Saturday, September 19, 2009

Banda is funding manoeuvres to postpone convention – Mpombo

Banda is funding manoeuvres to postpone convention – Mpombo
Written by Patson Chilemba
Saturday, September 19, 2009 5:14:29 PM

KAFULAFUTA MMD member of parliament George Mpombo yesterday charged that President Rupiah Banda is funding manoeuvres to postpone the convention so that he can be adopted through the backdoor.

Reacting to the announcement by the MMD to discipline him and his Chilanga counterpart Ng'andu Magande for insubordination, Mpombo, who is former defence minister, said he was ready to defend his position over the need for a convention in the MMD.

He said narrow mindedness in the MMD should come to an end. He said doing away with the convention would be a shameful departure from the party's constitution. Mpombo said President Banda was a desperate man, who was in charge of the manoeuvres to postpone the convention. He said this was the more reason why the President had remained quiet over the matter.

"I think he [President Banda] must be driving this, buying this process. He is aware and in full agreement with the moves to forego the convention. He's aware and I think he is aware and in charge of the operations. He's in charge of these maneouvres. He is actually funding those maneouvres," Mpombo said.

He said the MMD would be signing a suicide political pact if they forego the convention. Mpombo said currently President Banda was not the candidate for the MMD, saying only the national convention had the power to elect a presidential candidate and not the party's national executive committee (NEC).

"Last year, he didn't do well, and then you go with the same leadership, and the last presidential elections, he just went in by a whisker. And you are so excited in that outcome that 'we want again to go [with the same candidate]',"Mpombo said. "They will be signing a voluntary political suicide pact."

Mpombo said Zambia was a democratic country and no one would be allowed to hijack the democratic process in the MMD.

He wondered what type of Republican Constitution the MMD government would enact when they were determined to discard their own constitution with impunity.

"You know that I say, in this era, modern era, it's embarrassing to want to see people try to cling to power through manipulation of people's mind, and even hiring, so-called, the dubious image builders like Reverend Lungu. Those are signs of desperation," Mpombo said.

He maintained that the grassroots were ready for the formation of a faction should President Banda and his colleagues proceed with their undemocratic actions.

"Can't you see that even the grassroots have remained quiet, otherwise there would have been a lot of interest if they truly wanted to forego the convention?" said Mpombo.

Mpombo said he was ready to defend his position before any ad-hoc committee that would be set up over his disciplinary charges.

Recently, Kaande announced that he had instituted disciplinary action against Magande and Mpombo for insubordination.

There have been several calls from MMD provincial leaders to postpone the convention following the NEC's decision to adopt President Banda as the sole candidate for 2011 polls.

However, other MMD members like Mpombo and Magande have opposed the idea to postpone the convention on grounds that it is against the party's constitution.

Mpombo has argued that the endorsements from the provinces were being stage-managed by senior NEC members because President Banda was stiff scared of being challenged at the convention.

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