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 2010-04-18 12:37 pm Back to NEWS
Rupiah surprises people with white beret at Kuomboka
President Banda (r) with the Litunga yesterday. The Post

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.

And the 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 Mongu Airstrip.

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 woolen beret.

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 treasurer.

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 cards.

One MMD official was heard telling Akende to buy tujilijli for the operatives.
Akende also informed a police officer about their operation and the officer went on to inform others of what was brewing.

The group 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 hand.

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'.

The Post

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