Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MMD splits

MMD splits
By Kombe Chimpinde and Allan Mulenga
Tue 22 Jan. 2013, 14:01 CAT

OPPOSITION MMD has split into two factions. One of the factions has rallied behind Major Richard Kachingwe, the party's national secretary who was expelled by MMD president Nevers Mumba two months ago. The other faction is under Mumba.

And the Major Kachingwe-led faction has started forming parallel structures, and established its secretariat along Nambala Close, off Lusaka's Bwinjimfumu Road in Rhodespark. Major Kachingwe and his supporters are calling for a party convention within the next 90 days where all MMD national executive committee positions would be re-contested.

Maj Kachingwe and his supporters have also resolved not to recognise Mumba as party president but instead have the party's acting national chairman take care of the party's affairs until elections for all party national leadership positions are held within three months.

But Mumba says he is not aware of the existence of the parallel structures.
Maj Kachingwe's faction want to "grabbed back' the party from Mumba, claiming that he hijacked it from genuine members.

Maj Kachingwe, who was recently expelled by Mumba from his position as national secretary, said some members in his faction had been reflecting on the decision for a month following Mumba's failure to challenge claims that he had dual membership in the MMD and Reform Party, as well as his refusal to leave the party.

He said after members collected signatures and petitions countrywide contesting Mumba's dual membership, it was inevitable to grab the party from him by establishing parallel structures.

"This is why we have created this secretariat, this is MMD, the 'Real Deal'. We have left the Reform Party headquarters which is full of violence," Maj Kachingwe said. "We have strong boys and girls here, they can also fight but that is not leadership."

He called on members to re-contest their positions, including his position of national secretary, at the national convention within 90 days.

"The sadness of our party is the conduct of NEC that is the highest body in the party. They should have taken heed of what I had told them that this man belongs to Reform Party," Maj Kachingwe said.

He said there would be a process to incorporate many NEC members and members of parliament in the new structure which will also adopt candidates for the Livingstone and Mpongwe by-elections.

He said that all furniture still domiciled at the 'old' secretariat would be collected.

"The party will now revert to the 25th May 2011 status. The highest position at that time, because others had stepped out, is chairman until we go the convention. So it means the highest post that we have is the chairman and the chairman has stepped down, so it is the vice chairman (Kabinga Pande)," he said.

"We are not interim leaders, we have maintained our positions and we have just taken away the party from 'hijackers' and we have left the secretariat because there are militia."

Maj Kachingwe said their new property was being rented by loyal party members of the MMD.

And confusion erupted at the new secretariat seconds into the press briefing, causing the panel consisting Maj Kachingwe, Catherine Namugala, women chairpersons from Eastern, Muchinga and Lusaka provinces and four founding members of the party to scamper in all directions when some suspected Mumba supporters stormed the new secretariat and began throwing stones.

The cadres, however, claimed that they were Maj Kachingwe's supporters but had rebelled because they had not been paid.

Calm returned an hour later as the briefing was re-convened after police arrived at the scene in riot gear.

And Namugala, who is also Mafinga MMD member of parliament, said Mumba was a liability to the opposition movement.

"We have moved away from the secretariat and left it for the Reform Party because we have disowned Mumba. For those genuine members of MMD who want to come and rebuild our party our doors are open. This is your secretariat," she said. "Let us leave the old secretariat for Mumba and other impositers that he came with. That secretariat does not belong to MMD anymore. The one that belongs to MMD is this one."

Namugala also said the suspension of the Copperbelt provincial executive was null and void as Mumba had no powers to suspend any erring member.

"We know that the Copperbelt has supposedly been suspended. We don't recognise that suspension because Mumba is not our president. Therefore he has no mandate whatsoever to suspend our provincial executive committee on the Copperbelt. It remains intact," said Namugala.

But Mumba warned "those masquerading as party members of arrest".
"There is no parallel structure started; it is a new political party. Even the people that are joining, they are joining a new political party. MMD is strong and our structures are strong across the country," he said.

Mumba said he would take legal action against those claiming to own MMD.

"It is an illegality; they are going to be arrested. If the police are neutral, they are not pro-PF, they are going to be arrested because they are masquerading to be a party which is already taken by another political party. It doesn't exist, that is another political party. They need to find another name because they are not going to be allowed to use that name any longer without implications of the law," said Mumba.

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