Veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga says President Edgar Lungu’s claim that he had been approached by an opposition party leader to arrange a meeting with him are false.
At a rally in Chilanga, Sunday, President Edgar Lungu said that Mwaanga had been approached by an unnamed opposition party leader, to arrange a night meeting with him at State House, an offer which he declined.
“He (opposition leader) asked Vernon Mwaanga for us to meet in the night,” said President Lungu.
“There’s an opposition leader who said that we should do the Kenya thing…I have reliable information that we should meet in the night. If they want to meet us, let it be during the day.”
But in a statement availed to News Diggers! Monday, Mwaanga refuted the Head of State’s assertion, insisting that no one had engaged him.
“My attention has been drawn to remarks made yesterday at a PF campaign rally in Chilanga by President Edgar C Lungu, to the effect that I had been approached by an unnamed opposition party leader, to arrange a night meeting with him at State House. I wish to categorically state that no opposition party leader has ever approached me to arrange a meeting with President Lungu at night or at any other time of day. It has been my wish, which I expressed directly to President Lungu when I met him last year to appeal to him to release UPND president, Hakainde Hichilema, from prison and have dialogue; that the two men should have dialogue, without pre-conditions by both sides. My colleagues in the MMD will vouch for me that I have always been a passionate advocate of dialogue since 1990, because it is better than confrontation,” Mwaanga stated.
He added that he was unapologetic about any sentiments he expressed regarding the proposed dialogue and pleaded with President Lungu’s advisors to stop misinforming him.
“I issued a public statement a few days ago praising the Kenyan leaders, President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, for embracing the spirit of dialogue and putting the interests of their country and people first. I expressed the hope that our leaders would take a leaf from those wise and mature Kenyan politicians and do the same. I am totally unapologetic about this, because I believe deep down in my heart and soul, that it is the right thing to do. The truth benders, who are enemies of peace and progress, have yet again misinformed the President. It is disappointing that some of the President’s informants do not understand the value of political dialogue in the 21st century and the salutary effects it brings to countries and the world. If this is the way they treat dialogue, then I fear that our politics have not yet reached the level of Kenya and it may be helpful for them to take a few more lessons from President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga. In the name of God, please stop misinforming the President of our country,” pleaded Mwaanga.