Veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga has described the recent developments in the opposition MMD as sad and depressing.
In a statement, Dr Mwaanga said as a founder member, it is hard for him to understand how the leadership of Dr Nevers Mumba has failed to hold the party together.
He said the party under Dr Mumba lost its way and vision and is now a shell of its old self.
“Recent developments in the MMD make very sad and depressing reading. As one of the founder members of the MMD in 1990 who was also responsible for managing and winning four MMD general election campaign, it is hard to fathom how the leadership of Dr Nevers Mumba we left in charge fails to hold the party together,” Dr Mwaanga said.
He said the MMD last held its regular convention in April 2011 to elect all members of the National Executive Committee which means that the mandate of the current NEC expires next month.
“After former President Rupiah Banda stepped down as President of MMD in 2012, it became necessary to hold an extraordinary convention to replace him and to approve some amendments to the MMD convention.
The MMD constitution allows the NEC to make all other decisions concerning the running of the party including electing members of NEC to fill casual vacancies right up to the Vice President except for the election of the President of the Party and amendments to the Party constitution, powers only reserved for the convention.”
He said it was never intended that the President of MMD elected to fill a vacancy should service for 5 years in the same way as Republican Presidents elected to fill a vacancy in that office do not serve for 5 years as happened with Rupiah Banda in 2008 and Edgar Lungu in 2015.
“Their office tenures are tied to the life of the National Assembly just like the tenure of office of the MMD President elected to fill a casual vacancy is tied to the life of the National Executive Committee. If the argument is that the MMD cannot hold a convention because there is no money, that would be something understandable,” he said.
“In the last few years, MMD has become a one man show and even the current composition of the NEC is full of personal appointees of Dr Nevers Mumba, who profess personal loyalty to him at all costs. When we formed the MMD in 1990, it was meant to be a democratic party, where decisions were to be made collectively and democratically,” he lamented.
“The same cannot be said today. The state of the MMD and internal wrangles in 2014 and 2015 led to many prominent members of the MMD including myself deciding to support presidential candidates of other parties.”
Dr Mwaanga said the result of this development was that the MMD presidential candidate came a poor 4th behind having obtained nationally, a paltry 14,609 votes to the FDD’s Edith Nawakwi’s 15,321 votes for the first time in the history of the MMD.
He added, “In 2011, MMD had 55 elected Members of Parliament and due to various reasons, the party under Dr Mumba lost its way and vision and is now a shell of its old self. The recent resignations of many of its experienced Members of Parliament is a hammer blow to the MMD and statements like “it’s not a factor,” are self-deceiving and do not reflect the true picture on the ground.”
He said internal democracy and intolerance of diverse views are being sighted as major issues in the party which has seen endless suspensions and expulsions.
Dr Mwaanga warned that until and unless these issues are seriously addressed, there will be no way back MMD will be remembered as the party of yesterday.
“This is hardly the place in history for the party which is the mother and father of democracy in Zambia.”