Saturday, August 23, 2008

MMD asks presidential aspirants to apply before August 26

MMD asks presidential aspirants to apply before August 26
By Patson Chilemba in Lusaka and Mutuna Chanda in Kitwe
Saturday August 23, 2008 [04:01]

THE MMD has asked members wishing to contest the party presidency to lodge in their application letters before August 26 with the secretariat. And Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Elijah Banda said Zambians should be looking for a leader who will add to the virtues of President Levy Mwanawasa when the country goes to the polls.

In an interview yesterday, Tetamashimba said the party's national executive committee (NEC) resolved after their meeting on Thursday that members should be given a chance to contest party presidency. He said NEC chairperson for legal affairs Bwalya Chiti explained provisions of the MMD constitution.

Tetamashimba said the NEC would sit on September 5 to elect a presidential candidate for the presidential by-election to be held in less than 90 days.

"People must start applying between today and 26th August, 2008. They can apply through the national secretary that they want to be considered to stand as presidential candidate," Tetamashimba said.

"Anybody who is a member, who has been in the party for not less than two to three years can apply and must satisfy the conditions of Article 34 (3) of the national Constitution. On the issue of the convention, there is no time. So what happened was that both the constitution of the Republic and the party were explained to us in NEC and so, democracy demands giving anybody chance."

But NEC sources said the August 26 deadline was just by party national secretary Katele Kalumba’s suggestion which was not agreed upon in principle. The source said the deadline would not be binding because people could file in their applications after August 26 and still be adopted for the presidency.

Meanwhile, Tetamashimba said that NEC agreed to respect President Levy Mwanawasa's wish to be buried at his Palabana farm on the outskirts of Lusaka, and not Heroes Square.
And reacting to Dipak Patel's statement that finance minister Ng'andu Magande was the most suited candidate, Tetamashimba said non MMD members like Patel should not tell the party which candidates were better.

And in an interview yesterday, Banda said the benefit of President Mwanawasa's hardline stance against corruption and his insistence on good governance was there for all to see.
"The legacy that President Mwanawasa has left is clear," Banda said.

"He's left a legacy of a government that is wholly dedicated to the rule of law, justice, good governance and these have been shown in his commitment towards fighting corruption and fiscal discipline in government spending. Going forward, the country will be looking for a leader who will add to those virtues and take them to a higher level and that is what President Mwanawasa would have loved."

He said taking away from the legacy that President Mwanawasa had left would reverse the country's economic gains made during his tenure.

"The profile that President Mwanawasa left is good enough precedent even for those that have remained in his party to follow," Banda said.

And Banda said it is within Vice-President Rupiah Banda's powers to defer assenting to the bills to increase salaries for constitutional office holders.

Banda said Vice-President Banda, who is Acting President, could choose whether or not to assent to the amendment acts that increase salaries for constitutional office holders or wait until after the transition period of the presidency.

"The Acting President assumes all the functions of head of state and this does not only relate to assenting to legislation relating to emoluments of constitutional office holders but to any other legislation that is brought to him," said Banda.

"As to whether this will be an appropriate time for him to assent to the acts given the extended period of mourning, it will be left to him to judge. It is up to him to determine whether he'll assent to the legislation during the transition period or will wait until after the transition...Considering the public sentiments against the said laws, it's within his powers to defer assenting to the legislation."

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