William Banda leaves MMD(corrected)
THE opposition MMD has announced that Lusaka Province chairperson, William Banda has left the party and has been replaced with his deputy Charles Mumena in an acting capacity.
Mr Banda is said to have met with the party provincial executive committee earlier in the day where he announced that he was no longer interested to be at the helm of the party in the province.
“I want to inform the nation that I have received a report from the Lusaka executive that William Banda has stepped down and I want to accept his decision on behalf of the party,” MMD national secretary Major RichardKachingwe said
The general secretary said now that Mr Banda had left, the party in Lusaka would now rebrand by exercising civility and stop harassing people in the name of politics.
Mr Banda, a close ally of former president Rupiah Banda, has been a controversial figure in MMD, especially in the run-up-to the 2011 presidential elections with many people accusing him of perpetrating violence.
Meanwhile, MMD has said that it has no intention of introducing the position of the vice-president at the forthcoming convention despite calls by some members to re-create the second highest party office.
And former Works and Supply minister, Mike Mulongoti has charged that it is foolish for the former ruling party to scrap the vice-presidency position in an effort to please some individuals.
Party chairperson, Michael Mabenga, who is acting president, said in an interview during the week that the extraordinary convention set for May 25 would not look at introducing the position of vice-president.
The MMD froze the position ahead of the 2011 presidential elections when it became apparent that late former vice-president George Kunda was set for defeat by Mr Mulongoti, who was not favoured by the national executive committee.
Mr Mulongoti was subsequently expelled from the MMD although many analysts believe that lack of vice-president has thrown the party into a leadership crisis following the retirement of its leader Rupiah Banda.
Former national vice-president Enoch Kavindele, who is aspiring for the party presidency, said lack of second-in-command had worked to the disadvantage of the MMD, adding that time had come to re-introduce the position.
However, Mr Mabenga was adamant that the former ruling party was in a crisis and vowed not to re-introduce a vice-president during the convention, that will simultaneously be held in the country’s 10 provinces.
“The position of vice-president is not there. It will not be done during the convention. We don’t need it now because we have the party chairperson,” Mr Mabenga said.
“I am surprised that some people are saying that we are in a crisis, what crisis? There is no crisis whatsoever and we are geared for the convention where we will be electing the new president.”
Mr Mabenga, who defended the use of the provincial conventions to elect the president, also announced that the new leader would be required to amass 50 per cent plus one vote in line with the party constitution, failure to which there would be a run-off.
Meanwhile, Mr Mulongoti said the method the MMD would be using to elect the leader of the party would be illegal because it did not conform with the party constitution.
He said in a separate interview during the week that the party constitution stipulated that the president of the party could only be elected at a national convention and wondered how credible the new leader would be.
“Speaking as a legal mind I think the MMD has a constitution which should deal with the issue of an extraordinary convention, which also gives power to elect the president. So the convention may be right but it’s illegal according to the constitution,” he said.
Political analyst, Alex Ng’oma said the decision by the opposition MMD to use provincial conventions to elect its next leader was a clear indication of a lack of democracy in the former ruling party.
Dr Ng’oma charged that the excuse of lack of money as the reason for failing to hold an extraordinary convention to elect a new leader did not stand because the MMD had demonstrated its wealth prior to the 2011 elections.
“The provincial conferences process is less credible than the main convention. This is like divide-and-rule tactic by the MMD and they are showing that there is no democracy in the party.
“If they (MMD members) claim that there is no money, then this is very strange because they showed the whole world that they were a wealth party in the run-up to the elections last year,” he said.
The former ruling party, which is fighting to clear its name after being labeled a corrupt institution, is set to elect a new leader following the retirement from active politics by Mr Banda.
Apart from Mr Kavindele, six other members who include Nevers Mumba, Felix Mutati, Kabinga Pande, Kapembwa Simbao, Moses Muteteka and Situmbeko Musokotwane are interested to lead the MMD.
[Times of Zambia]