PRESIDENT Michael Sata has told Rupiah Banda to prepare to answer for his misdeeds instead of seeking relevance from the international community.
Former president Banda has apologised to former US president George W. Bush over President Sata’s remark to the latter when they met on Wednesday, that his visit to Zambia was payback for what colonialists got from Africa.
Banda described the sentiments said during a light moment at State House as incorrect and undiplomatic.
But in a statement issued yesterday by his special assistant for Press and Public Relations George Chellah, President Sata stated that Banda was not the right person to play cheap politics.
“Let Mr Banda prepare to answer for his own misdeeds. Trying to turn a light-hearted exchange between former president Bush and myself, which we normally do, will not help him to sort out his numerous problems,” President Sata stated.
“Mr Banda spent his presidency doing wrong things for himself and his children. I therefore, understand his desperation and attempts to seek relevance, though in wrong places this time around. I would encourage my dear brother to come to terms with what has happened and subsequently behave as a mature adult, and leave the running of government to the duly elected officers.”
He warned Banda not to take his luck too far because he had offended Zambians in many ways when he was Republican president.
President Sata reminded Banda that it was him who told off the donors when he was in office.
“Today, Mr Banda can pretend to be a friend of the international community because he wants their support to defend the wrong things that he did during his tenure. But we have not forgotten that it is during his administration that he told donors to ‘pack and go’ when they questioned the corruption in his government,” he stated.
“Notwithstanding the many wrongs that Mr Banda committed against our people and us, we have restrained ourselves and tried to accord him full respect. Obviously, Mr Banda is mistaking this for a weakness. We warn him not to push his luck too far. In fact, he is the least person that should cross paths with this administration.”
President Sata stated that Banda had turned the head of state’s light-hearted conversation with Bush into an occasion for cheap political scoring.
According to a letter sent to Bush and released to the media by his office yesterday, Banda claimed that President Sata’s statement did not represent the true feeling of Zambians.
Banda described the moment President Sata had with Bush as an embarrassing experience.
“These statements, which were not only factually incorrect and undiplomatic, do not represent the true feelings of the Zambian people, who strongly recognise the value of positive relations with the United States of America. It is deeply regrettable that these statements were made on the same day as the celebration of your Independence Day, marking the universally-shared hope of self-determination and freedom. As our elected head of state, the President is entitled to formulate a foreign policy of his choosing,” stated Banda.
“However, disagreement need not manifest itself in disrespect, and the form and manner in which these statements were made is not representative of our culture. No matter what political views different parties may hold, the people of Zambia are peace-loving, welcoming, and focused positively on the future, not the past. We hope that this unpleasant and embarrassing experience will not dissuade you or other former heads of state from collaborating with us on development projects in the future. Hope, not resentment; hard work, not victimhood; and progress, not retrocession; are the hallmarks of the new Zambia that our people dream of building, and we hope that people of all nations will work with us in pursuing a better future for our people.”
And Mbita Chitala has said those condemning President Sata over the chat he had with Bush may be extending the argument too far because what they had was a casual conversation between the two senior leaders of the world and they resolved it there and then.
“While Mr Sata in a very casual and nice way indicated that we in the Third World have been victims of unequal trade in neocolonialism which is a correct statement and Mr Bush in defence of his country says no they have neverâ€¦but we as we know Mr Sata was correct; not colonialism as practiced in the olden days where they conquered land but of a newer form of which Nkrumah described as neocolonialism. So he was correct, but of course this was a casual chat between the two,” he said.
Chitala said anyone commenting on the issue is just being mischievous.
“That was a casual chat and people doing that (commenting) may be extending the argument too far. If even casual chats and jokes should be construed as becoming public policy then that in my view would not be the right way of reading this situation and maybe a condemnation is misplacedâ€¦particularly when the two gentlemen resolved their chat there and then. Anyway, this is part of democracy, isn’t it?” said Chitala.