Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) members in Lusaka Province, drawn from all 8 districts have thrown their weight behind President Nevers Sekwila Mumba and have declared that there will be no convention to elect a new MMD President because Dr. Mumba’s term expires in 2017.
Speaking at a press briefing at the MMD Secretariat in Lusaka yesterday, Lusaka Province Chairman Steven Bwalya said that Dr. Mumba was the substantive party President who was democratically elected at the MMD Party Convention in 2012 and whose term of office expires in 2017 according to the MMD Constitution. He said that there was only one Party President and currently no vacancy in the office. He was accompanied by a quorum of 16 Provincial Executive Committee members drawn from Chongwe, Luangwa, Kafue, Sibuyunji, Chilanga, Lusaka and Rufunsa.
Mr Bwalya sounded a stern warning to Mr Watson Mtonga, an expelled party member who has been issuing statements to the media and puporting to be the Lusaka Province chairman. Mr Bwalya cautioned Mr Mtonga that he is abrogating the Supreme Court ruling of 2015 that established Dr Mumba as the legitimate president of MMD and its legal presidential candidate.
“We now wish to specifically identify one Watson Mtonga, who is an expelled party member and warn him that he is abrogating the Supreme Court ruling of December 2015 and risks being cited for contempt if he continues destabilizing the party. This is his last warning and if he persists we will set the police on him very swiftly. We reiterate that Mr. Mtonga has no position in the MMD and is an impostor. We inform everyone who is working with him in disturbing Dr. Mumba’s position as President that they risk arrest,” said Mr Bwalya.
And answering a question from a journalist as to the effect of the new ruling requiring all Ward and Parliamentary candidates to be holders of Grade 12 Certificates, Mr Bwalya said the MMD is one of the parties that will have no difficulties on this issue as it has a wide membership to select from. He reminded the reporters gathered that it s a well-known fact that without the MMD, the PF would not be in power today.
Below is the full statement by the Lusaka Province chairman at the briefing.
MMD LUSAKA PROVINCIAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (PEC) PRESS BRIEFING
ON 7TH JANUARY, 2016 AT MMD SECRETARIAT
Members of the Media Fraternity; Esteemed Members of the MMD Lusaka Provincial Executive Committee; Esteemed members and supporters of the MMD here present.
I wish to begin by thanking all of you for finding time to attend this very crucial press briefing and wish to extend special gratitude and appreciation to the media for supporting us by attending this media briefing.
As we all know, the landmark signing of the Constitution by the Republican President is now behind us. I am sure we are all aware that this entire process has been heavily driven and supported by the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy through the able leadership of our Party President Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumba who spearheaded the debate for the enactment of the Constitutional Bill through Parliament as he had articulated in the Presidential debates in December, 2014 prior to the Presidential By-election in January 2015.
As the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy, we are now geared to kick-off serious preparations for the General Elections slated for 11 August, 2016.
As the Provincial leadership of the party, we are determined to forget the unfortunate disunity and wrangles which characterized the 2015 elections where our party’s performance was dismal owing to the deep internal wrangles, causing the party to face the election split into three parts. In this press briefing, I will confine myself to three areas which are the most important as we prepare for the elections:
1. LEGITIMATE PROVINCIAL SPOKESPERSON OF THE PARTY
Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to state that the committee sitting before you today is the true and genuine MMD Provincial leadership and I, Steven Bwalya, am the legitimate Provincial Chairman and with me is the full quorum of 16 legitimate Provincial Executive Committee members, drawn from the districts in the province, Chongwe, Luangwa, Kafue, Shibuyunji, Chilanga, Lusaka and Rufunsa. These are the officials who are legitimately and legally appointed as substantive members in their offices. Anyone else claiming to be a provincial official is an impostor.
Dear members of the media, I am sure you are aware of the many noisy voices which have risen up to make all sorts of confusing statements through the media and have resulted in our structures all around the country to demand an immediate stop to this indiscipline.
It is for this reason that I, Stephen Bwalya, Chairman of the MMD Provincial Executive Committee, would like to inform the general public and all media houses particularly in the Lusaka province, that I am the only appointed and authorized spokesperson of the MMD party structures here in the Lusaka Province and no other person has authority to speak for or on behalf of the MMD unless otherwise officially authorized by myself.
In view of this position, on behalf of the MMD, I would like to make an earnest appeal to all media houses to take note of this position and call upon your cooperation and support in helping bring sanity to the MMD. My full contact details are included at the end of this statement and wish to call upon all of you to be at liberty to contact me directly should you be approached by any person or persons wishing to speak on behalf of MMD structures here in the province through your media.
2. CALLS FOR A PARTY CONVENTION
Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Media, I am sure you are all aware that in the very recent past, voices have risen up to call for the holding of an MMD Convention to choose a new Party President. As Lusaka Provincial Executive Committee, we would like to categorically state that Party President Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumba is the substantive Party President who was democratically elected into office during the MMD Party Convention in 2012 and according to our Party Constitution his current term of office, expires in 2017. There is only one Party President and there is no currently no vacancy in this office.
We warn all those saying Dr. Mumba is scared of a convention hence the supposed reluctance to hold one in 2016. Our President can never be scared of a convention, having subjected himself to a convention in 2012 and won with a 70% landslide victory through the MMD 50%+1 voting system. We wonder why the issue of the convention is coming from expelled members and those who left the party a long time ago to join other parties. We have information as to who is funding them and we send a warning that they will not succeed because Dr. Mumba’s position as MMD President is on very firm ground. We have noted that the voices of those asking for Dr. Mumba to step down are coming mostly from one province.
Our position is that we want to now go into the 2016 election as a united party and all those not willing to join us should stay away from MMD politics or leave the party to form their own parties or join some other existing parties because MMD is not for sale. We have persevered through many storms and we will not allow any more confusion to come to the party.
We now wish to specifically identify one Watson Mtonga, who is an expelled party member and warn him that he is abrogating the Supreme Court ruling of December 2015 and risks being cited for contempt if he continues destabilizing the party. This is his last warning and if he persists we will set the police on him very swiftly. We reiterate that Mr. Mtonga has no position in the MMD and is an impostor. We inform everyone who is working with him in disturbing Dr. Mumba’s position as President that they risk arrest.
We are extremely proud that the MMD is the only Democratic Party in the country, strictly governed by a Constitution and strong regulations and not by the whims of individuals. Having said this, we are also aware of the other Convention that was held in 2011. The holding of that Convention is the prerogative of the National Executive Committee who will be making their intentions known on this in due course.
3. START OF PREPARATIONS FOR THE 2016 GENERAL ELECTION
As the MMD Provincial Executive Committee, we would like to state our great disappointment with the poor performance of our party in the last election. As is widely known, this was due to the deep split in the party where one group followed Honourable Felix Mutati to support and vigorously campaign for the UPND candidate while another group followed former President Rupiah Banda to endorse and campaign for the Patriotic Front candidate.
Party president Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumba was left with a small group after the Supreme Court made a landmark ruling on 18th December 2015 to bar former President Rupiah Banda from unlawfully taking over the reins of the MMD. This left only 21 days for Dr. Mumba to reorganize himself to participate in the election, which predictably yielded very poor results.
With this unfortunate background, as Provincial Executive Committee, we are extremely grateful for the gallant efforts that our Party President has been making recently to rebuild and reorganize the party in the province. We are energized and determined to further strengthen our party to begin the preparations for the forth-coming elections without the confusion that engulfed the party in the last election.
As the entire country knows, the power of the MMD is in its structures which have been the target of cannibalization and destabilization by other parties. I wish to sound a word of encouragement to all our structures country wide that it is time to bury the past, let us all come back home to the MMD and strengthen our party and prepare for a resounding victory in August 2016.
To all our members, I say, let us make Zambia great again as we did in 1991. Let us deliver the people of Zambia from poverty, loss of jobs, a destroyed economy and agriculture.
To all MMD members, I say come back home. You have wondered off to strange lands and you have been gone for far too long. It’s time to come back.
LUSAKA PROVINCE CHAIRMAN