Friday, January 04, 2013

Police save Simbao from lynching

Police save Simbao from lynching
By Kombe Chimpinde
Fri 04 Jan. 2013, 14:00 CAT

MMD acting national secretary Kapembwa Simbao yesterday fled from the party secretariat after being tipped that some MMD cadres were on their way to hound him out of office. And Keith Mukata says MMD president Nevers Mumba cannot expel any member of the party as "he is not a disciplining authority".

The close to 100 cadres from Lusaka and Muchinga mobilised themselves in town around 10:00 hours and proceeded to the MMD secretariat off Addis Ababa Drive to forcibly remove Simbao.

However, another faction in support of Mumba and Simbao, led by MMD Die Hard youth wing coordinator Bowman Lusambo, quickly mobilised and lay in wait at the secretariat.
The anti-Simbao cadres openly said they wanted to lynch him if he resisted vacating the office.

In the ensuing confusion, Simbao, who had been working, managed to slip away and fled the secretariat after being alerted.
An attempt by the anti-Mumba and anti-Simbao cadres to advance towards the secretariat was further thwarted by police, who arrived at the scene 10 minutes after the confusion began.

After about 15 minutes of exchange of invectives between the Lusambo-led cadres and the rival clique led by Andrew Banda, police, who were in riot gear, managed to calm the situation and asked the cadres to disperse and leave the party secretariat.

The Banda-led cadres demanded the removal of Mumba from office and that the party holds an extraordinary meeting to reconcile differences, which have since seen the expulsion and suspension of senior party officials by Mumba.
Banda, who spoke on behalf of the group, said they were not happy with the way Maj Richard Kachingwe had been treated.

"We are not happy with the way senior and old members of the party are being chucked out of the party. They are taking this party backwards. What we are saying is those leaders should be called back so that we can work together because if they do not do that, this confusion will not end,'' he said.
Banda said that the group which wanted to remove Simbao comprised cadres from Lusaka and Muchinga provinces.

He also complained that the MMD Die Hard youth wing, which he said was a parallel structure, had been benefiting from party resources at the expense of all other youths.

But MMD Lusaka province deputy youth chairman Watson Mtonga, who was at the scene, pleaded with police to let the Lusambo-led group remain at the party secretariat as they were not riotous.
But police ordered all the cadres to disperse before they could take further action.

"Those who are trying to sponsor such confusion in MMD, they will never get away with it. This party is a strong party. You can see these are my youths, they are just being used,'' said Mtonga.
Efforts to get a comment from Simbao failed.
Mumba and Simbao's faction has since stationed 10 of its cadres to guard the secretariat.

And commenting on the Maj Kachingwe and Mumba feud, which has split the party into factions, Mukata said that circumstances surrounding the eligibility or ineligibility of the current MMD president to stand as he did for office of president was squarely a matter to be resolved through the provisions of the MMD constitution.

"One such provision is that you should be a bona fide member of the party. The other relates to prohibition of dual membership (you cannot be a member of the MMD and at the same time belong to another party),'' the letter stated in part.
Mukata, who is MMD Chilanga member of parliament, stated that the election to a party position of any person who was in breach of any of the two provisions was null and void in terms of the constitution.

"This illegality cannot be cured by subsequent attempts to relinquish membership of the other party or to subsequently acquire legitimate membership," he stated.

"The illegality does not come into existence at the time the decision to nullify the election is taken. The illegality occurs at the time of election of that member and continues to exist until the election is nullified. A person elected unconstitutionally may subsequently be challenged by an interested party such as a party member not to stand as Republican President.''
Mukata stated that the situation was therefore serious and should not to be treated lightly.

"The recourse under the constitution is to nullify such membership by the national secretary subject to ratification by NEC, he stated.
"If facts presented to NEC disclose breaches as above, then the NEC is bound by the constitution to ratify the decision of the national secretary. The national secretary is the sole custodian of the record of membership and the only disciplinary authority of any member of the party in terms of Article 4. The president cannot expel any member of the party as he is not a disciplining authority.''

And MMD Katuba member of parliament Dr Patrick Chikusu said in an interview that the MMD was suffering from what he described as a withdrawal syndrome.
"This is how you can describe it in medical terms. It is like you lose something but you cannot let go of it because you can't believe that you have lost. The MMD lost power to PF and there is a new government but it's like we cannot accept that we have lost,'' he said.

"This is why some people are already looking and focusing on State House even before we re-organise our party because they feel they can quickly get back in power. What is key now, is to re-organise the party and you do not organise a party by frustrating the government. Re-organising the party can take time, even 20 years, and it can come back into power. We need to be consistent. PF was consistent. They lost three times but they managed to win because of their consistency.''

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