THE Democratic Party has reacted sharply to Antonio Mwanza’s labelling of Harry Kalaba as unpatriotic and petty.
Kalaba, a former foreign affairs minister, but now the DP president, was quoted by The Mast on Sunday, saying problems at Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) – now under provisional liquidation – were exacerbated by the PF government: “due to the illegal dealings they have been involved in and owing to the kickbacks and campaign money they kept obtaining from Vedanta.”
PF deputy media director Mwanza, however, called The Mast on the same day and chastised Kalaba, in particular, and opposition politicians, in general.
“The comments from Mr Kalaba make sad reading and this is the tragedy that the Zambian people are facing. The level of opposition that we have in this country leaves much to be desired. The quality of opposition that we have in this country is mediocre – they thrive on bitterness and pettiness,” Mwanza said.
He challenged Kalaba to name PF officials who were getting money from KCM and: “let him tell the nation how much money was received from KCM and how he himself benefited.”
“You cannot expect such to come from a person who was a Cabinet minister! To come from Mr Kalaba, of all people, is very unfortunate,” said Mwanza.
“Mr Kalaba is just being unpatriotic, childish, petty and he is just showing the Zambian people that he has nothing to offer. Being in opposition does not mean opposing everything that the government is doing….”
In a rebuttal on Monday, DP national women’s chairperson Bridget Nkhoma slammed Mwanza for questioning Kalaba’s patriotism.
“He is a hired mouthpiece because Mr Mwanza genuinely knows he has no moral standing in society and no history of gallant public service to even sustain a feigned confidence of bringing president Harry Kalaba’s name into his cheap politics,” Nkhoma stated.
“He is simply a finished, exhausted and well-paid 40-year-old hired by the PF to write and defend its lies and thievery.”
Nkhoma, who called Mwanza her son, reminded him that at the age of 36, Kalaba was: “already Minister of Lands and Environment, having served as a civil servant par-excellence for 10 years.”
“He is the longest serving Minister of Foreign Affairs until his resignation on the grounds of patriotism – a rare trait! I make an earnest appeal to my son Antonio, to take time and reach deep into whatever is left of his good conscious – and do what is right and noble,” she stated.
“You are young; don’t auction your future by saying things you can’t substantiate.”
Nkhoma further stated that Mwanza’s FDD “coat” had not yet dried.
After an illustrious time in the FDD, Mwanza, who was the opposition party’s spokesperson, resigned on January 20, 2018 and joined the PF.
According to him, he did not want to grow old in the opposition and decided to be: “a donkey” for the governing PF and Zambia.
“We all know what you used to say about PF before they dangled money before you! Your political escapades have an expiry date – 21.08.2021!” stated Nkhoma.
“You can do better than making a living out of maligning patriots like Kalaba because even in poverty (like most Zambians live in), there is dignity.”