Mabenga was not forced to hand over presidency, Katele
MMD national secretary, Katele Kalumba has reiterated that MMD national chairman Michael Mabenga was not forced to hand over the acting party presidency to President Banda.
He has advised members to desist from issuing statements on the matter until the National Executive Committee meets.
“As national secretary, I would like to advise members to desist from making statements on the issue of acting party president until the NEC meets on February 7, 2009 as earlier announced,” Dr Kalumba said.
In an interview in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Kalumba said his statement that Mr Mabenga had voluntarily handed over the position of acting party presidency was made after discussions between Mr Mabenga and President Banda and that it was not based on duress.
“My statement was clear that Mr Mabenga voluntarily offered President Banda the position of acting party president and Mr Banda was humbled by the offer and willingly accepted, subject to ratification by the NEC,” Dr Kalumba said.
He said anyone suggesting that Mr Mabenga was forced to hand over the position or that Mr Banda was already acting party president was misrepresenting the statement he issued.
Dr Kalumba said procedure was that NEC would meet and the proposal for President Banda to be ratified as acting MMD presidency would be presented at the meeting for endorsement or rejection.
He said that this did not mean that Mr Banda would be MMD president but that he would be acting party president.
Dr Kalumba said this was because there was no provisions in the MMD constitution for the NEC to elect a party president.
He said an administrative precedent had been set when President Mwanawasa sought the support of former President Dr Chiluba, former MMD Vice-President Enoch Kavindele and former party national chairman, Chitalu Sampa for him to be allowed to act as party president.
He said Dr Mwanawasa was never elected as acting MMD president but was elected president at the MMD national convention.
Dr Kalumba was reacting to party spokesperson, Benny Tetamashimba’s sentiments that there had been perceptions, mostly bordering on lies and misinformation, that Mr Banda had forced Mr Mabenga out.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training Jonas Shakafuswa has advised people calling for disciplinary action against him to use other means of sorting out differences instead of alleged intimidation and threats.
Mr Shakafuswa, who is Katuba member of Parliament, said this in an interview in Lusaka yesterday.
“Things are better sorted out through other means other than intimidation,” Mr Shakafuswa said.
He said Dr Kalumba deserved respect and that it was unfortunate that some MMD officials allegedly did not respect him.
Mr Shakafuswa maintained that Mr Banda was leader for all and not just a few individuals.
[Zambia Daily Mail]