Friday, January 25, 2013

My expulsion is illegal - Namugala

My expulsion is illegal - Namugala
By Allan Mulenga and Kombe Chimpinde
Thu 24 Jan. 2013, 14:01 CAT

CATHERINE Namugala yesterday rubbished her expulsion from MMD, saying it is illegal. But MMD president Nevers Mumba says Namugala was not granted any injunction by the court to restrain the party from expelling her and, therefore, her expulsion was final.

Namugala, whose faction broke away to operate from another secretariat in Rhodes Park in Lusaka, was expelled on Tuesday by Mumba's faction. During a national executive committee (NEC) meeting held at Chrismar Hotel in Lusaka , some NEC members opposed Namugala's expulsion from the party by Mumba.

Sources within NEC disclosed that senior party members among them, the party's vice-president for administration Dr Brian Chituwo, chairperson for legal affairs Bradford Machila, party's deputy national secretary Chembe Nyangu, on Tuesday during an emergency meeting called to expel Namugala, who is the party's chairperson for women affairs and Mafinga MMD member of parliament, including Lusaka Province chairlady Mary Phiri, said that the decision was unconstitutional and disrespectful of the law.

"Forty six members attended the NEC meeting. Almost everyone was for the idea of expelling Namugala except a few. Dr Chituwo just said: 'no, I am not voting. It is against the law and our constitution'. Nyangu didn't vote," the source said.

"Of course, others argued that on this issue, there is an injunction. So, you can't go ahead with a court process going on. But they just ignored it and they went ahead, saying that: 'it is our club and we have our own rules. We will not be stopped by a court order'."

Sources revealed that Machila belaboured on the legal implications that would arise, if members went ahead with the decision.

"Nyangu didn't raise his hand because he was in an awkward situation. His position was similar to that of Machila. Machila's position was that there is a court process, 'let's respect the courts'. One person even said: 'we as opposition, the courts seem to understand us, now if we start going against them, they will turn against us and say, these people are useless'. So, let the court come up with something today on Wednesday and thereafter we can sit to determine the fate of Namugala and others. Even if we expel her, the court might rule otherwise and we will face legal implications'," the source said.

Sources explained that senior members told the gathering that at the moment, lower organs were only interested in organising the party and not by-elections arising from expulsions.

"They didn't like it, but when they read the exculpatory letter from Namugala, as usual you know how those women who surround the president behave, they started shouting 'expel her! expel her!' These people didn't want to accept the advice, especially those Mumba adopted to NEC, like Peter Machungwa, Winnie Zaloumis, Faustina Sinyangwe, Dr Canisius Banda and others," the source said.
Sources further explained that the meeting delayed to start because most invited NEC members were reluctant to attend.

"The meeting which was supposed to take place in the afternoon, only started around 19:00 hours and it ended after 23:00 hours at Lusaka's Chrismar Hotel. The deputy national secretary received about 20 apologies and the meeting was chaired by Nevers Mumba. Tobias Kafumukache, the party's national youth secretary, was thrown out of the meeting because of his alleged relationship with Kachingwe's camp," the source said.

Sources explained that the matter was then subjected to a vote, where the majority of members endorsed the expulsion of the duo.
But Namugala rubbished her expulsion, insisting that Mumba was not MMD president.

"It is illegal because Nevers Mumba is not the president of MMD. There is no secretariat Nevers Mumba is leading," said Namugala, in an interview.
And when contacted for a comment on her expulsion, Phiri said Mumba had no powers to expel any member.

"I don't know anything about that. Besides, it is only Maj Kachingwe who can write me and ask me to exculpate myself and then take me to the disciplinary committee to determine the matter," said Phiri.

And Dr Banda, who is chairperson for health, referred all queries to the national chairperson Kabinga Pande.

Meanwhile, attempts to get to the newly-appointed MMD chairperson for women affairs Sinyangwe proved futile as she cut her mobile phone upon learning that this reporter was from The Post.

Dr Peter Machungwa's mobile phone went unanswered.

And Mumba said Namugala was not granted an injunction by the court to restrain the party from expelling her.

"There is no injunction against the party taking any disciplinary action. They had applied for an ex-parte and an order to restrain our party from making a decision in that regard, but the courts did not grant her an ex-parte and the injunction to stop our party. So there is nothing standing in the way of the party to conclude the disciplinary action which began before she went to court," he said.

Mumba said not only had he obtained legal advice from the legal team of the party, but that the law was also clear.

"If there was any restraining order, we wouldn't have done it," he said.
On reports that Machila was reluctant to endorse the said decision during the meeting, Mumba said: "I don't think so. His role was to provide legal information, which we used to base our information. His advice from the legal point of view is what we used. He was very clear."

Efforts to get a comment from Machila failed as his mobile phone went unanswered.

Dr Chituwo, who refused to endorse the decision to expel Namugala, when contacted, said the party had not authorised any member other Dr Kaingu to talk about Tuesday's NEC emergency meeting.

"Could you raise Dr Kaingu to talk about that," Dr Chituwo advised.
And MMD vice-president for political affairs Michael Kaingu confirmed the expulsion of Namugala and Phiri from the party, accusing them of being inimical to the ideologies of MMD.

Kaingu told a media briefing at the party's secretariat in Lusaka that as far as MMD was concerned, the expulsion was final and the party was ready to go for a by-election.

"It can only be prejudicial if we expel her after an action that will take place in court. As far as we are concerned ourselves, we have taken the action to expel honourable Namugala. She can go anywhere, if she wants to go to London; to Local Court; to the High Court; to Subordinate Court. If she wants to go anywhere as far as the party is concerned, she is an expelled member. We don't care where she goes. I think she has the right to go where she wants to go," said Kaingu.

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