Chiluba quitting 3rd term 'a trick'

Lusaka - Zambian President Frederick Chiluba's decision to give up plans to stand for a third time, have been perceived as a trick to quell riots that had rocked Lusaka as Members of Parliament step up their campaign to have him impeached.

And unconfirmed reports also say that Chiluba was forced to give in after he was warned of an impending coup, planned by members of the elite commando unit.

"He was told his life was at stake, so he decided to abandon his plans to stand. That is why he had air cover as he drove from his party's convention in Kabwe," an intelligence source said on Sunday.

About a week ago, Chiluba's convoy was protected by helicopters on a 150km trip from Kabwe, the venue for Chiluba's Movement for Multi-Party Democracy convention.

Despite his statement that he would not stand, people have refused to believe him basing their argument on his well-known trickery.

Twenty-one MPÆs expelled

Twenty-one Members of Parliament, expelled by Chiluba for opposing him, say his decision not to stand is temporary and that politicians loyal to him asked to stand down after threats on his life.

Opposition leaders and Members of Parliament are not satisfied with what they deem Chiluba's trick and are pressing for his impeachment.

Spokesperson for the expelled MPs, Edith Nawakwi, who was fired as Labour Minister, said the impeachment process is still on and that Chiluba has now resorted to calling them one by one to State House with the intention of asking them to withdraw their signatures from a petition. The petition has been handed to the speaker.

In trying to halt the process to impeach him, Chiluba last week expelled 21 MPs from his party, an action which in essence would have caused them to seize to be MPs and thus render their petition null and void.

But National Assembly speaker, Amusaa Mwanamwambwa, who is sympathetic to the expelled MPs has refused to declare the seats vacant until the injunction filed in the High Court against their expulsion is disposed of.

Chiluba's sudden change of mind looks far from the being the solution to the debate that has been raging in Zambia with majority of the citizens being in support of the impeachment process.

Worst candidates to fill cabinet

In trying to have people loyal to him around him, Chiluba dissolved the cabinet and put in recycled faces of politicians who were in the forefront of trying to get him to run for president again.

The people that have taken over ministerial positions are about the worst Chiluba could have picked with Nawakwi calling Chiluba's cabinet a ôgovernment made simpleö.

Chiluba, who got rid of the cream of the MMD, desperate to form a cabinet, has in one case appointed a former clerk typist, Regina Phiri as a deputy minister. Phiri can hardly construct a sentence but Chiluba finds himself with no option.

In another case, Chiluba has appointed Presidential Affairs Minister, Erick Silwamba as Legal Affairs Minster, to do dual duties, having lost all the legal minds in his cabinet. - Media24 Africa Service

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