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 2010-11-25 10:43 am Back to NEWS
The Post is our first enemy — UPND
UPND MPs at the party's secretariat yesterday 24.11.10

UPND cadres yesterday threatened to burn and kill Post assistant news editor George Chellah.

This occurred at the party secretariat in Lusaka just after the UPND members of parliament concluded their press briefing at which they declared The Post as their first enemy.

Chellah, who was accompanied by Post production editor Afeti Yulu, walked to his car immediately after the briefing where he found four cadres waiting.

“This is George Chellah, he is the one who writes silly things about HH. Yes, he is the one,”¯ argued the cadres in Nyanja as they charged towards Chellah, prompting Chellah to lock himself in the car.

The cadres mobilised themselves and began banging on the car windows.

“Are you George Chellah? If you are the one let me warn you that we don’t care who you are and what you do. You should write good things over this meeting. If you don’t we will come after you. I can assure you that the next time we see you, we will burn you alive,”¯ said one of the cadres amidst insults. “We are not like these people you are fond of meeting. We don’t take nonsense and we can kill for HH. We will kill you if you are playing with us. We will stab you with knives. You think we are happy with what you write about our president?

“Try us and you will see. Even now we can do that because you are in our territory. You just want to be writing good things about Sata and not our president. We will start beating you like we used to do during the days of Mazoka.”

Kalomo member of parliament Request Muntanga witnessed the unfolding event and rushed to restrain the cadres who had surrounded Chellah’s car and were now stripping it of its rim covers.

Amidst the confusion, Chellah, who was holed up in the car for over 15 minutes, was frantically making phone calls to UPND parliamentarians Charles Kakoma and Gary Nkombo but the calls went answered, although Kakoma later returned the call.

“Yes, George!” shouted Kakoma as Chellah responded: “Honourable, I am in the car park. I was calling so that you help me. Your cadres are after my life.”

Kakoma then emerged from the small crowd that had gathered around the vehicle and joined Muntanga who was at pains restraining the irate cadres.

In panic, Chellah attempted to plough through a chain of vehicles that had blocked the way.

“Don’t do that, you will damage these cars; just wait for the cars to be moved so that you pass,” pleaded Muntanga as Chellah interjected. “If it means driving through these cars I will do it because I cannot stay here where my security is not guaranteed and my life is in danger here. This is just a car Honourable, even if I hit it, it can be replaced. Not my life. You can’t replace life!”

Kakoma and Muntanga ordered that the vehicles be moved to pave way for Chellah to drive off.

And speaking on behalf of all UPND parliamentarians earlier during the briefing, Muntanga described Tuesday’s Post lead story that MMD and UPND were in alliance talks as baseless, untrue and malicious.

He said the story must be rubbished with the contempt it deserved.

“We also wish to put on record that The Post newspaper, whose decision not to cover UPND we have respected and accepted, seem to jump to the occasion each time they have an opportunity to write negative stories that suggest to demean and disparage our party,” Muntanga said. 

“Whilst we accept their prerogative and decision of who they decide to cover and who they decide not to, we feel it is grossly unfair for them and their source to state that we do not trust our Pact partners because the contrary is what is true.

“The story was meant to divide the Pact. We feel that The Post has been instrumental in advising our Pact partners that they do not need the UPND-PF alliance and we from UPND believe that the troubles that may exist in the Pact have been fuelled by unsubstantiated stories such as the one contained in yesterday’s edition of The Post and many other stories published in the past. Finally, we want to inform the nation through you colleagues that the Pact is a creation of the people. Whoever is doing that be it in UPND, PF or any interested media house will pay a dear price for continually mutilating people’s will, for their actions.”¯

During the question-and-answer session, Sinazongwe member of parliament Raphael Muyanda declared The Post as their first enemy.

“May we be candid with The Post, the first enemy is The Post,” Muyanda said.

He said the newspaper would not succeed in dividing UPND.

“We shall not tolerate any form of insinuation that there are MPs who are talking to MMD,” he said.

Mapatizya member of parliament Ackson Sejani also dismissed MMD parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga’s statement that the rank and file of the two parties were discussing a possible alliance.

“It would be stupid for anybody to meet these disgruntled elements, vagabonds, and say you are talking,” said Sejani emotionally.

Kakoma challenged Mwaanga to disclose the names of the people that were involved in the talks.

Mbabala and Pemba members of parliament Emmanuel Hachipuka and David Matongo reaffirmed their commitment and loyalty to UPND.

“I want to live long enough to see Hakainde in State House,” said Hachipuka amidst choruses of approval from the audience. And Matongo said he would remain in UPND to get Hichilema into State House.

“Some of us are stable financially and politically,” he said.

When asked whether the UPND was not ashamed to have participated in the National Constitutional Conference (NCC), a move that was against Hichilema’s stance on the matter, Kakoma said the UPND parliamentarians did their best at the NCC. 

Before that Muntanga chipped in saying: “Sometimes we keep quiet because we are a force to reckon with. Let UPND concentrate. We were blacked out during the Chilanga by-election but I think it has proved one thing—we can win an election without headlines.”

Meanwhile Chellah reported the threats he received and the damage caused to his vehicle by the UPND cadres to the police.

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