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RB weighs in for Lungu

FORMER President Rupiah Banda with President Edgar Lungu(right) and PF National Chairperson Inonge Wina at Amalula Lodge before they held a meeting at Protea Hotel in January. PICTURE:COLLINS PHIRI.

DARLINGTON MWENDABAI & HOPE NYOKA, Chipata
FORMER President Rupiah Banda has endorsed Patriotic Front presidential candidate Edgar Lungu for the January 20 presidential election.
Mr Banda described this year as a dawn of new hope where all Zambians should turn up in numbers to vote for Mr Lungu for continuity and stability.
The former head of state, who was in a jovial mood, delivered his endorsement speech dubbed “Peace and Unity will deliver Zambia” in Chipata yesterday.
He said the country needs stability and continuity, and not a revolution, hence Zambians should elect a leader who has shown the qualities of humility, commitment and unity.
“For these reasons, I am appearing before you today to announce my endorsement of Minister of Justice and Defence Edgar Lungu of the PF for president on January 20, 2015,” he said.
Mr Banda said after meeting Mr Lungu to understand his intentions and identify the problems which must be addressed, that he is confident that the PF candidate has qualities the Zambian people need.
He said unlike the United Party for National Development (UPND) which is only interested in buying MMD members and asking his son Andrew to insult him on political podiums, Mr Lungu has shown interest to allow peace and unity to prevail in the county.
“After much deliberation, I came to the conclusion that I could not support any candidate that would seek to eliminate or weaken the MMD.  I count many friends among those in the UPND, however, I cannot agree with the approach of poaching individual MMD members to defect to their camp instead of negotiating openly with the whole party,” Mr Banda said.
He accused the UPND of trying to drag the country to a one party fiasco and not promoting peace and unity among Zambians.
Mr Banda said he had had many meetings with UPND leaders where they suggested that he should deputise Hakainde Hichilema who had no experience of being republican president.
Mr Banda  urged Mr Lungu if elected to ensure  the costs of basic goods such as mealie meal, fertilizer, fuel and cement are lowered and  the economy is stabilised while a genuine people driven constitution is delivered  and Zambians united.
He said the past year had its own challenges where the country witnessed delayed payments for farmers and social divisions but this year, Zambians should vote for Mr Lungu to guide the country for the next 18 months.
In accepting the endorsement, Mr Lungu said he was humbled by the gesture and promised the former head of state and Zambians that he will not let them down.
“Our Late President Sata taught us to embrace all Zambians and we as PF, we do just that. We will work with the MMD who are supporting us and we are going to win the forth coming presidential election because of your support,” he said.
Mr Lungu said he will not sign any social contract with the clergy or anybody but Zambians adding that he delivered as Minister of Justice a final draft constitution without any signed social contracts.
He said it does not pay in a multiparty democracy to swallow opposition parties and the PF will instead co-exist with other political parties.
Mr Lungu said the media enjoy press freedom and if elected, he will study the Access to Information Bill.
Earlier, PF national chairperson Inonge Wina thanked Mr Banda and MMD National Executive Committee members for endorsing Mr Lungu, a gesture she described as rare from a former head of state.
Former MMD national secretary Muhabi Lungu said all party structures will support Mr Lungu.

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