PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has told MMD members agitating for the holding of the national convention to resign from the party and join political parties they think will hold conventions soon.
Mr Banda urged those trying to cause confusion in the party to resign than pretend to be MMD members when they were being used by the party’s enemies.
President Banda said he believed in democracy and that the MMD’s national executive committee (NEC) had, in fact, not yet met to discuss the convention.
Mr Banda was speaking when he addressed a mammoth rally to drum up support for MMD candidate Burton Mugala at Kasama’s President’s Park yesterday.
He said the MMD would do everything necessary to ensure transparency and there was no need for people to incite members to rise against the party over the issue of the convention.
“Those who want the convention and are pressing that it should be held at all costs should resign and join political parties that will hold conventions soon, if any. After all, we are two years away from the 2011 elections and the NEC has not yet met to discuss the matter.
“Do not pretend to be members of the MMD but at the same time you are being used by our enemies to rise against us because when the hour comes to discipline you, those inciting you will not be there for you. In fact, you do not know that they are the same people coming to tell me about you,” Mr Banda said.
At the same rally, Lusaka Province PF chairperson Evaristo Mulenga defected to join the ruling MMD, citing party leader Michael Sata’s dictatorial tendencies as the reason.
He said he did not regret the decision because, as a leader, he had decided not to work with a party which had completely lost the tenets of democracy.
The president welcomed Mr Mulenga, together with the 63 other PF defectors, to the MMD and advised party leaders to ensure they made the new members feel welcome in the party.
He urged the people of Kasama Central to vote for Mr Mugala and avoid voting for PF candidate Geoffrey Mwamba who was allegedly full of lies.
The president also expressed disappointment at the four youths that were arrested after allegedly being paid to go and denounce Government on Radio Mano on Teachers’ Day while masquerading as teachers.
He said he had information that two of them were actually businesspersons while one was a student from Chalimbana. He named them as Peggy Nyirenda, 32, a businesswoman, Chris Mutale, 32, businessman and John Mulenga a student.
Mr Banda wondered why Mr Sata and the UPND president Hakainde Hichilema continued hiding behind each other, instead of coming out in the open and tell the nation who would be the pact’s Presidential candidate for 2011.
Mr Banda said Mr Sata was blindly riding on Mr Hichilema’s back not knowing the UPND leader was also desperate to become president despite having lost twice.
He said the PF leader was panicking, especially that his party was broke and could not afford to sponsor a candidate. This was the reason why he adopted Mr Mwamba so he could sponsor himself.
The president said Mr Sata and Mr Mwamba knew they had lost support and resorted to issuing tribal sentiments, which had also backfired on them.
The president said suspended UPND Namwala Member of Parliament Robby Chizyuka’s move to denounce the pact in Lusaka yesterday was a major indication that the friendship between the two parties was going nowhere.
He said Mr Sata and Mr Hichilema had secretly printed respective Chitenge materials for their 2011 Presidential campaigns.
Mr Banda also said his Government had embarked on 14 major projects in Kasama Central and that K329.3 billion had been allocated to the area.
[Times of Zambia]