Sat, 22 Oct 2016 10:16:41 +0000
MY CONTINUED stay in office as a Cabinet Minister disadvantaged my campaigns as Lusaka Central Constituency Candidate as I would have preferred to be wholeheartedly involved in ground work and mobilisation, says Commerce Minister Mwanakatwe.
Ms Mwanakatwe said holding the position of Minister during the campaign period forced her to divide time between her official duties during the day and held her campaign meetings during night time. She said her position as Cabinet Minister during the campaign period limited her personal contribution to her own campaigns as a candidate compared to how she would have performed if she was not a minister.
“Actually, staying in office disadvantaged me from what I would have preferred to actually do if I was not minister. So I had to do my day’s job as a minister during the day to satisfy my duties as such I drew a salary, and go out for campaigns during the night time,” she said. She was testifying in a petition hearing against her election as Lusaka Central Member of Parliament following the August 11 polls.
She was making her submission in her defence before Mr Justice Siavwapa, Ms Mwanakatwe explained that her continued stay in office after the dissolution of parliament on May 7, 2016 was supported by the President who was the appointing authority.
She explained that her appointing authority had assure their stay that until such a decision was made by the Constitutional Court, she, like other ministers would continue serving in their respective Cabinet positions. And Ms Mwanakatwe has rubbished accusations that she was being racist when she described as having been born at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and her umbilical code buried there.
She said there was nothing racist about stating one’s birthplace, and that if she wanted, Dr Scott could have stated the same and it would not have been racist at all. “There is not a time that racial remarks could ever be attributed to me or anybody in my campaign team.
“It is clear that when the people of Lusaka Central vote, they are not swayed by anything racial looking at its history of MPs with Dipak Patel and Guy Scott sharing 25 years in Parliament between them,” she said. Dr Scott, who is wife of former area MP and former republican vice-president Dr Guy Scott, has accused the minister of abusing State resources in her campaigns which gave her undue advantage in mobilisation and status against her opponents. She said Ms Mwanakatwe used her privileges such as Government motor vehicles and emoluments drawn from Government for the campaigns.
By Nation Reporter