VETERAN politician Vernon Mwaanga has said that the political chaos in the country has compelled him to continue propagating for a leadership generational change and that he has endorsed United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema because the opposition leader had demonstrated that he could unite the country.
Dr Mwaanga said it was tragic that some of the opposition political party leaders directed their verbal energies on wrong target thereby weakening the civilized way of doing politics.
Dr Mwaanga said in a statement that this was a defining moment in the country’s young democracy for a new generation of leadership to take charge of the affairs of the country.
Dr Mwaanga was reacting to media reports that People’s Party (PP) leader Mike Mulongoti criticised him and former first lady Maureen Mwanawasa for endorsing UPND president Hakainde Hichilema in the January presidential election.
In reference to Dr Mwaanga and Dr Mwanawasa, Mr Mulongoti claimed that most people were in a hurry to endorse Mr Hichilema for the presidency because the UPND leader’s chances of scooping the presidency were high and not out of principle.
Efforts to get Mr Mulongoti failed as his mobile phone was switched off.
But Dr Mwaanga said a few months ago, he participated in the passing of the torch to a new generation of Zambians because he strongly believed that time had come for the country to be governed by the new, young and energetic leadership.
Dr Mwaanga reiterated that the new dawn for new leadership had come and that it should be allowed to flourish and spread to every corner of the country.
“The tragedy of some of our opposition political party leaders is that they have their verbal energies targeted at wrong targets, thereby weakening the civilized ways of participating in politics. It is a matter of record that in the United States, General Collin Powel, a Republican who was secretary of state under the Bush administration endorsed Barack Obama, a Democrat for the president of the United States because it was best for the US. Given the state of our country is in, I had to look for what is best for Zambia at this time,” Mr Mwaanga said.
Dr Mwaanga said time had come for Zambians to begin to look at what was best for the country and not just a party, tribe and colour of a person.
He said Zambia would make tremendous progress if its citizens looked beyond self-interests unlike what was happening to most political party leaders.
Dr Mwaanga said unlike other political party leaders such as Mr Mulongoti, he (Mwaanga) had only belonged to two political parties in his political career because he did not subscribe to changing political parties without understanding and accepting their political ideologies.
He said it was politically incorrect for Mr Mulongoti to criticize his decision to support Mr Hichilema and advised the People’s Party leader to respect the choices of other people.
Dr Mwaanga said it was the right of Mr Mulongoti to jump from one political party to another and that it would be wrong for him (Dr Mwaanga) to criticize the People’s Party leader over his freedom of association.
“I have been consistent in supporting generational change and will maintain that we need a new generation of leaders in our country,” Dr Mwaanga said.