Brigadier General Miyanda has said that the Post Newspaper correctly and professionally reported his statement on the President’s Speech and stands by his statement.
In a statement made available to Lusakatimes.com, General Miyanda insisted that the President Edgar Lungu did not clarify or define his important topic of national unity when he opened the House of Parliament last Friday 18th September 2015.
General Miyanda has further released to Lusakatimes the prior statements he had issued on the President’s address to Parliament
Below are the statements;
STATEMENT: RESPONSE TO MINISTER KAMBWILI!
[22ND SEPTEMBER 2015]
I believe that Minister Kambwili’s rubbishing of my statement is the official position of the PF Government; what a pity! I stand by my statement which was correctly and professionally reported on page 8 by The Post; President Lungu DID NOT clarify or define his important topic of national unity when he opened the House of Parliament last Friday 18th September 2015 – full stop.
My comment was specific and dealt with President Lungu’s pet subject of “unity”. In my statement I supported the President’s call for unity but criticised the double standards. I considered the topic so important that it should not have escaped the President’s lips in his two-hour address to Parliament. I support the call for national unity but not window dressing slogans. Is it unity for PF to poach and silence opposition MPs? Is it unity to threaten and intimidate voters and promise to turn the PF backs on those citizens who will vote for the opposition?
Minister Kambwili has described me on his ZNBC loudspeaker as having “stooped so low by joining Mmembe”. Which part of my statement announced that I had joined Fred Mmembe? Anyway is it Minister Kambwili’s business to tell me who to join or not to join? Is this not promoting hate speech just before the 18th October 2015?
In any case why should the PF leaders who are calling for Prayers and Reconciliation on 18th October 2015 consider Mmembe a lowly creature who should be shunned? What will President Lungu and his Kambwili do should Mmembe turn up at the Cathedral on 18th October 2015 to join them in their “Prayers of Reconciliation”? Have I stooped low because my statement has been published by The Post?
This is what is meant by fake declarations, double standards. This is why I stated that while the naming of 18th October 2015 as a day of National Prayers and Reconciliation should be welcome, continued contradictory statements by the President and his senior colleagues in the Party and Government will create doubts in the minds of many a citizen.
By the way, the Lord Jesus Christ set the example of stooping low by washing the feet of ordinary followers. Ba Minister Kambwili, will you stoop low and seriously embrace Fred Mmembe and his weeping mother on 18th October 2015? Remember not to take the Lord’s name in vain! Now await my comment on the President’s address.
[22ND SEPTEMBER 2015]
STATEMENT BY BRIGADIER GENERAL GODFREY MIYANDA ON THE OCCASION OF THE OPENING OF PARLIAMENT BY PRESIDENT EDGAR LUNGU ON 18TH SEPTEMBER 2015
The opening of the Zambian Parliament on Friday 18th September 2015 is an appropriate occasion for President Edgar Lungu to be clear on the many issues that continue to create acrimony in the nation. The President should use the occasion to make a clear trumpet sound with no “ichileya”, an out of tune sound!
One important and serious issue that demands truthfulness and clarity is his call for unity in the nation. Noble and saintly as the message sounds it is negated by his own persistent and consistent self-contradictions. From his own lips he calls upon all Zambians to come together for the sake of development; from the same lips he declares that he does not want to work with the opposition!
This he says literary on a daily basis, frequently threatening voters at campaign rallies, that if they vote for the opposition they will not see development in their areas, while at the same venue he concludes his message by calling for unity. This is George Orwell’s “Double Speak”. Of course it would be unfair to him to dismiss his unity message out of hand, hence this call for him to include explanations and clarifications during the Friday assembly of the august House of Parliament.
Let him clearly state his interpretation of unity vis a vis the principles in our Republican Constitution which he swore to defend and protect when he took up office. Is he serious when he calls upon all citizens to be united? As a lawyer is it his considered view that an opposition Member of Parliament can represent his political party while serving as a Minister or Deputy Minister? Will he stop poaching opposition MPs? If not what will he do about Section 9 of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act, which binds those appointed to ministerial positions to “Collective Responsibility” while at the same time making them subject to disciplinary sanctions when in breach of the said Act (for example if they reveal Cabinet discussions to their Party Presidents and other opposition members)? A few days ago in Luwingu he declared to Lubansenshi voters that if they do NOT vote for his PF candidate there will be no development there as he will turn his back on them. Is this his demonstration of unity in action?
The President has an excellent platform on Friday to make clear contentious issues that have left many Zambians exasperated, puzzled, confused and more divided.
[16th September 2015]
COMMENT BY BRIGADIER GENERAL GODFREY MIYANDA ON PRESIDENT LUNGU’S STATEMENT IN THE HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT ON 18TH SEPTEMBER 2015
[20TH SEPTEMBER 2015]
President Lungu gets zero marks for failing to address the important topic of national unity when he opened the House of Parliament last Friday 18th September 2015. Eight months in office is much more than the now officially disowned PF “90 days” slogan. His failure to address serious questions surrounding the governance of the country may suggest that he may, after all, not have any answers, which is a shame really.
The President is right to identify unity as a necessary tool for national development but his contradictory statements and actions belie the sincerity of the call. The call is an important concern that needs to and must be actualised. But unity cannot be achieved by a presidential decree nor by a gathering in a church building when those in attendance are not even in the very church! Unity must be worked at and strived for, hence why the President needed to make a clear sound.
Understanding the concept of unity in a democratic environment and taking time to know what makes it difficult to attain it is the first step towards achieving it. Unity, in the context of the President’s call, means coming or bringing together the people of Zambia to achieve a common purpose in the national interest. Different people will interpret this differently; why then did the President avoid this topic? He squandered that opportunity in Parliament. While the naming of 18th October 2015 as a day of National Prayers and Reconciliation is welcome, it may not be taken seriously because of failing to deal with questions that are being raised about the unity vehicle, especially contradictory statements that are being made by the President and his senior colleagues in the Party and Government. Two hours in Parliament was more than enough to put citizens’ minds at rest that the President means well in his call for unity.
The timing of the Presidential Opening of Parliament was godsend, being the last time before the next election that the President would address the nation through Parliament; a time when the whole nation is “compelled” to focus on and listen to the President; a time when citizens’ exaggerated expectations may be assuaged by truthful answers and explanations.
For the President to announce that he has not been spared with the load shedding cannot be a truthful public declaration, because it means he is saying to poor Zambians that “I am also suffering like you!” It is impossible for State House, the citadel of the Commander-in-Chief, to be without power.
The incident at the Heroes Stadium cannot be and must not be used to hoodwink and distract attention from the suffering being faced by ordinary people. In this regard I can safely say that the President is OK, very OK; he has an undisturbed regular income, which he tops up with other allowances on his frequent travels. Please Mr President, do not tease citizens on such important and solemn occasions. Do not make such comparisons again because they are not only offensive but are misinformed, not truthful and certainly not healing.
President Lungu missed the grand opportunity to use the opening of the Zambian Parliament to persuade any ‘doubting Thomases’ to respond positively to his call for national unity.
It is not too late to arrest the lost opportunity; but he can recover it not by more off-the-cuff quips by himself, his Special Assistant at State House, the Chief Government Spokesman or indeed the PF rank and file. He must do at least two things regarding his call for unity: first he must hold a press conference to answer questions from the media. Second he must hold a meeting (a garden tea-party) with Opposition Political leaders on an agreed serious national agenda.
As for the opening of Parliament, not only did the President not make a clear sound but he made no sound at all over his pet subject of unity! By neglecting to address this topic in that august House his call may now be perceived as a mere political slogan. Remember, actions speak louder than words.
[20th September 2015]