Former Defence Minister George Mpombo has criticized the United Party for National Development (UPND) spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa for defending President Hakainde Hichilema’s personal attacks on his predecessor, Edgar Lungu. Dr Mpombo has stated that President Hichilema’s assault on the integrity of Mr Lungu was uncalled for and beyond justification politically or morally.
In response to a statement by Mr Mweetwa that opposition political parties had taken the use of the Bemba word “Ukutumpa” out of context, Dr Mpombo argued that despite being provoked, former President Levy Mwanawasa never harboured any hard feelings. He said Mr Mwanawasa never used to hold grudges against his political opponents and that his leadership was praised by the nation when he authorized Mr Sata’s evacuation to South Africa for medical treatment.
Dr Mpombo added that what Mr Mwanawasa purportedly said to Mr Sata faded into insignificance as compared to the words uttered by President Hichilema in Kitwe, considering the Head of State’s body language and tone of his voice. He said the public and the church should have admonished President Mwanawasa if the comments were perceived as a threat on the late Mr Sata.
Dr Mpombo stated that Mr Mweetwa’s assertions in Livingstone were morally and politically bankrupt and had loopholes through which a herd of elephants would be driven through. Mr Mweetwa, who is also Southern Province Minister, has expressed concern over the continued abuse of President Hichilema’s use of the term “Kutumpa Uko” during his recent public address on the Copperbelt Province.
Mr Mweetwa said opposition political parties had taken the statement out of context and that the cliché “Kutumpa” was a common saying, widely used in the Zambian vocabulary when referring to something that is not acceptable. He pointed out that Mr Mwanawasa and Mr Lungu had used that cliché during their reign.
“President Mwanawasa did at one point use the term in reference to the leading opposition party leader then Michael Sata, ‘Nga watumpa; fyala kubipila,’ and also President Edgar Lungu once he took over the reins of leadership of this country did address union leaders who then had indicated that he had failed to provide leadership of this country by saying ‘Kutumpa for the union leaders to say I have failed’,” Mr Mweetwa explained.
President Hichilema’s use of the term “Kutumpa Uko” has generated controversy, with some accusing him of using inappropriate language. However, Mr Mweetwa has defended the President, arguing that the term is widely used and that opposition parties are taking it out of context.
,Dr Mpombo has criticized Mr Mweetwa’s defense of President Hichilema’s personal attacks on his predecessor as morally and politically bankrupt. He has argued that President Hichilema’s assault on the integrity of Mr Lungu was uncalled for and beyond justification politically or morally. Meanwhile, Mr Mweetwa has defended the President’s use of the term “Kutumpa Uko,” stating that it is a common saying in Zambia and that opposition parties are taking it out of context.