THE MMD has said it is heartening that Vice-President Guy Scott has openly rubbished the unfounded allegations by a hired group of individuals slandering and blackmailing Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda over government legal obligations to pay the mines the Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds.
And the former ruling party has warned Anglican Church priest Father Richard Luonde that he risked burning his fingers by accepting to be used by a band of individuals plotting to hijack the presidency of the Patriotic Front (PF) and that of the nation.
MMD national treasurer Mwansa Mbulakulima said it was good that Dr Scott had broken off from the crusaders of hate and slander against Mr Chikwanda by stating that government was obligated to pay the VAT refunds because failure to do so was not only a breach of the law but would worsen the economic performance of the country.
Mr Mbulakulima told the Daily Nation yesterday that the MMD was happy that Dr Scott had come to the defence of Mr Chikwanda whom he said had become a victim of tribal persecution and exclusion by a group of people who had sniffed the aroma of power and believe it could easily go their way.
He said the MMD was happy that Dr Scott had exonerated Mr Chikwanda by telling off his attackers that there was nothing wrong with the Finance Minister having shares in Sigma Enterprises, a company the cabal has been using to scandalize the Finance Minister after a classified letter to President Michael Sata on VAT refunds was leaked to a media house.
He said as much as the economy had stagnated under the PF, failing to settle the VAT refund to the mines would only exacerbate the economic performance of the country.
Mr Mbulakulima said people championing a crusade that government should abrogate its obligations to pay the mines VAT refunds were serving their selfish interests adding that Zambians should condemn maneuvers to frustrate the mining sector which was the backbone of the country’s economy.
“It is good that Dr Scott made it clear that government has an obligation to pay the mines VAT refunds and as the MMD, we feel that is the way to go. As much as we know that the growth of the economy has stagnated under the PF, failure to pay the VAT refunds would only worsen the economic situation. We do not share the views of those championing a crusade of demonizing Mr Chikwanda and we know that the Finance Minister is just a victim of tribal persecution and exclusion and we know it because we are not naïve,” Mr Mbulakulima said.
And Mr Mbulakulima said MMD was aware that there were clandestine schemes by some power hungry senior PF leaders to fraudulently take over the leadership of the ruling party and that of the nation.
He said the MMD was fully aware that a group of individuals that was singing praises for President Sata and pontificating righteousness was the same clique that had launched their campaigns to take over President Sata before he could finish serving his first term.
Mr Mbulakulima said it was shocking that Fr Luonde had accepted to be used by the cartel to perpetuate a hate and malice campaign which he said was anchored on tribalism.
He warned that Fr Luonde risked burning his fingers by joining a crusade against Mr Chikwanda because Zambians were aware that the campaign against the Finance Minister was meant at getting at President Sata.
Mr Mbulakulima said the MMD had always known that there was a cartel in the PF that has been scheming to manipulate President Sata so that they could take over the leadership of the country.
“Fr Luonde should be told that there is more than meets the eye in this campaign of vilifying Mr Chikwanda. Fr Luonde risks burning his fingers and let him slow down on this matter. He has spoken and has said enough. No one has the monopoly of wisdom and as a priest, it is our expectation that he should have remained neutral on the VAT debate. Fr Luonde has been attacking Mr Chikwanda without understanding the law regarding VAT refunds,” Mr Mbulakulima said.