Sata starts bid for 2011
Sata, leader of opposition Patriotic Front (PF) lost his bid for the presidency during the September 28 polling 29.3 per cent against incumbent Levy Mwanawasa’s 43 per cent.
Launching his bid on November 4 in Lusaka, Sata told a campaign rally dubbed: “Thanks Giving” that he would again contest the presidency in 2011 because of his commitment to “liberate” Zambia.
He argued that he had decided to ignore calls for a petition of the verification of results, but instead was re-launching the campaign ahead of the 2011 poll to victory and help reduce poverty, HIV/AIDS, among others.
Similar campaigns have been lined in all parts of the country to thank the electorate.
He said petitions lined up for more than 50 Parliamentary seats were progressing well and that more anomalies have been detected to consolidate the evidence before the courts.
He said he has been overwhelmed by the support from local and foreign sympathisers.
According to Sata, his heart bleeds for Zambia and that only death would stop him from “liberating” the country, despite the age.
“A lot of people have asked me why I have launched the campaign now and I have told them that I have an obligation to liberate Zambia from various vices perpetuated by the Mwanawasa government,” he said.
He added: “I’ll not stop my campaign and its only death that will stop me from liberating Zambia. So long as Zambians continue suffering, the fight continues,”
The 69-year-old politician accused the ECZ chairperson Irene Mambilima of abetting ‘rigging’ when she requested the Chief Justice to swear in Mwanawasa as president elect, at the height of calls for verification of results. He asked for her removal.
He directed Councillors and Mayors in PF controlled municipalities to uphold the Local Government Act of 1996 and ensure social services delivered to the expectations of the people.
However, Justice Minister George Kunda, his counterpart at ministry of information, Vernon Mwaanga and MMD’s National Secretary, Katele Kalumba have reacted sharply.
Kunda described the attacks on President Mwanawasa over the fight on corruption as misguided, and urged Sata to reflect on his campaign statements regarding the matter.
“The people weakening the fight against corruption are those like Michael Sata himself, because he is on record as saying he will stop cases of people charged with corruption,”
He urged Sata to stop dragging into disrepute innocent Judges but understand issues before commenting.
Kunda said it was a fallacy for Sata to think he was the only Saviour for Zambia because there were capable youths to take over.
“Sata has had his time in politics and should give a chance to the younger generation.”
Mwaanga accused Sata of encouraging people charged with corruption by his contradictory statements.
Kalumba warned Sata against commenting on MMD matters which he was not competent with and instead concentrate on rebuilding the ‘demolished Castle’ PF.
At the height of the results, supporters of Sata rioted when it became apparent that the PF leader was trailing behind Mwanawasa – signifying another five years in power.
Soldiers were deployed in parts of Lusaka, the capital, and police clashed with opposition supporters. About 100 were arrested in the two days of rioting.
Sata, while calling for Calm over the ‘stolen votes’ said: “I will find time to go back to the people and thank them for their support, but I will put up a big battle inside parliament and outside parliament.”
Mwanawasa’s MMD, which has ruled Zambia for 15 years, has 82-seats in the 158 member legislative house. The Patriotic Front has 43, UDA 27, the United Liberal Party three, while others are for independent candidates.
Mwaanga said Zambians were through with the elections and it was now time for them to unite for the sole purpose of national development.
“The continued attacks on President Mwanawasa and his Government by Mr Sata will compromise the call of national reconciliation and this is not a good thing to happen to our country,” said Mwaanga.
He said while Mwanawasa wanted to continue with the crusade against corruption, some people who are bitter after losing the elections, want to paint a bad image about him.
“Mr Sata should lick his wounds of losing an election without causing wounds on other people. Bitterness of one person losing elections should not affect the welfare of the nation; we understand what losing an election means,” said Mwaanga.
Mwaanga said Zambians wanted development and the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) wanted to fulfil the promises it made during the campaigns for the September 28 elections.
He said there was only one Government the Zambian people had elected and that Sata should wait for his turn.
Soon after election results were announced and it became clear he had lost, Sata said he would rule through the local government where he had secured majority seats.
“Zambians have spoken and want politicians to concentrate on development. This Government is committed to fighting corruption. During the campaigns, it was Mr Sata who pledged to stop prosecution of some cases involving people accused of plunder of national resources,” said Mwaanga.
He said as far as he was concerned he saw no workable agenda in Sata’s political approach.
“Like I have told your colleagues before, I see no agenda in Mr Sata’s approach in dealing with national issues except it is a sign of someone licking his wounds of defeat,” said Mwaanga in a telephonic interview. (Additional reporting by Mervin Syafunko in Windhoek).