Monday, December 31, 2012

In-fighting in MMD normal, says Dora

In-fighting in MMD normal, says Dora
By Roy Habaalu, Allan Mulenga and Kombe Chimpinde
Mon 31 Dec. 2012, 13:00 CAT

DORA Siliya says the in-fighting in the MMD is normal.
Siliya, who is MMD spokesperson, said it was expected of any party that lost power to have its members deep in wrangles.

"It's normal to have squabbles in the party that has lost power not for a party that has won an election. When you lose an election, you have lost everything and you need to organise yourselves, so for a party that loses an election the fights are normal because some people feel disoriented because they feel their power base has been taken away," Siliya said in an interview.

Recently, several senior MMD members passed a vote of no confidence in their leader Nevers Mumba.

She said those that were not happy with the MMD leadership should show maturity by resigning.

Siliya claimed there were no camps in the former ruling party and that there was only one MMD.

"There is only one MMD. Anybody else in another camp is an enemy of the party and they must leave. For those intending to join PF, let them be sure that they will be welcome before they defect because sooner than later they will need us.

Our party is about ideas not a person. Politics is about having a following not those opposing yet they only have a handful of supporters," said Siliya.

Siliya said as the largest opposition party, MMD had set democratic standards in the country's history.

She said in 2013, the party would provide new hope for economic growth by growing investment.

She said MMD would provide guidance on national matters such as health and education and ensure citizens were empowered.

"In the coming year, we hope to see the President more often and hear him address challenges the country was going through. Zambian's would like to see their President more often and know what is passion is," said Siliya.

But Gladys Lundwe said the suspensions of MMD senior members would diminish the party. Lundwe, who is chairperson for tourism, said politics was about numbers.

"You start subtracting membership then you are also diminishing the party in a way. There are people who have families. In politics, if you find a mad person who is an eligible voter, you must respect that person because that vote can give you something," she said.

Lundwe, who was commenting on the suspension of Catherine Namugala, urged the party leadership to respect the rule of law and abide by the party constitution.

"If they have done something wrong, procedure should be followed. You call that person, ask the person to exculpate themselves and then like in any other organisation, there are those warnings, verbal warnings and written warnings.

Those things must be followed before you are suspended. We are not respecting the rule of law. So now if people are not able to talk, I think that is infringing on their rights. They must respect the rule of law," she said.

Lundwe said the party leadership should accept that there were problems in MMD.

"If there is no dialogue, the problems will be building on. MMD needs to have proper guidance from founder members because now, the party, it is not being run seriously," she said.

Lundwe urged Mumba to seek advice from founder members on how to run the party.

"The only way that MMD is going to stand on its two feet again is to call upon all founder members like the VJs, Mabengas and others to come and sit the members down and advise the way forward. Otherwise these problems will not end and you will find that every now and then there will be suspensions, expulsions and that will diminish the party," said Lundwe.

But MMD vice-president for politics Michael Kaingu said party members had not given Mumba time to excel since he was elected.

"For me, I feel that president Mumba has not been given an opportunity to actually excel and propel himself. It looks like from the time he came into power, he has been fought. Today its Nevers, the other day it will be Mutati, the other day it will be Kaingu," he said.

And Kaingu said that the party did not have a provision currently to remove the president on grounds other than medical as stipulated in the constitution.

Kaingu said members that were not happy with Mumba's leadership would have to wait for another elective convention that would be held before elections.

Even Namugala knows that in the party, you can only ascend to power through an election and after our defeat last year, a decision was made that we have a convention to elect a president. People went into campaign and president Mumba was elected.

Whether president Mumba is not the president Catherine has wanted, whether president Mumba is what…this is what we have got and our constitution which Catherine has sworn to protect has no provision to remove an elected president. Our Constitution has only one article that can only nullify or invalidate a sitting president - article 40 which states clearly that a president can only be removed if incapacitated or he has gone berserk," he said.

"In 2016, we will have another convention. If president Mumba wins, probably, he will be president but for our party, the president may not necessarily be the presidential candidate. As you are aware that president Mwanawasa was picked completely outside. So the NEC sits to look at the names to come up with the presidential candidate."
Kaingu said all NEC members would have to go and re-seek a fresh mandate from party members.

He said the argument that Kapembwa Simbao was holding the office of national secretary in an acting capacity was a buried issue.

"Simbao is acting for convenience sake. He does not also necessarily need to be a member of NEC. The constitution does not say so. In fact, I think our constitution has provided for a space for national secretary.

Having a national secretary who is also a NEC member has been an anomaly. It's like having a board of directors where a manager is also a director. We have already said a quorum was formed so that line by Namugala cannot be over exhausted unless all of us want to be so foolish that we cannot find new materials to discuss," said Kaingu.

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