we vote lazily, our friends in Southern Province will challenge us and we will be removed in power,” she said. “Let’s not vote lazily the way we did on Rupiah [Banda]. We lost him because we are many but few voted and we lost him…These elections of next year are not an easy one. It’s war abale anga (my brothers and sisters)! It’s a war, we should make sure everyone registers as voters and vote on 12th August 2021 or else we will lose. Napapata (please), we go wrong, we in government, but forgive us please! Pray for us, we know we have gone through problems in these five years but let’s not lose this presidency because we still have a lot to do with it in our families, communities. We are not only happy for Edgar to be in State House but to work for us. If this presidency leaves, Eastern Province, nobody among us will be alive when it will be back here….”

During the Vice-President’s Question Time in Parliament yesterday, Kabompo UPND member of parliament Ambrose Lufuma asked why Cabinet ministers were being allowed to issue such alarming statements.

“Your Honour the Vice-President, the Zambian public are becoming increasingly agitated, anxious and, to some extent, jittery concerning some of the pronouncements being made by Cabinet ministers in your administration concerning next year’s elections, 2021 elections,” said Lufuma. “And that they are claiming next year’s, 2021 elections, will be a war. And that they’re not prepared, that is PF, is not prepared to whatsoever hand over power to anybody. And that is in public domain, Mr Speaker. The question is, could this be the reason why your government is stockpiling military hardware and munitions in preparation for the perceived war and inability to hand over power to the next government?”

In response, Vice-President Wina claimed that she had never heard of such pronouncements.

She however condemned the pronouncements, even if they came from PF officials.

“I do not recall any statement made by a PF official that this country will face war in 2021; I’m not aware, may be I’ve not read about it myself.
However, the issue of alarming statements should not come from leaders; whether on this side (PF) or on the UPND side because this country will face conflicts if we leaders do not tame our tongues,” she said. “You remember, Mr Speaker, that immediately after elections in 2016, there were pronouncements of Mapatizya style; there were pronouncements of Armageddon, or, however you pronounce it. And these are definitely not the type of language that we should use as leaders in this country.”

Vice-President Wina said if anyone issued such a statement from the PF, they would be asked to retract it.

“And if on this side (PF) a member has expressed those sentiments of a war, that member will be asked to retract such statements because we do not condone violence in PF and in this country. We are holding the power and we are running the State, so we cannot afford to have conflicts and disrupt peace in the country on this (PF) side,” said Vice-President Wina.

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