dora Siliya RB PF Rally

UPND says Zambians must closely watch Rupiah Banda’s involvement in the Patriotic Front government.

Contributing to the debate on whether President Edgar Lungu was advancing Michael Sata’s legacy and vision in his style of governance, UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa said Banda seemed to be calling the shots in the PF government.

“Edgar Lungu seems to be merely acting. The one calling the shots appears to be Mr Rupiah Banda. For a vulnerable President like Edgar Lungu who was merely put there and has no real stamina of his own, one can conclude that Mr Rupiah Banda will continue to call the shots, to do the real job behind the curtains,” he said. “No wonder when you look at the choices of [President] Edgar Lungu so far; he has visited Zimbabwe twice, which is of course a sensational place for Rupiah Banda. So it appears Edgar Lungu is getting very good tutelage and you have also seen that [President Robert] Mugabe was the only foreign Head of State who came to his inauguration.”

Mweetwa said he was aware that Banda had his own preferences on who to appoint in some Cabinet positions.

“That is why you find that (Lungu) has even failed to finalise his Cabinet until now, because he is still consulting his master. I am also told that Mr Rupiah Banda also has preferences on who is supposed to be appointed in certain positions in the foreign service and even the Cabinet ministries. And this is very disappointing,” he said. “We understand, of course, that Rupiah Banda bankrolled Edgar Lungu. The moment that Rupiah Banda joined Edgar Lungu’s campaign, then Edgar Lungu’s campaign gained the momentum. Even the music systems that they were playing, like when they came to Choma, were those that Rupiah was using in 2011. So it is true that the piper calls the tune. Edgar Lungu now will be made to dance to Rupiah Banda’s tune.”

Mweetwa said Banda’s target was to include people in government who would get him off the hook regarding the corruption charges he is facing in court.

“He is going to instigate the firing of some people in order to ensure that there is a friendly team to take care of his cases in court and it is very unlikely that President Lungu can turn against Rupiah Banda. It is very difficult for one to think that a person who played the role that Mr Rupiah Banda played will be ignored by [President] Edgar Lungu,” Mweetwa said.

He said the UPND would like to see President Lungu carry the mandate which Zambians gave him with no external influence because they already rejected Banda in 2011.

“We only wait and see what other things are going to happen, but we are very disappointed that Mr Lungu has started on a note which does not, in our view, give a perception that he is in charge. We as a party would like to see Mr Lungu perform his mandate in accordance with what we the Zambian people gave him, devoid of any form of influence or interference because he enjoys the full mandate of the Zambian people,” said Mweetwa.

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