13 December 2012

Zambia: Minister Lubinda Given Ultimatum

FOREIGN Affairs Minister Given Lubinda has been given a seven-day ultimatum to exculpate himself on allegations of leaking vital Patriotic Front (PF) information to online publications.

The minister has also been accused of working in collaboration with the opposition MMD and United Party for National Development (UPND).

PF Secretary General Wynter Kabimba confirmed this in an interview in Lusaka yesterday.

The allegations against Mr Lubinda come on the heels of a PF consultative meeting where Mr Kabimba warned of stern action against members with divided loyalty.

Mr Lubinda is accused of collaborating with the opposition with the intention of discrediting PF policies and bringing its name into disrepute.

He is also accused of leaking adverse information to the Zambian Watchdog and the Daily Nation newspaper.

In a letter dated December 10, 2012 signed by Mr Kabimba and obtained by the Times, Mr Lubinda's exculpation would be followed by a disciplinary committee hearing.

"I have received adverse reports against you (Mr Lubinda) from members of the PF including MPs regarding acts of disloyalty to the ideals of the party by you as a member. It is alleged that you have been actively working or collaborating with some members of the opposition in the MMD and UPND with the intention of discrediting the party's decisions and policies.

"It is further alleged that you have been responsible for planting some of the adverse articles in the Daily Nation against the party and its leadership. In your collaboration with some opposition MPs, you have been responsible for leaking confidential information to them which information came into your possession as a senior member of the party," the letter reads in part.

Mr Kabimba said the information had been regularly posted by Mr Lubinda.

"Your alleged acts are in breach of your obligation as a member under the party constitution for which the party intends to institute disciplinary action against you.

"In view of the foregoing, I would be obliged to receive from you an exculpatory statement within seven days from the date hereof for reference to the disciplinary committee for consideration and determination of this matter."

The letter was copied to President Michael Sata.

Efforts to get a comment from Mr Lubinda proved futile by Press time as his mobile phones were not reachable.

During the PF consultative meeting, Mr Kabimba urged PF members to seriously look out for traitors in their midst, even among some members of the central committee, ministers and members of Parliament.

Mr Kabimba called for high levels of discipline, unity and hard work among PF members in order to take Zambia forward.

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