More MMD provincial chairmen urge the party to find money for the National Convention
MORE MMD provincial chairmen have voiced their concerns on the need for their leadership to find money for an extraordinary convention that will usher in the new party president.
They are also calling for the re-introduction of the position of party vice-president, which was removed from the party’s constitution at its national convention in April this year.
Deputy national secretary Chembe Nyangu on Monday said the MMD does not have money to hold an extraordinary convention to elect party president Rupiah Banda’s successor. Mr Nyangu said MMD members should allow the party’s national executive committee (NEC) to nominate a leader in an acting capacity in between conventions in line with the party’s constitution.
The provincial chairmen now calling for an extra-ordinary convention are Emmanuel Chungu (Luapula Province), George Kangwa (Central Province), Ezekiel Mtonga (Eastern Province), William Banda (Lusaka Province) and Stephen Mukuka (Northern Province).
They are supporting calls by MMD Copperbelt province chairman Joseph Chilambwe, who has appealed to the former ruling party’s national leadership to hold an extra-ordinary convention at which Mr Banda’s successor will be elected.
Southern Province chairman Edgar Keembe has, however, said the NEC should nominate a leader in an acting capacity before the convention is held. Mr Chungu said in an interview from Mansa yesterday it will be beneficial for the former ruling party to hold an extraordinary convention to elect a leader.
“In the absence of the mini-convention, those who are interested in standing should be given ample time to travel and meet as many people as possible so that they can also listen to what people want to say before a resolution can be passed to the NEC for ratification, but the ideal situation is to go for a mini-convention,” he said.
Mr Chungu said the MMD needs to re-introduce the position of vice-president, which was removed from the party constitution at the last national convention. “We need to normalise that, we should have a vice-president now that we are in opposition,” Mr Chungu said.
And Mr Mtonga said it is important for the MMD to legitimise the position of party president and vice president through the participation of the majority members at a mini-convention.
“No-one should hide behind financial limitations because where people are determined, they can pool resources as party structures and do the right thing. We should not make the same mistakes that have made us lose the elections,” he said.
Mr Mtonga said the position of vice-president should be re-introduced for the MMD to effectively function and rebrand itself now that Mr Banda has announced his intention to retire from active politics.
He said MMD members should ask the NEC to immediately set a date for a mini-convention in line with the party constitution.
And Mr Kangwa said MMD members in Central Province want to participate in electing Mr Banda’s successor through a mini-convention. “We cannot sit only as NEC members to decide who takes over the party presidency because we are few and people may not be kind to us. Our members will think that they are not part and parcel of the leader we will put in office,” he said.
Mr Kangwa said the party president should continue in office until the party secures funding to hold an extraordinary convention.
And the Lusaka Province chairman said the decision to elect a party president should not be left to the NEC alone, but that the majority members should participate in the process.
“We should not deny the general membership an opportunity to decide who should lead them. This time around we are not in government and the best way to go about this is to allow the majority to choose a leader and not to impose a candidate on them,” he said.
Mr Mukuka said NEC can nominate a leader in an acting capacity, but that a convention should be held to elect the party president. “Our president, Mr Rupiah Banda, has done a lot to take us where we are today and he should be commended for that,” he said.
But Mr Keembe advised MMD members not to be in a hurry to elect Mr Banda’s successor. “Let us take our time, there is a constitution which provides that the NEC can sit and appoint a leader in an acting capacity.
“We don’t have money to start going for a convention. We have to go back to our structures to establish how many of our members have defected and those that have remained before we can think of going to a convention,” he said.
Early this week, Mr Chilambwe said the party should find money to hold a mini-convention to ensure that the majority members participate in choosing Mr Banda’s successor. But Mr Nyangu said MMD members should look at the cost implication, which the former ruling party cannot afford.
[Zambia Daily Mail]