MMD president Nevers Mumba and the party’s chairman for legal affairs Bradford Machila have differed over disciplinary action instituted against members of Parliament (MPs) supporting other candidates in the January 20 presidential election.
Dr Mumba and MMD national secretary Mwansa Mbulakulima said in Lusaka that the process of expelling MPs and national executive committee (NEC) members who have aligned themselves with other political parties has started.
But Mr Machila said Dr Mumba has no authority to write to Speaker of the National Assembly to ask him to declare seats vacant without a disciplinary process instituted by NEC.
Dr Mumba said during a public forum on Monday that the MPs should resign because they cannot “serve two masters at the same time”.
Dr Mumba, who also regretted former President Rupiah Banda’s support for PF candidate Edgar Lungu, said he has been praying for a rebranded MMD and what is happening is God’s answer to his prayers.
“What has happened is a fantastic expression of the nature of politics we are currently experiencing in the country,” Dr Mumba said.
He said there is need for politicians to be principled and stick to what they believe in.
“Those endorsing other candidates are just job-seekers,” said Dr Mumba, who once served as republican Vice-President.
He said Mr Banda’s decision to endorse Mr Lungu is unfortunate. He said the former president should have stayed away from politics.
“The most hurt is not me but the MMD party,” Dr Mumba said.
The party has since written to five MPs and seven NEC members, asking them to exculpate themselves within 10 days.
Mr Mbulakulima said the affected members of the party have been asked to state why they are campaigning for other presidential candidates, failure to which they will face expulsion from the MMD.
Mr Mbulakulima said at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that it is sad that some MPs and NEC members are campaigning for other presidential candidates when the MMD is not in an alliance with any political party.
“Letters have been written to each one of them to exculpate themselves within 10 days, further to which they face expulsion from the party,” he said.
Mr Mbulakulima named the MPs as Kabinga Pande (Kasempa), Situmbeko Musokotwane (Liuwa), Felix Mutati (Lunte), Kapembwa Simbao (Senga Hill), Kenneth Chipungu (Rufunsa), Levy Ngoma (Sinda) and Annie Chungu (Lufwanyama) as some of the MPs that have been asked to exculpate themselves.
Mr Pande is MMD chairperson while others hold various positions in the party.
NEC members that face expulsion include Faustina Sinyangwe, Mathew Jere, Oliver Pelete, Soul Mwansa, Lozi Kamalonga, Esther Malisawa, Mary Ngoma and Idah Ngoma.
But Machila said in a statement yesterday that according to the party constitution, Dr Mumba has no powers to ask the Speaker to declare the seats vacant “and as such this is an empty threat”.
“In my position as MMD chairperson for legal affairs, I can confirm that according to the MMD constitution, he has no such power and as such this is an empty threat.
“As things stand, Dr Mumba does not have sufficient support of party NEC members to convene a meeting and take disciplinary action. In fact, his numbers do not even come close,” he said.
Mr Machila has since urged the MPs to continue with campaigns for their preferred presidential candidates.
“We should not be afraid of cross-party support where we agree on certain values and proposals,” he said.
The MMD has split into three. One group is supporting Dr Mumba, another is backing Mr Lungu and the third is for United Party for National Development president Hakainde Hichilema.