Monday, August 05, 2013

Nevers' failures and his removal
By Editor
Thu 18 July 2013, 14:00 CAT

IT may be true that Nevers Mumba's performance as leader of opposition MMD falls below the expected standards. But this, in itself, should not lead the MMD leadership to abandon the principles of intra-party democracy. Asking Nevers to resign in the way he is being asked may not be the most democratic way of doing things.

We agree with all the concerns raised about Nevers'a performance as leader of MMD - it has been poor. But this is not accidental. There is nowhere where Nevers has shown leadership since he joined politics. Look at the way he ran and abandoned his own political parties - National Christian Coalition and the Reform Party!

Nevers might have done well as a pastor and gained great standing or prestige, but he has failed to transfer that to politics. And sometimes it's better to be honest with oneself. Being a successful pastor does not necessarily make one a good political leader. But that's the problem with political leadership, everyone who makes some name somewhere else - business, sports, church - thinks can jump into top political leadership on that account. With political leadership, it seems, those who need it the most are inclined the least.

Nevers' political leadership has really been empty in all aspects - principles, standards, values, strategy and tactics. The good Christian principles that he preached as a pastor are nowhere to be seen in Nevers' politics. If one is not told that Nevers is a pastor or was a pastor, one would not think he has any connection with the Church. So, what are Nevers' politics really anchored on? What is Nevers seeking from politics?

Nevers is today defending the corruption of Rupiah Banda. For what? Just to be supported by the person he thinks has money and some influence! Of course, we shouldn't forget that Nevers himself is facing corruption charges.

All this said, there is still no good reason for the MMD leadership to remove him from the presidency of the party the way they want to do it. What they are trying to do amounts to a leadership coup. And a coup can never be a substitute for democratic action.

If they really want Nevers to go before the next convention, they have every right to call for an extra-ordinary convention and vote him out.

Forcing him to resign or be left alone is blackmail. However, this provides Nevers with an opportunity to run away from a job he has failed to do. It's an opportunity for him to avoid impending embarrassment. Nevers is not taking the MMD anywhere and his colleagues are right in their assessment and analysis of his performance as president of the party. Nevers has failed and it cannot be disputed.

And the best thing he can do is simply to tender in a resignation and go. What his colleagues are saying is right and Nevers should not ignore it. If he ignores it, it will be at his own peril, embarrassment and humiliation. This is bound to come if he doesn't resign and it's just a matter of time.

But no one in the MMD leadership should cheat himself or herself that running that party will be an easy undertaking. The MMD is not being destroyed by Nevers. It was destroyed by its members collectively a long time ago. Nevers is simply finishing it off, burying it because it is dead.

Moreover, the MMD members and leadership knew what type of person Nevers is, but they supported him to take over the topmost leadership of their party. Why did they do that? Who forced them to do that?
And you can't have a political party that is always being led by outsiders.

This is a party which Frederick Chiluba left in the hands of Levy Mwanawasa, a party leader who had retired from politics. Chiluba called Levy back from retirement to come and lead the party. For all his good intentions and deeds, Levy's heart and soul was not in the MMD but in the government. Levy was much more interested in what the government would do for the country and not in the development and consolidation of the MMD as a party. Look at the choices Levy made for the leadership of the party. In the end, MMD was left in the hands of newcomers to the party and the people who founded it were nowhere near it.

And because of this, it was not difficult for a UNIP member like Rupiah Banda to take it over and become its president. Rupiah himself was replaced with another political wanderer - Nevers - who had nothing to do with the development and consolidation of the party. Even the people who are today trying to push Nevers out of the leadership of MMD, most of them are nowhere near its founding. Like Nevers, they are newcomers - only that they came a little earlier than him.

MMD is a political party whose roots dried a long time ago. It survived on corruption and on being parasitic on the state. Now that state resources are no longer there, there is very little glue strong enough to hold together its members. To survive and see a reversal of political fortunes, MMD needs a super leader. But where is that super leader going to come from? Right now the MMD doesn't have that type of a leader. Therefore, patience and a lot of hard work will be required for the party to survive and to successfully reposition itself in the politics of our country.

As for Nevers, he should simply go and save himself embarrassment, humiliation. He has failed. He has no capacity to lead such a political party.

As for those seeking the removal of Nevers, if he is not willing to go voluntarily, let them simply call for an extra-ordinary convention and elect a new leader. Nevers was not a nominated or appointed president of the party, he was elected party leader in a democratic way. So, let him be removed in a democratic way, the way he was elected.

Magistrate Nomsa Sabarauta deferred the matter to Thursday to allow the former legislator to bring to court proof of his earnings.

Shoko was elected Chitungwiza South MP in 2008. He also served as the town’s mayor before being sacked by local government minister Ignatius Chombo in 2002.

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