Rupiah surprises people with white beret at Kuomboka
|President Banda (r) with
the Litunga yesterday. — The
President Rupiah Banda yesterday
surprised most people at Mongu Airstrip when he emerged from the Zambia Air
Force (ZAF) plane clad in a traditional Lozi attire of a kilt and a waistcoat
but with a white, instead of the normal red beret on his head.
red card campaign became an issue at the 2010 Kuomboka ceremony when some MMD
cadres in Mongu launched an operation to sort out some PF-UPND members that were
allegedly strategising to flash red cards at President Banda on his arrival at
President Banda departed from the traditional Lozi
etiquette of adorning a red beret while in the presence of the Litunga after he
arrived in Mongu to grace this year's Kuomboka ceremony wearing a snow white
President Banda did not address the crowd waiting for him
at the airport but merely went in the addressing dais and waved the MMD symbol
for a few minutes before rushing to the waiting Presidential chopper, which
immediately took off for Lealui.
During last year's Kuomboka, President
Banda failed to board the Litunga's barge, the Nalikwanda, when it set off on
its voyage from Lealui to Limulunga, as the case is supposed to be those who are
guest of honours at the traditional ceremony.
Meanwhile, Patriotic Front
(PF) spokesperson Given Lubinda in the company of Ndola Central PF
parliamentarian Mark Mushili arrived at Mongu Airstrip minutes before President
Banda's plane touched down. Mushili and a few others went back to their plane
and collected some boxes, which they carried as they passed through the sizeable
crowd waiting for President Banda's arrival.
The boxes being carried by
the PF delegation triggered suspicion in the minds of the MMD youths led by
former Mongu mayor Charles Akende, who is also the provincial youth
Akende, who was clad in an imitation of a US Army camouflage,
mobilised a paltry number of ruling party youths to follow the Lubinda-led PF
delegation and flush them out of the airport perimeter so that they do not flash
the red cards at President Banda.
"It is Given Lubinda and guys," said
Akende as he ordered the cadres to spread around the parking lot in search of
the PF delegation.
Akende said in an interview that the MMD in
Barotseland was worried about the red card campaign.
"They want to bring
the issue of this red card. As a party we are very worried about...we are going
to make sure that does not happen because this is Barotseland. It is the UPND-PF
who are strategising. We will make sure we do not tolerate such a thing
happening here," Akende said.
Akende ordered the cadres to make sure that
as soon as President Banda arrived they should step up their operation against
the 'Red Cards'. He also asked others to line up at Kapulanga Market down the
road leading to the airport from Mongu town and deal with anyone flushing red
One MMD official was heard telling Akende to buy tujilijli for the
Akende also informed a police officer about their operation and
the officer went on to inform others of what was brewing.
spotted their provincial youth chairperson Njamba Musangu and they debriefed him
on their operation while urging him to join them.
Shortly at 09.22 hours,
President Banda's plane touched down.
The MMD youths were further seemingly
not happy with the way some Cabinet ministers and district commissioners had
positioned themselves on the line waiting to shake President Banda's
Musangu was heard complaining: "Those people have already been
given jobs, what are they doing there?"
But shortly before President
Banda's plane touched down in Mongu, State House official Francis Chigunta was
spotted distributing leaflets of a photograph where a red beret-clad President
Banda was seated in the royal pavillion at Limulunga with Litunga Lubosi Imwiko
II during last year's Kuomboka Ceremony.
Some MMD cadres were seen pacing
around the airport urging those with the leaflets to wave them in the air
towards the Presidential plane as soon as it touched down.
The master of
ceremonies identified only as Nasilele, said the leaflets were indicating that
relations between the Litunga and President Banda were synonymous to that of a
kilt (skirt) and a belt.
Another cadre was seen running along the airport
perimeter whilst raising the leaflet and shouting 'RB 2011'.