LIVINGSTONE MAYOR FUMES…I don’t want to work with Rodney Sikumba – Muleabai
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
I DON’T want to work with Rodney Sikumba, he is one those inciting people to rise against me, says Livingstone mayor Constance Muleabai as internal fighting in the ruling party increase.
But Sikumba, the Minister of Tourism and also Livingstone UPND member of parliament, says this was not true and urged this journalist not to have the story published.
In an interview, Muleabai accused Sikumba, her deputy Reverend John Banda, youth leaders Phil Musela and Emmanuel Syamasaka, district secretary Renny Shindelele as well as Sikumba’s sister Yvonne and some councillors for inciting public anger against her especially among marketeers.
“Some marketeers protested (to Zambezi FM radio on Tuesday) demanding for my resignation. But I want to tell you that I won’t because I have a five-year-mandate. I have put my foot down that I won’t allow anarchy in the city.
I am even surprised why the police cannot arrest Phil for inciting street vendors. I even called the MP (Sikumba) to tell him that I don’t want to work with him. His absence in the constituency should not affect my work,” Muleabai said.
She alleged that some UPND leaders were financing traders to hurl insults at her and also calling for her resignation.
Muleabai said some councillors even went to an extent of writing to the Local Government Service Commission calling for the removal of town clerk Timothy Mambalakata for unknown reasons adding that she had to intervene to clear him.
She said traders at the Livingstone City Market should not trade in the market parking lot as this would attract those inside to abandon their stands and trade on the street.
“Phil even deployed some cleaners at the bus terminal without council knowledge saying they would be paid K1,500 each every month until we stopped them. Why is he untouchable?
The deputy mayor (Rev Banda) and Mr Shindele are inticing people to insult me. I don’t mind people positioning themselves to be mayor but I have a five-year mandate,” Muleabai complained.
She said she would not engage in illegality to plaese people.
But Sikumba said the mayor’s assertions against him were not true.
“That is not true. No that is not correct and please don’t write such stories Mr Mbulo,” said Sikumba. “Sir, you don’t write such stories. They are very divisive.”
Shindele when contacted said he did not know what she was talking about, but was quick to add that “her problem is that she likes to work in isolation. Each time I have a problem with her I do approach her. I don’t know what is happening.”
Rev Banda, who is Akapelwa ward councillor under which the main central business district falls, said the mayor being superior should have engaged him if she had information or suspicions of him being against her.
“There is nothing of that sought,” said Rev Banda.
And Musela said Muleabai has failed and risks causing more problems for the council.
He accused her of using the council to fight everyone in the UPND.
“The mayor has failed and if her behaviour continues we will have a big problem in Livingstone. The problem is not me, the party or the MP, it his her. Sikumba does not want to talk of trivial issues. She should not shift her failure to us,” said Musela.
Sikumba’s sister Yvonne said the mayor is her own enemy.
“I won’t say much as this may open a Pandora’s box. There is no government that can operate without the party, but for her she has no regard for party officials. She does not respect us and she does not understand how the party and its government should operate. She wants to turn her office into a family thing! That is a public office and not for the Muleabai family,” said Yvonne. “I can only best describe her as a person who has managed to kill the unity we had in UPND. She does not listen to any one. She knows it all.”
Syamasaka, who is the constituency youth chairperson, said he is the one who provided transport and campaigned for Muleabai all the way until she was adopted.
“When she got her adoption she stopped talking to me. I can’t fight her because she was supposed to be married to my cousin,” said Syamasaka.