If Mike Mulongoti’s apology for supporting President Michael Sata during last year’s general elections is anything to go by, then one can safely say that the people of Zambia are in real trouble, as Zambia specializes in this breed of opportunistic politicians. Much as Mulongoti has every right to associate with whomever he likes, we must keep close track of his changing of the goal posts.
Mulongoti made his apology at a joint press conference called by opposition leaders and members of parliament at the Secretariat of the United Party for National Development (UPND), on Wednesday December 12, 2012.
Apart from apologising, Mulongoti revealed that President Sata called him recently expressing his displeasure over his attacks on the Patriotic Front (PF) administration. A few days earlier on Muvi Television’s The Assignment programme on Sunday December 9, 2012 Mulongoti also revealed how, before Rupiah Banda had relieved him of his cabinet portfolio, Sata as opposition leader used to call on him to find out how his family was doing and so on. Now, this obviously speaks volumes of what else Mulongoti was divulging to the PF when he was a cabinet minister. No wonder Sata used to boast about knowing every little detail of what was discussed in Rupiah’s cabinet meetings.
Mulongoti had been playing double agent all that while. But according to him, the friendly phone chats with Sata prior to the elections had now degenerated into ugly conversations where the head of state calls to scream at him. Come to think of it, Mulongoti deserves the doses of venom he is getting from Sata.
“I know that when I was campaigning for the PF many people in MMD and other opposition parties were affected but I was also fighting for my own survival. I had to survive,” is what Mulongoti audaciously told people at the press conference held at the UPND Secretariat where he appeared as a “guest”. This man is again fighting for his survival and he seems to be very good at that.
He claims to be a founding-member of the MMD, but at the height of the now infamous third term bid for Frederick Chiluba, spearheaded by non other than Sata himself, Mulongoti was among the several senior MMD members who left, or were simply hounded out. He went on to join the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD). He may also claim to be a founding member of the FDD. But when Levy Mwanawasa became president, Mulongoti together with people like Major Richard Kachingwe returned to the MMD and in no time he was given a job by Mwanawasa in what many believe was the tribal factor at play.
Gabriel Namulambe’s is no different from Mulongoti. A senior member of the MMD national executive committee has disclosed that Namulambe’s resignation from the former ruling party is all about not coming to terms with not flying a flag on a vehicle. “Even David Phiri the deputy minister of tourism could not believe that we had lost and he would not be flying a flag,” said the source. Phiri is one of the MMD members of parliament serving in the PF administration. So clearly Namulambe is also trying to survive by defecting to the ruling PF. But what about the ordinary loyal members and sympathisers of the MMD, where does it leave them because they too have to survive? Are they all going to flock to State House at midnight or there about to discuss “development” in their various areas?
According to some people in the MMD, Namulambe was always considered as one of the problems brought on to the party by Mwanawasa. One founding member points out that even though Namulambe, a Lamba, may have served in various lower organs of the MMD in Mpongwe, it was only because of his tribal connection to Mwanawasa that he became permanent secretary before finally being adopted to stand as a member of parliament in 2006. Mwanawasa’s mother was Lamba while his father was Lenje. The Lenje factor also explains why Moses Muteteka became Mwanawasa’s senior private secretary but more so that he is the first cousin to former first lady Maureen Mwanawasa.
In 2006, he, like Namulambe was adopted to stand on the MMD ticket and he won. But you may recall that Muteteka became a fierce critic of Rupiah Banda after the MMD lost to the PF, blaming Banda for the MMD’s loss and labeling the former head of state corrupt. He actually spearheaded calls to have Banda step down as MMD president. Watching from a distance, it seemed all too clear that the song he was singing was not his. Muteteka has problems of his own, legal and otherwise but it should not surprise anyone if he is the next to create a parliamentary by-election in Chisamba constituency. Well placed sources have said that he is one of the several MMD legislators that have been to State House to discuss “development” with the head of state.
Admittedly, not all is well in the former ruling party, with reportedly all sorts of disputes over financial issues, not least the fiasco caused by Maj. Kachingwe’s public betrayal. What we can safely conclude is that there are still quite a number of MMD members of parliament and NEC members who are still playing double, and taking the phone calls from State House. Shame on them.