LUSAKA Mayor Miles Sampa has clarified that his “being an MP is nice because they give you a chi Range Rover remarks”, were made before he decided to run in Matero, adding that his political rivals edited the video to distort his words.

And Sampa says unlike a stone, he is not rigid and that is why he exercises his right to change his mind at any given moment.

In a letter to the News Diggers Editor, Monday, Sampa said the story which appeared in the March 22 edition of the newspaper was based on a video which his political rivals edited to change the meaning and and context of what he was saying.

“In that Zoom interview with Diamond TV, I was elaborating why I had chosen to stay and apply as mayor at the time. I said a Mayoral role has its own challenges and does not have glamour as that of an MP but I was very happy to stay there as I was not moved or attracted to leadership position by material benefits but for the love to serve the people. It’s the joy I was having at the council as mayor where all residents are my speakers and we also get to push wheelbarrows together unlike driving the ‘chi Range Rover’. My political rivals just cut out a small bit to satisfy their agenda and spread it around and it’s the bit you have quoted,” wrote Sampa.

“I have since asked Diamond TV to get me the full footage so that you may see the context I said around what you have made a big headline. I submit the same for your full information on the topic and my hope is you will retract the story today and report it correctly as was said in the context. If you choose not to retract or correct the story, I shall not refer the matter to my lawyers to take it to court judges for deliberate distortion, malice and defamation. I shall instead leave it to the public court of opinion too judge for themselves on the topic.”

And Sampa said he reserved the right to change his mind at any given point.

A day before filing his application for adoption on the PF ticket for Matero constituency, Sampa endorsed Eden University proprietor Kelvin Kaunda for the given seat.

When asked why he had quickly changed his mind in an interview, Sampa said his “personal stakeholders” advised him to go for the same seat.

“That was then, ifintu nafi chinja (things have changed), we are not stones! So, if I am guided by my stakeholders to move, you want me to refuse? I am a team player. So, I have been guided to go to Matero, don’t ask me by who, I said my ‘personal stakeholders.’ I haven’t mentioned any name, if you want, add my wife and my children, but there are other key stakeholders, I am a team player, I play for an organisation. I am not an island, my first choice is to be Mayor. But then, I have been guided and I have gone to my second choice, which is MP. When I was younger, I would just do what I want. Now, I take consideration of all stakeholders. So, I have been guided to go to Matero and also to allow women empowerment because a female has put in an application to be Mayor. So, I didn’t want to disadvantage her because I am an advocate of women empowerment,” Sampa said.

“So, I would rather not disadvantage a woman who is almost ripe for leadership. So, I have been guided by very key stakeholders to me. That video for Kaunda was the other week, tilipano ntuli (we are here now). Don’t ask me by who, I have just added my wife and my family. That video was correct at the time. Now, politics as you know, 24 hours as they say is a long time in politics. So, by the deadline, I was guided to leave the mayoral (position) for women empowerment, it is a policy for the party to allow any woman that qualifies, a mayoral position is good for a lady. I was guided, ‘let us support the women’ and I obliged, that is where we are. That video was correct so that video of him (me) endorsing Kelvin Kaunda is null and void.”

Sampa said he was confident that he would be adopted as he remained in good standing with the party.

“When I am elected, we will go back to the days of happy people, when we used to call ourselves ‘happy people’ in Matero. I have a lot of unfinished business, so we will just continue from where I left. To pick the Metro cab and also to get the Lusaka Tiger Scheme back. So, I am very optimistic, Matero, we will do the best and bring back life and development. When you put in an application, you have to be confident. It is like a game, you have to be confident, so I am very confident and I am selling myself in a confident way so that I am adopted. I am not attacking any of my opponents, they are all my brothers, they are free to attack me, but I will not. I will just keep selling myself,” said Sampa.

“I am in very good standing with the party, it is just a perception [that I am not], I am in very good standing with the President (Edgar Lungu); I am in very good standing with the SG (Davies Mwila); I am in very good standing with the MCC, I am in very good standing with all members.”