Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Malanji says he has not forsaken People’s Party president Mike Mulongoti and he has invited the former information minister to reach out whenever he needs help.
Malanji, however, says he will not allow Mulongoti to continue politicking about President Edgar Lungu’s identity because he knows very well that the Head of State is a Zambian who grew up on the Copperbelt.
On Sunday, Malanji hosted a public rally in Kitwe where several government and PF officials mocked the opposition saying they were time wasters.
But in an interview, Mulongoti lamented that Malanji had neglected him just because he was now a minister.
“Malanji is saying that people are happy, the President is fulfilling his promises and people are happy and whatever. Who says that people are happy with the PF? I have seen your paper today (Monday) and I have read what those ministers said but Malanji did say something about happiness of the people…What I want to maintain is that Malanji shouldn’t forget his friends. I insist, we were so close with that man, so close. we went to play golf together in Egypt we were so close so the fact that he’s in that office no does not mean he must burn bridges, it doesn’t help you, it doesn’t help at all,” said Mulongoti.
Reacting to Mulongoti’s lamentations, Malanji said Mulongoti was still a good friend and invited him to reach out for fuel any day.
“Look, Mr Mulongoti used to be my friend and he is still my friend. When did the friendship I have with him end? Differing in idealogies does not break friendships. Mulongoti is still my friend, so I don’t see where the friendship has ended. Mulongoti is the one who has abandoned the President because he knows very well that the President is Zambian. President Edgar Lungu grew up in Kitwe and it is to his best knowledge. Honourable Mulongoti is still my friend but even if he’s my friend I cannot just allow it even if he says something which is not right, I just say ‘yes yes’ because he’s my friend, no,” Malanji said.
“He is still friend and if he wants some fuel even today he can phone me because he’s my friend. And I know very soon he’s going to change and say the truth because he knows that President Lungu is Zambian. Everybody in Kitwe know him from childhood. So [what Mulongoti is doing] is basically politicking but he knows very well that President Lungu is a Zambian. I have not distanced myself from Mr Mulongoti, my relationship with him remains the same as I have known it long so ever. And him, anytime if he feels he still has some golf skills, then he can request for a game with me and everything will be taken care of by me.”
Meanwhile, Malanji said it was not right for Mulongoti to accuse him of changing just because of his ministerial salary because that was irrelevant.
“I am sure honourable Mulongoti is someone who knows very well that I am above somebody who is in politics for a pay. Mr Mulongoti knows my background and my potential very well so he cannot say ‘ I am there for a pay’ he knows very well that what I give out to the community is more than my pay. Right now, next week I am commissioning a school worth K695,000. How many salaries are there when you look at a government salary? So Mr Mulongoti knows me very well and he cannot even look at me as somebody who is in government leadership for a pay. We are here for a service and not necessarily the pay, the pay that we get is not something which you can say ‘I am going for work because I have got to earn a living’. I am in politics beyond earning a living,” said Malanji.