UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka says if Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) was as popular as he claims in Kasama, his daughter Sibongile would not have lost the Kasama Central constituency parliamentary by-election in 2016.
And Mucheleka says he works as a volunteer in UPND, contrary to GBM’s claims that he gets paid a paltry K6,000 as a monthly salary.
In an interview, Mucheleka said GBM did not own Kasama.
“If he owns the people in Kasama, how come his own daughter, Sibongile, lost terribly when she contested as MP with GBM putting in all his effort?” Mucheleka asked.
“The impact that he said he will (dismantle) UPND (structures), we have not even seen it! We shall work hard on the ground and mobilise even more people. He is using youths like Jack Simutenda to threaten me that I should not go to Kasama, that’s a joke! Kasama is my home and I will go there as soon as he is out so that we can put the record straight to our people. He should not speak for the people of Northern Province, he does not own them! They are capable of making their own decisions on who to choose as their leader. He should not insult the people’s intelligence by insinuating that they only listen to him alone.”
Mucheleka said some people left UPND because of GBM.
“If GBM is as popular as he says, why did he lose the PF presidency in 2014 after Sata’s death? Most people in Kasama, in fact, were supporting Miles Sampa to succeed Sata. Even when Lungu was adopted, GBM was not given any role in his campaign team; instead Freedom Sikazwe was chosen as campaign manager for Lungu in Northern Province. That’s how he sent emissaries to HH that he had been side-lined in PF; he wanted to join UPND and that he was going to teach PF a lesson. That’s how he gravitated to UPND. He found me and Felix Mutati in UPND, he didn’t take me there. After the 2015 elections, Mutati left because of GBM; he said ‘with GBM, there will be fights here, he will feel uncomfortable with my presence; I would rather work with Lungu.’ His own brother who had also came to UPND left, he said ‘there will be no peace here with GBM around’,” he said.
Mucheleka warned PF to be wary of GBM’s intentions.
“He was expecting that they were going to give him a ‘red carpet’ welcome in PF, but they have ignored him, they know that he is just going to add to the confusion there! The people that must weary about GBM is not UPND, it’s PF. Are you sure he has gone there with good intentions? Does he love Lungu? He is the same one he has been insulting all along. Those who are listening to him that he has just gone to join PF as a member; they don’t know who GBM is. But they know him, that’s why they didn’t even give him a red carpet (treatment). You heard what he said that if President Lungu offered him a job in 2021, he will accept, maybe someone has lied to him that he will be running mate, but he will never, he has left a comfort zone. With all the insults, I wonder how PF will use him, I know they have their own doubts too,” Mucheleka said.
He also rubbished GBM’s claims that he was the one who took PF to Kasama, saying UPP leader Saviour Chishimba was the first PF MP in that area when GBM was still in MMD.
“GBM started his active political career when he contested as MP on the MMD ticket in Kabwata and he boasted that he was going to dismantle Given Lubinda! His young brother Chilekwa Munkonge was his campaign manager. GBM lost terribly to Lubinda. Typical of my uncle, he found someone to blame; he blamed his young brother Chilekwa of having been responsible for losing. It didn’t take long, he differed with Mwanawasa after losing in Kabwata, somewhere in 2007. That’s how he went and sought political refuge in PF under Sata. In 2009, Saviour Chishimba who was PF MP for Kasama Central differed with Sata and resigned; that’s how GBM went to contest. It was not GBM who took PF to Kasama, he was never there, he was in MMD! He found PF strong in Kasama; he jumped on a band wagon. So, when he boasts of having taken PF to Kasama, I don’t know which PF he took to Kasama,” Mucheleka said.
“I was not adopted as PF candidate for Lubansenshi on account of GBM blackmailing Sata that he was not going to help PF financially if I was adopted as PF candidate in Lubansenshi, and if Lupando Munkonge was adopted in Lukashya. He couldn’t stomach the idea of being in Parliament with his own nephews. I stood as an independent and won! GBM went ahead to sponsor the losing PF candidate Chota to petition my election. The day he resigned, president Sata called me and told me that he was ready to appoint me as a Cabinet Minister, as Minister of Community Development because of my background in civil society so that he could get at GBM. He told me that I must stop talking about Chitimukulu and distance myself from GBM, but I refused. If I wanted to betray GBM, this could have been the best time.”
And Mucheleka said he worked as a volunteer in UPND, contrary to GBM’s claims that he survived on a mere K6,000 monthly salary.
“Today, GBM can insult me that I have gone crazy over a K6,000 when I had refused to join PF and earn more money when they invited me after he was expelled? What an insult! I’m worth K6,000 a month myself? He is claiming that he can pay me K6,000s for 40 years? Is that the way you get at someone for refusing to do foolish things? He thinks all these years I have been working I have never done anything for myself? Which schools do my children go to, how much do I pay, is he the one who pays for my children? I am working as a volunteer for UPND; I don’t get a salary for the work that I do. By Zambian standards in my own humble way, I cannot go to anyone and ask for a bag of mealie meal…what is K6,000? The problem he has is that he thinks that he can buy people with money, but there is no one in this country who is worth any amount of money, not even those people in the villages. What has done for me? Is he the one who financed my campaign in 2011 when I won as an independent? He was even the reason the people of Lubansenshi rejected PF,” said Mucheleka.
“He gets personal and says maybe my father was not Bemba, doesn’t he know who my father was? My mother is still there, he can go and ask. And other than that, in Bemba culture, we define your ancestry from your mothers’ side, I know who my mother is. They don’t consider your father’s side because some chiefs had children fathered for them by their bodyguards. Does he want me to ask him where his mother comes from? My father and my mother are both from the royal family, I can be a Chitimukulu on my mother’s account, he can never be! Yes, his father comes from the royal family, but where does his mother comes from? Don’t open a Pandora’s box. He must not drag me to his level of politics!”